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Percy Jackson/ Heroes of Olympus
Leyna

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Many things were said that Reyna didn't understand. Leo shot off, riding into the sunset of his own mechanical mind, waffling about all of the techno-babble he could produce. And Reyna just watched him, her dark gaze softening, her arms relaxing, only catching odd words as the boy continued. Occasionally he would stop to take a breath, and, Reyna noticed, look her in the eyes. His were a deep brown, like the colour of coffee or tree bark, burning with enthusiasm and desire to impress like she had never seen. He'd promptly turn a bubblegum pink colour before casting his fascinated scrutiny elsewhere and launching off again.

But that was alright to Reyna. It was a strange thing to admit – even stranger for someone of her calibre – but she felt an odd twinge of jealousy when someone else had the luxury of being regarded by him. She wanted to know that his expression of delight behind his glass orbs was present because of her. Maybe that was obsessive, maybe she was being cautious. The girl wasn't sure; she wasn't sure about many things regarding Leo Valdez. He clamped at her fragile heart in ways she thought it couldn't be clamped, not by him.

Leo stopped talking. Reyna tried to bring her mind back to reality – what had he just said?

"Um, sorry?"

"My joke? Did you get my joke?"

Reyna was solid, unmoving. Leo's face dampened. She tried her best to recover from being wrapped up far too much into her emotions, "Wait – no. Could you repeat it? I'm…" she hesitated, "I'm rather slow at understanding jokes."

And Leo grinned; Reyna blew an inward sigh of relief, "Sure," he inhaled, "I was having conversation with Frank earlier. What did I say when Festus broke down?"

Reyna waited, her glance frozen on him as his grin spread across his face like butter on warm toast. The restaurant atmosphere in Nolita just seemed to suck in breath in anticipation – the noises from the other diners muffled as she concentrated on what mattered.

"I said 'I bett-Argo II fix him right away!'"

Her hand flew to her mouth to suppress her giggle. By the gods, that was so awful. So bad it was good, kind of comedy. Leo just chuckled as Reyna covered up her giggle, although her pearly teeth began to flash behind her delicate hand.

"You get it!" he cheered, "You see; you're not that slow."

Reyna wanted to counter that a bridge troll could probably understand the joke. But she didn't say that out loud. He was on a roll (like a fresh piece of bread straight from the oven), and she didn't think it would be good to puncture it. Not when he was grinning so wildly from her understanding his madness it was like he'd won the lottery.

"There are some exceptions," she merely said, between a split smile, "And that was… quite unique."

He chuckled, "I know it's bad. Bad jokes are just my forté. If there was ever a statue made in my honour, it would read 'Leo Valdez –The Gag Guru of Groan-worthy Garbage. Accepted currency is facepalms and headdesks'."

She placed her hand down on the table then, flashing a smile, "And I suppose you get a lot of those?"

Leo's smile turned sheepish, "If facepalms and headdesks were denarii, I could buy this restaurant and a house on the side."

Reyna laughed then. She hated her laugh – one of the reasons why she avoided doing it so much. It was a cross between a snort and a high-pitched squeal. If you hadn't seen it being emitted from her throat, you would have thought a pig was dying somewhere. Leo laughed too – much more masculine, deep, laugh with that edge of a girlish giggle – which covered up hers enough not to be too embarrassed. She did flush a red colour though, ceasing her pig-squealing noises and suddenly finding the table cloth extremely interesting.

Leo quietened, "Your laugh-!"

"Yes, I know," Reyna cut through; a rush of embarrassment knotted her stomach, "It's horrible."

She cast her gaze upwards; Leo was grinning.

"Actually, I was going to say it's really cute," he flushed the same cranberry colour then, "If you don't mind me saying…"

=#=#=#=

The girl tilted her head upwards now, eyes wide, "You find it… cute?"

Leo's face was hot – heat hot – with embarrassment. Was calling a girl's laugh cute a cliché thing to do? Percy and Jason had said, definitely in the top ten things to do, make sure to compliment her on something: her dress, shoes, hair, make-up, general beauty, voice, food taste… whatever worked. Of all the examples they had given, a laugh was not one of them, and he was pretty sure he'd seen at least five romcoms where the guy had complimented the girl's laugh (of which, he was forced sit through… purely for educational purposes, of course).

He tried his best to quell his feelings of cheesy romance and spoke again, "Yeah. I mean… it's a lot more attractive that my laugh. My laugh sounds like a bodybuilder leprechaun lives in my throat."

Reyna snorted with amusement. It was great to see her so open with her feelings, Leo thought idly, as she struggled to keep her face straight.

