Ch 9: Blackjack's Young Master
The Garden at Mount Olympus
"Ugh, why did you invite me for tea again?" Poseidon whined as Aphrodite dragged him to their usual meeting place. The goddess in question only gave a graceful smile.
"Hmm, I can't really say since it'll ruin the whole surprise thing, dear. Besides, I have a feeling you'll enjoy yourself later on." As they reached the kiosk surrounded by beautiful flowers, Poseidon caught a glimpse of Athena sipping tea casually and he mentally groaned. Here comes another shout-fest.
"Athena dear, we're here!" Aphrodite exclaimed rather happily. Athena glanced at their direction, smiled at Aphrodite and gave Poseidon a grudging nod which completely baffled the latter.
There was a temporary silence as the gods focused on eating the displayed snacks and sipped their tea. Aphrodite kept sneaking glances between the two while giving the wisdom goddess a knowing smile. When Poseidon couldn't take the silence, he immediately went to Athena in attack mode.
"We're here to argue again, aren't we? What is it this time?"
Athena sighed as she wiped her mouth with a napkin. "No, you stupid Fish Brain. I was going to say this after we are full but seeing as you're impatient, I'm afraid I have to press on."
"Just cut to the chase already, sheesh. And no, Sherlock, I don't mean your daughter."
"You won the bet." Athena said bluntly as she ignored the last comment he made. Beside her, Aphrodite giggled. Poseidon's mouth opened and closed like a fish that lives mostly in his domain.
Athena rolled her eyes in frustration. "I said you won the bet, you stupid Barnacle Breath. You truly are an idiot just like Perseus Jackson. Oh wait, I think he inherited your kelp of a head. My point is that you are so infuriating and so stupid!"
Poseidon ignored her insults as he started to grin triumphantly. "HA! Told you my son would do a good job! In your face, Bird Brain! You totally lost!" Then he started doing a victory dance and whistled an old jolly sailor's song.
The wisdom goddess gripped the edge of the table so hard it started denting. With barely suppressed anger, she turned to Aphrodite who squeaked in fear. "Can I smack him now? I'm very close to shoving this fork unto his throat. To Hades with civility."
"Calm down, Athena dear. Let's be logical, okay? Hitting him won't change the fact that he won your little bet. And I doubt it if Percabeth would appreciate doing the whole hating fiasco again." The goddess of love tried to reason. Thankfully, her talk worked.
"You're right, I should calm down. I'll just ignore this enmity I'm feeling right now in favor of understanding that this is the first time Poseidon won against me in terms of argument."
"That's right Athena dear. Drink this tea, it'll calm you down-"
Unfortunately, the goddess was interrupted by the one and only Lord of the Seas. "OWL BREATH! PREPARE TO TELL YOUR LOSER CHILDREN TO PASS LAWS FOR MY DOMAIN! HA! WHAT A TOTAL LOSER, JUST LIKE THEIR TOTALLY LOSER OF A MOTHER."
"Oh, that is it! POSEIDON, YOU STUPID FISH BREATH!" Athena went battle mode as she could no longer hold her anger. Aphrodite sighed in exasperation as she watched the two deities argue for the millionth time.
Athena's permission gave a huge impact on Percy's still non-existent relationship with Annabeth. He has no idea how to ask her out but he figured he must act soon as possible because holy Hera Athena's really ok with him and Annabeth and –
So yeah. No point of wasting time when his greatest worry (Dr. Chase is second in the list) suddenly gave an A-OK sign. He quickly spots Annabeth surrounded by giggling Aphrodite girls over the stables so he heads straight towards that direction.
'Congratulations on the kid, Boss'. Blackjack's voice suddenly echoed inside Percy's head. He turned at the stables and gave his winged horse a smile. 'Thanks Blackjack.'
'You should just hurry and make the pretty lady your official woman. Dang, Boss! You've got everything from the good looks to scoring an awesome kick-ass woman and to having cute kids with said woman.'
