International Week was an every year tradition at Goode High School. The first week of October, every single teen in their sophomore year, was obligated to learning about different cultures of the world. Students loved it. For them, it meant missing class and free food. Teachers, on the other hand, absolutely loathed it. It was equivalent to falling behind on the class schedule and having to lose their own spare time researching about countries they didn’t really care about and even learn some words of whatever language was spoken of the nation they were investigating; A.K.A absolute torture. To make things even worse, there had to be two teachers per country; so besides having to waste time, they had to make sure each one found information that complemented what their partner had.
Due to a school week only having five days, five countries were chosen. Ten teachers, selected randomly, would have to present about a particular nation- its history, language, typical food, etc- in the first two classes of the day. When the week was over, there would be a quiz about what they had learned and the top five students got an A.
Paul Blofis had never been one of the unfortunate selected teachers for International Week. The other teachers resented him, saying it was totally unfair that after five years teaching at the school, he still hadn’t been sentenced to that torture. Not that Paul minded. Luck was on his side, he supposed. The responsibilities were decided with straws; the ones that took the shortest were the losers. And maybe because the universe loved him, or just because the gods liked him, he always took one of the longest ones.
That’s why the English teacher walked confidently to the meeting where the countries and the people in charge of them, were decided. After greeting his colleges and preparing himself some coffee, he sat down next to the Biology teacher and took one of the straws she had in her hand. Paul looked at the little piece of plastic in his hand with shock. Key work: Little. He had taken one of the smallest straws, and that meant he had to present on a country. The smirks the History teacher (that hated his guts, by the way) only confirmed it. Miserably, he took a sip of his coffee and waited for the principal to announce the selected nations.
“Well, now that we have the chosen professors, I’ll reveal the countries,” said Mr. West excitedly; he was probably the only one. “Chile, Zimbabwe, Greece, Cuba and Portugal. Are there any requests?”
Paul hand shot up immediately. “I’ll have Greece, please George.”
Maybe International Week wasn’t going to be so bad; he did live with a Greek demigod, after all. Besides, Paul had always thought the Greek myths were really interesting and he could ask his stepson's girlfriend about the language, history and more. Annabeth would be happy to help him.
He entered his apartment after the meeting and found Annabeth, reading a book in the living room. Over the past few months, since she started dating Percy, she had been spending a lot of time in the house. Not that Sally or Paul minded; they saw her as family.
“Hey Paul,” she greeted him. “How was the meeting?”
He thought about it for a moment; it hadn’t been bad but not good either. “Surprising,” he said at last. “Where are Sally and Percy?”
“Percy is napping in his room; you know, with the whole invincibility thing, he gets really tired and Sally is writing in her room.”
He walked to his and Sally’s room where he indeed found her sitting on the bed with her laptop on her lap, her fingers flying through the keyboard.
“Hi, honey,” he said and gave her a quick peck on the lips, before taking out his coat and hanging it on the floor. His wife barely looked up, too concentrated in her writing. He took his own computer from the desk and went back to the living room. He figured if Sally wasn’t going to pay any attention to him, he might as well start investigating for his presentation about Greece.
He found his son’s girlfriend in the exact same position he had left her a few minutes ago.
“Annabeth, could you help me with something?” he asked sitting in an armchair next to the couch where she sat and opening his laptop.”
“Of course. What do you need?” she said, closing her book.
“I don’t know if Percy has ever mentioned the International Week at Goode” she nodded. “Well, I’m in charge of one of the presentations and it’s about Greece. I was wondering if you could help me prepare it; you know a lot about this topic.”
Annabeth’s face brightened. “I would love to help you.”
For a whole hour, Paul asked the blonde questions about the Greek history, language, architecture, mythology, and everything else he could think of. She answered every single question easily; not pausing to think for even a second. The English teacher was impressed; he had heard Percy talk about daughter of Athena’s intelligence but, even though he didn’t doubt it, he had never experienced it first-hand.
Their conversation ended when Percy arrived, yawning and dressed in a Camp Half-Blood T-shirt and a pajama bottom. Paul immediately stopped talking and motioned Annabeth to do the same. She seemed to get what he was trying to say and opened her book again. Percy plopped on the couch next to his girlfriend and kissed her cheek.
“Hey, I didn’t know you were here. You could have woken me up.”
“I thought the seaweed in your head could use some rest.”
“Shut up, Wise Girl.” He glared at her for a second before setting his hand on her waist and giving her a kiss on her forehead. “I can never get mad at you for long. It’s so annoying.”
“You love me anyways.”
“Yes I do,” he leaned to kiss her when Paul coughed softly. “Oh, sorry. What are you doing, Paul?”
“Just talking to your girlfriend and grading some essays.”
As soon as he said it, Paul realized he actually did have to check some essays about Hamlet; he figured why not and started reading one of them on his computer. Percy and Annabeth turned on the TV and were watching Catching Fire. Apart for the noises of the movie and the occasional ‘I could survive those Hunger Games easily’ comments from the son of Poseidon, the living room was completely silent.
“I want food,” said Percy suddenly, half an hour after the movie had started. He stood up and went to the kitchen, leaving Paul and Annabeth free to finish their conversation.
“Why didn’t you want to tell Percy about International Week?” asked the blonde as soon as her boyfriend left the room.
