If I owned Percy Jackson and the Olympians, I wouldn't be here right now.

"This is stupid." Percy cringed, looking at anything but his father. His eyes darted about, from the rust colored throw pillows to the expensive vase and finally to the magnificently polished tile floor.

They were both seated in a beatifically decorated and spacious room, sitting stiffly on the leather couches and trying to pretend the other didn't exist. The flat screen was on but set to mute, and the gentle breeze that was wafting in from the open window had them shivering instead of smiling.

They'd been like this for way too long now.

Poseidon grimaced at him, eyebrows furrowing. The kid had been here for six hours and hadn't once spoken a single word to him. Not even a curse word. Perseus—Percy, he had to remind reminded himself—was stubbornly silent.

"I get that you don't like me, kid, I do. Can't say I blame you," there was a "however" in that sentence, and he was sure his son could hear it. "But if we don't work together until we can figure all this shit out, we should start plannin' our funerals."

Percy nodded slowly. Poseidon tried to smile, looking more like a shark than a goldfish.

"You know, how 'bout we start this new relationship with actually talking to each other?" Percy's eyes widened, and he slowly started to shake his head, trembling and biting his lip like Poseidon had just asked him to commit third-degree arson. Poseidon cursed and leapt up.

Against his will, the man found himself kneeling in front of the twelve-year-old and gripping him by his shoulders. The boy's breath hitched. "Look at me," he ordered. Hesitantly, the brat did as told.

Poseidon still couldn't help but be surprised.

He had always prided himself in his eyes, almost obsessed over them, but seeing them on someone else's face was oddly gratifying. They were so different from his. Freakishly open, Poseidon knew this kid would never be able to play poker if he kept the frightened deer act up.

Clearing his head with a shake, he focused his thoughts on something more important. "I don't like you," he began, and watched in slight amusement as those eyes flashed at him angrily. Right back at you, they seemed to say. He forced himself to soften his voice. "That doesn't mean I'm so awful as to forcefully super glue your pretty little lips shut. If you don't tell me stuff, I'm going to have to look through your files, and we both know that that's not going to warm me up to you." I don't read, kiddo.

Percy's expression twisted. He started to shake his head again, but his eyes didn't leave Poseidon's. His lips parted, but he didn't speak. I can't… I can't…

Poseidon blinked.

"…You don't talk at all, do you, brat?"


Well, duh. Wasn't it obvious? Percy bit back the comments that bubbled behind his lips, instead just giving his father a lazy shrug and leaning away from him in a way that could be considered casual. In reality he was just trying to escape the smell of alcohol that tainted Poseidon's breath. The man had only drunk one glass of wine, but it didn't sit well with the twelve-year-old. ALCOHOL = BAD.

The lesson was elementary.

To be honest, the man had about as much emotion as a rock, and Percy wouldn't be surprised if empathy was one of the many that weren't in Poseidon's programming. Who's to say that he wouldn't just get sick of him and decide to get rid of him the old-fashioned way when he was high-up hocked up on crazy juice? Percy knew stuff like that could happen; he'd experienced a few close calls before.

Well, more than a few. But he didn't like thinking about it.

Gabe was a nice man. Yeah. Nice. He had kept him around, even when Percy hadn't done exactly as he said—like the good boy he'd been taught to be. It didn't matter that he had a disgusting taste in friends. He'd been there, unlike someone else. Percy gritted his teeth. Poseidon Olympia had left his mom; he'd known that for seven years now. She'd been sixteen, living with her not-so-rich uncle who could've cared less, and he'd left her. Alone with a kid she would've been better off without.

Percy hated him. He was worse than any of the guys he'd dealt with. Even more hot-headed than his pre-algebra teacher, more wicked than the sickos that were interested in him a bit too much. Poseidon'd hurt his mother, and that crossed the line. No one had messed with her when Percy was around when she was alive, and that hadn't changed even after she had… After she had…

Died. It hadn't changed even after she had died. This man was just a reminder of his mom's suffering, and now Percy was stuck with him as his guardian until further notice. He'd give him hell.

No. Nonononono!

That wasn't allowed. "Promise me, Percy. Promise me you'll never talk against him. Swear."

Who had she meant? Gabe, surely. He had been a total brat to him on his best days, even when he had been dutifully obeying his step father and his friend's every beck and call. But maybe she had known, Sally Jackson was a smart woman and it wouldn't be farfetched that her maternity instincts might have told her of the chances of her old boyfriend showing up in her son's life.

She would've wanted him to be polite. He would be until Poseidon pushed him away. Giving his father an odd smile, he refused to look him in the eye.

Percy wouldn't dare speak a word. He'd promised.

Three cheers for rushed out chapters, woo!