Percy turned red and glared at Blackjack as the latter gave a suggestive wiggle of his brows (if that's actually possible for horses, but oh well). 'Oh gods, just please shut up, Blackjack. No more sugar cubes if you –'
"Percy? Did your battle go well? Your face is kinda red." Annabeth suddenly appeared beside him as she titled her head in concern. Percy was a bit surprised as he didn't see her approach him but he smiled reassuringly.
"I'm fine and the battle went well, as you can see. Blackjack just made a disturbing comment awhile back. Anyways, where's Luke?"
Annabeth smirked and jerked her head towards her right. Percy laughed as he saw Luke being pinched, kissed and passed on towards different Aphrodite girls like a toy. It was a miracle that the kid hadn't started crying yet.
"He kept asking for you, you know. He was really worried about you and I think he was on the verge to tears but luckily his 'aunts' totally distracted him."
Percy chuckled at that and grinned at Annabeth. "I really love the kid. He's incredibly smart like you and gets distracted easily like me. It's a complete win-win on the genetics, don't you think?"
The blonde rolled her eyes in mock exasperation then smirked. "That's totally mushy of you, Seaweed Brain. I didn't know you had that in you."
He merely shrugged and gave a playful wink. "Oh you don't know everything about me, Wise Girl."
Annabeth smirked again and leaned. "Try me."
Percy copied her and leaned in further until their faces were only a few inches apart. He sneaks a glance at her lips and decides to officially close the distance when –
'Boss and Milady sitting on a tree, D-Y-B-W-Q-O-J-S whatever letters are supposed to be there. First comes something, then comes… wait, what comes after that? Oh, never mind. Sugar cubes! Na nananana… I don't know the rest.'
"Oh gods." Percy groaned as he regrettably stepped back. He does not risk a glance on Annabeth since he already knew she's wearing an expression of disappointment, much like that on his own. There was an awkward silence as Percy kept glancing on his feet and Annabeth remained still and quiet. Thankfully, for the Hero of Olympus' part, Katie called and ran towards them then gently grabbed Annabeth's arm.
"Annabeth, Chiron told me you're helping the Demeter Cabin with the designs for the new garden we're about to construct. Is it true? Are you really willing to help us?"
At the mention of architecture, Annabeth's face brightened and her eyes shone in excitement. "Of course I'm helping, Katie! I'll make the most beautiful design for your garden and…" Her voice gradually decreased as they started walking towards the direction of the cabins. Percy sighed and glared at Blackjack.
'Why didn't you continue, Boss?'
'Because you suddenly distracted me.'
'Oops. Sorry, Boss. Really, I am.'
The son of Poseidon sighed again. 'Nah, it's okay, Blackjack; I know you mean no harm. I'm just gonna fetch Luke now.'
Blackjack watched as his master approach an Aphrodite girl and held out his arms. The girl refused to give the child and asked if they could play with him for longer and he reluctantly nodded. After ruffling his son's hair in an affectionate manner, his Boss started making his way towards the sword-fighting arena for training.
'Why did you interrupt Daddy?' An unfamiliar voice suddenly rang inside the winged horse's mind. The voice was cute and squeaky and it totally belonged to a child. He glanced around his surroundings.
'Hello! I'm Luke.' Blackjack turned towards the kid and saw him staring with large intelligent gray-green eyes.
'Young master?' He tentatively called.
'Yes Mister Horsey?'
'Oh no, you do not call me Mr. Horsey. I'm Blackjack at your service, Young Master.'
'Blackjack?'Blackjack neighed, probably laughing at the kid's super cute voice.
'Hello, Young Master, I didn't know you can talk that well. Heck, I didn't even know you can talk to horses!'
'Please promise me that you won't tell Daddy that, Mr. Blackjack. Anyways, my Mommy's really smart and I have her smarts so I can talk and understand like a 5-year old would. But since my body's still in a year-old form, I can't say complete sentences yet. By the way, Mr. Blackjack, why are you calling me Young Master?'
'Boss is Boss, your awesome Mommy's the Lady or Milady, and since you're their son, you shall be the Young Master!' He said as if it explained everything, which is true by the way.
'Oh, okay! Mr. Blackjack, why did you interrupt Daddy when he was about to kiss Mommy?'