"Well," she said, regarding him again with those dark-as-night eyes, "Thank you. And I can assure you, you do not sound like a bodybuilder leprechaun."

Leo practically glowed with happiness. He was pretty sure, if he became any happier, something on his person would catch fire. He was about to respond when the waiter came over. A tray of food was balanced perfectly on his hand and he placed the dishes onto the table with no trouble at all.

"Please enjoy," he said, slipping the tray underneath his arm and retracting his hand, "If there are any problems, do not hesitate to call someone over."

"Thanks dude," Leo said, and the waiter wet away on his business. The food he had left was sizzling hot – two half-chickens marinated in flavouring. The scent of lemon trees and herbal plants walloped his senses and sent his tastebuds into a frenzy, hungry to sample. Not to mention the side-dish, sweet mash potato in a little pot, looked so good he could have done with double the portions.

Reyna picked up her knife and fork. She had a delicate hand about her, the way she twirled and the cutlery like a professional ballerina twirls on their feet, which you wouldn't expect… not when she was slicing with a sword and commanding comrades to battle the other half of the time. She bit her lip, exploring the feast with her eyes.

"Does it look okay?" Leo asked.

She smiled, "It looks delicious," she said, gently forcing a fork into one half of a chicken and hauling it onto her plate, "Good choice."

"Great," Leo said, doing the same. The chicken was so hot steam was rising up. Sometimes Leo wished he was that hot naturally. He watched his date cut off a piece and pop it into her mouth, chewing laboriously.

He waited for her to swallow, "So… how does the chicken taste?"

She gave him a look he had never seen on her before – the expression of amazement. Eyes wide, smile curling on her plump lips. He must have matched her own when he watched her.

"It's absolutely delightful," she spoke, cutting another piece, "I cannot believe I haven't seen eaten here before."

Leo tried it too – she was right. It was rather good.

"Oh man, this is delightful," he said, "Now I wish I did have enough dough to buy this place out."

Reyna smiled, covering her mouth with her hand as she spoke, "So do I."

The two were mostly silent for the rest of the meal. The clanging of fork and knife against plate and occasional chomping sound, as well as the subdued chatter of the other diners and soft drumbeat music from overhead speakers, was the only thing that could be heard. That was fine with Leo – it provided him with the opportunity to relax, think of what to say, and, most importantly, enjoy his food. When Reyna reached for her drink Leo would do so too – maybe it was a psychological thing, but it was just to make sure she didn't feel out of place. They'd only speak to pass over the peri peri sauce or the salt.

With each bite, Leo felt like he was floating further and further into sweet paradise. And with Reyna opposite him, he had already been given a boost there. If he ever had the chance to come back here with her, he would.

But that was the thing. He'd already made total pants of half of the things on the date – Reyna may not have wanted a second time of utter catastrophe with this guy. The rule was if a first date goes badly, you don't get a second chance… well, you might, if you were Fortuna or maybe Venus' child. But he wasn't either, so that was out of the question.

It was times like these that he wished he had Piper's charmspeak ability. Then he could have easily recovered from his trouble with smooth pick-up lines or something.

All too soon Reyna put down her knife and fork in finished formation – Leo had been savouring the taste so much that she had cleared her plate and pot of mash, except from the bones. He felt an urgent need to hurry – he didn't want to hold her up. She took the napkin in her hands, gently dabbing her red lips before folding it up and placing it back on the table. Even when she'd just stuffed her face she still looked like a goddess herself.

Then Leo noticed something. Reyna's post-food face-wipe session had missed the hot sauce on her upper lip. It was like a giant mole – except it was red, specked with black bits and protruding from her face like a peninsula on an island.

Reyna stared idly at everything else in the room, oblivious to the hot sauce chunk getting comfy on her skin. Leo panicked inwardly – what was he supposed to do? He wracked his brain – nothing in the mental checklist could have prepared him for this. Did he tell her and embarrass her in front of him or let her walk around and embarrass herself unknowingly in front of everyone?

He decided in a split-second decision that the first one was definitely better, "Um, Reyna?"

She turned to him, "Yes?"

He used his knife to indicate her upper lip, "You have peri peri on your lip."

Without another second to spare, Reyna seized the used napkin near her plate and shrunk in her seat, "Where?" she hissed, her face burning.

"Just below your nose," he replied, using his knife again. Quickly she removed the evidence with three thorough wipes, "Is it gone?"

"Yep," Leo said, as she sighed.

"Thank you," she breathed, "That could have been very embarrassing…"

Leo smiled, hoping nothing was stuck in his teeth, "No worries. But just so you know, you didn't need it."

"… What?"

"You didn't need hot sauce on you because you're already hot."