“I want it to be a surprise. Besides, West- the principal- asked us not to tell anything to the students. Please don’t tell him, either.”
Annabeth opened her mouth to answer when Percy reentered the room, a piece of cold pepperoni pizza on his hand. She nodded almost imperceptibly towards Paul before resting her head in the son of Poseidon’s son and continued watching the movie.
Ten days later, Paul was ready for his presentation. With Annabeth’s help, he managed to gather lots of information and interesting fact and she even taught him how to say a few words in Greek, although he couldn't pronounce them that well. He was pretty excited about his lecture and that was something he never thought would happen. But he had gotten lucky with a country like Greece. He just hoped his students wouldn’t fall asleep while he talked.
“Hello, students. Today’s International Week country is Greece. We will be learning all about it.”
There were a couple of claps; some boos; cheers and snores. Paul immediately looked for his step-son’s reaction; he smiled at him happily but didn’t say anything. The teacher started talking, first about history and the legacy of the Greeks. He accompanied his words with a Power Point with pictures and games; as interactive as possible. The students seemed to be listening, which encouraged Paul immensely.
“You guys should know that the Greeks are responsible for a great variety of myths. They were polytheist, meaning they believed in many gods. Could someone name the three biggest gods from Greek mythology?”
Paul frankly expected Percy to raise his hand right away; even though he had never done something like that before, this was a topic that concerned him so Paul thought it would be different. Apparently, he was wrong. A few hands rose in the air, but none of them was his step-son’s. He was looking at the whole scene with an amused grin on his face.
“Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades, sir,” one of the students, Sarah, said.
“That’s correct. In Greece, they believed in twelve Olympians, the main gods and goddesses of their religion. But they also had hundreds of other minor deities, though they didn’t worship them as much. Could someone tell me three minor gods or goddesses?”
The whole class had confused looks on their faces; nobody knew. They all were evading his look; trying to avoid getting picked. Except for Percy. He looked around his classmates and after seeing no one knew and that Paul was begging him with his eyes to answer, he raised his hand.
“Hypnos, Hecate, Hebe. If you think about it, minor gods tend to start with H.” Percy said and all the other students looked at him as if he was an alien. They all started to whisper, shocked.
“Correct, Percy,” said the teacher, cutting all the murmurs in his class.
He talked some more about the mythology and then architecture. While he talked, Percy rested his head on his table. He probably knew everything Paul was talking about. However, he never raised his hand; only answering to the questions asked personally to him. And even though, that should have disappointed Paul (as a teacher and everything), it only made him want to smile. His step-son was completely humble; he wasn’t a show-off.
After he was done talking about temples and statues, it was time for the language. First, Paul said the phrases Annabeth taught him (‘hello’ and ‘how are you?’) the best he could. The wink he received from Percy indicated him that he did well enough.
“Now, I’m going to show you a recording of a family friend speaking in Greek. And afterward, I want you all to try repeating what she said.”
He turned the speakers on and played the audio he had recorded the day before. As soon as it started, Percy lifted his head off the table and looked at Paul with a confused expression on his face. The teacher just smiled at him.
The voice in the recording said one phrase (‘Do you speak Greek?’) and then Paul paused it so the students could repeat it. They result was a weird noise that didn’t sound remotely like the language Paul had tried to teach, but at least they had tried. Everyone had, except for Percy.
He, still looking confused, just asked: “Annabeth?” Paul nodded. “When did you two record that?”
“Ask her yourself later.”
Then Paul continued with his class carelessly, not minding the weird look he was receiving from his step-son. After a couple of minutes, the surprise in Percy’s face washed off and he listened happily to the audio with the rest of the class; he wasn’t actually paying attention to the words, he just listened to his girlfriend’s voice. He hadn’t seen her in four days, thanks to her job and her school, and he missed her.
“Does someone want to try saying something in Greek?” asked Paul when the recording ended. Again, all the students looked away; making themselves as invisible as they could. “Percy, would you do us the honors?”
“Is is really necessary?”
“Okay,” Percy stood up from his chair and said in Greek: “Hello, my name is Percy Jackson. Also known as Seaweed Brain. I love my girlfriend and Finding Nemo. Bye.”
It was a really dumb phrase, but his classmates looked at him with awe. The whispers started again and that time, not even Paul could stop them.
“He speaks another language; that’s so hot!”
“Is this the same Percy that falls asleep in every class?”
“How did he learn how to speak like that?”
“I can’t believe a C- student overcame me in something besides Sports!”
After some time, Paul managed to calm his students down and shut them up. He ended his presentation with a quiz about what they had learned. Percy finished it in approximately five minutes and walked to his teacher confidently.
“I can’t believe Annabeth didn’t write a special test just for me. She taught me all of this when I first arrived at Camp.”
With that, he exited the classroom.
That day, everything the whole sophomore class talked about was Percy Jackson, the hot guy with dyslexia who appeared to have some secret passion for Greece. People were making theories everywhere and exaggerating what had happened in class ridiculously. By the end of the day, there was a rumor that said that Percy had entered class in a toga and had danced to Sun god. And that one was one of the good ones.
Percy just laughed. He told his friends and the other students that had asked that his dad came from Greece and that was why he knew so much. That didn’t stop the rumors from spreading, though, but the son of Poseidon didn’t mind. He preferred people thinking he had a secret fetish on mythology rather than finding out he was a demigod.