'The song suddenly entered my mind, kiddo. Horses and pegasi can't really spell and sing that much so I just filled in whatever words that came in mind.'
'Hmm. Okay, but please don't interrupt them next time so that they can get together and I'll disappear.'
'Why would the Young Master disappear?'
There was a short pause as Luke got 'kidnapped' by another Aphrodite child. 'Ugh, my sensitive nose really hurts from inhaling various perfumes. Actually, Mr. Blackjack, I'm not a real person. I was created by Lady Aphrodite to serve as the bridge of my parents' still non-existent relationship. I know I'll vanish as soon as the task is done.'
Blackjack sniffed. 'But Young Master! Why are you so eager to disappear? Everybody in this whole camp has grown attached to you, especially Boss and Milady.'
He saw Luke smile sadly at him, which still totally looks cute. 'I have no say about that, Mr. Blackjack. Anyways, will you promise me not to interrupt them again?'
Percy's favorite winged horse hesitated; he honestly had grown attached to his Young Master even though they'd met only a few hours ago. Luke gave him the big puppy dog eyes and Percy's signature pout and Blackjack knew he was a goner. He sighed in defeat. 'Alright, Little Boss, but don't blame me if they get interrupted by the others.'
Luke suddenly giggled in Silena's arms (it was her holding him this time) and pointed towards the stables. "Horsey! AwntieSiwena, there's horseys!" Cue Silena and her siblings' chorused 'ahhs'.
Silena cooed as she led Luke towards the stables and stopped at Blackjack. "Look, dear, it's your Daddy's personal pegasus, Blackjack! He's the one you rode unto with Mommy moments ago. Isn't he pretty? Say hi."
Luke leaned against the wooden railing and stroked Blackjack's nose. "Hello, Bwackjack!" 'Thank you.'
"Oh gods, I swear you'll be the death of me someday, Luke dear." Silena mumbled to herself as her heart rate sped again at the sheer cuteness of it all.
It was already sunset when Percy and Annabeth met near the stables. There was an awkward silence when they held each other's gaze.
"Uh, hey Annabeth." Percy stuttered. Annabeth gave a small smile. "Hey to you too. Where's Luke?"
He rubbed his neck in nervousness. "I kinda, uh, left him with the Aphrodite girls. They wanted to play more with him so I allowed them."
Another awkward silence. Percy's ADHD started acting up again so he desperately started talking.
"Listen, uh, I'm really sorry about awhile back, it's just that, err, the pegasi distracted me."
"It's okay, Katie said that the pegasi were acting weird the whole time we were there. She, um, didn't see everything though." Annabeth started toying with the hem of her black cardigan, silently praying that someone would save them now from the total awkwardness of it all.
"Annabeth." Her head snapped up at his serious tone. She looked expectant and curious at the same time; something that made Percy even more nervous than he is now. Dammit, just say it already! How hard is it to ask Annabeth out when she's practically right in front of you?!
"I…uh" He stammered.
She raised an eyebrow. "You what?"
"Will you, uh…err…" Gods save me right now!
"Will you come with me to visit Mom and Paul?" Percy blurted out and mentally face-palmed at himself.
Annabeth looked perplexed and asked: "What?"
"Mom wanted to see you. Scratch that, she wanted to see both you and Luke. She said she wanted to have a girl-time and have some small chitchat with you. She and Paul are excited to meet Luke in person after I told them via IM. I'm going to go home tomorrow so uh, will you come with me?" Percy asked sheepishly. Technically he wasn't lying since some facts were true but he still felt guilty about diverting her from his original intention.
Thankfully Annabeth seemed not to notice his slight discomfort since she smiled at him. "Of course I'll come with you! I'm happy to see them and Luke might be excited to meet his paternal grandparents as well. Thanks for inviting me, Percy, that's really nice of you."
At her words, he immediately knew that they were in good terms again. He grinned and grabbed her hand. "C'mon, let's go find Luke and start packing up. I hope you won't mind staying there for a few days."As they passed the stables while holding hands, Percy swore he saw Blackjack and the rest of the pegasi smirking at him. He could almost hear their whoops and cheers and perverted suggestions.