Only after her face contorted to surprise did her realise how forward he sounded. Calling a woman 'beautiful' would have been far more acceptable than 'hot', which was usually a cheesy way to pick up chicks (great example: Coach Hedge), but then he couldn't have used it in a joke. Maybe he should have just shut up and kept eating?

But she chuckled, dipping her tone to a dangerous (yet oddly appealing) level, "Were you hoping that would happen just so you could say that?"

Leo hadn't actually planned that joke at all – it would have never run passed Annabeth and the other girls as suitable for the occasion. But Leo Valdez rolled with it, with a cheeky smirk, "Maybe."

She laughed again, which, unlike last time, she was ignorant to how it sounded to others. Leo laughed too, trying to cool his pulsing heart. It was beating so loud that he could have joined a marching band.

Reyna's laughter died much earlier than Leo anticipated, slowly dipping into nothing. Leo had to try not to make himself look awkward, quietening until he stopped completely. His date had suddenly turned sombre – like someone had switched off the happy light in her brain. She regarded Leo with a gentle yet solemn gaze, her eyes like black glass orbs reflecting the darkness.

"I'm sorry," she said – which, to be honest, was the last thing he'd expected to come out of her mouth. He thought she might have been offended by the hot joke, "I'm just… just nervous."

"Nervous?" Leo couldn't help but echo, "Why?"

Reyna looked away, "This date, Leo. I'm nervous sitting here with you," she faltered then, "Not that I'm saying you make me nervous – well, you do, but not in a bad way… I mean-…" Reyna was the praetor of the camp, the leader, the idol that inspired hard-work. She probably hauled men into battle crushed the spirits of her enemies on a daily basis; a bundle of nerves was the last thing he'd expect her to become, since she was so sure of herself and confident in her demigod comrades for the rest of the time.

Leo wasn't sure how to reply. Hades yeah, he was nervous too. He thought it'd be difficult not to be nervous on a first date, when you're exploring new things.

"It's okay," he eventually responded with a smile, "I'm… I'm nervous too. I mean, you can probably tell – I dropped a vase on you."

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"You didn't drop a vase on me," Reyna said back to him, with a weak smile, "It was an accident."

"I know," the boy said, "But I probably wouldn't have done it if I'm not as shaky as I am, hahah."

She didn't reply. Reyna felt that it was good to know that both of them were equally as nervous and that she wasn't alone – even if the majority of the date was almost over. She kind of didn't want it to be over; Leo had a strange appeal to him and his personality.

He spoke again, "I guess I'm a bit like the Titanic, trembling at the bottom of the sea."

She couldn't tell if he was being serious, comparing himself to a sunken ship. Reyna narrowed her eyes, "Pardon?"

Leo grinned, "I'm a nervous wreck."

She laughed. Leo laughed. It was as if neither had anything to hide, as if their nerves had dissolved into nothingness. It made Reyna feel relieved that it wasn't a strange thing to feel, she'd been holding up the walls for so long.

The waiter came over then. He appeared regretful for interrupting their conversation, "Are you finished?"

Reyna held up her plate as Leo did the same, "Yes, thank you. It was delicious."

The waiter took the empty plates gratefully, "Thank you. Would you like the dessert menu?"

She looked to her date for guidance, "I'm full, but you can order something if you like..?" She could see the temptation on his face – no doubt did he want ice cream or something to fill to cracks in his stomach. But he shook his head.

"Nah, I'm good. Could we get the bill, please?"

"Of course," said the waiter, whisking himself away to the counter again.

Reyna stared at him funny, "Don't you want dessert?"

He shook his head again, "Really, I'm good. Besides," he feigned sombreness, "I don't think I dessert it."

After a brief chuckle, Reyna spoke, "How long do you spend writing and memorising these jokes?"

Leo shrugged, "Ages."

The waiter came back over with a tiny, rectangular-shaped tray – a thin and crispy sheet of shiny paper with printed words and numbers, "Your bill."

Leo quickly seized it before Reyna could, she retracted her hand in surprise as he spoke, "Thanks." The waiter went off. Leo didn't look at the bill.

"We gotta' agree on how we're gonna' pay this."

Ah, payment. Reyna understood now. She bent down for her purse, in her bag on the floor, and reached it up so he could see it. Reyna knew that it was traditional on first dates to pay exactly half each, rather than one person paying for their whole share. She could understand why this worked – to be fair to your significant other – and was grateful too. The idea of letting Leo pay for the whole thing just because he was the one that asked the question seemed horrendously selfish.

She regarded him with a cool smile, "Half each?"

He smiled, "You read my mind." But she could tell from that relief in his eyes that he didn't want to pay for all of it either. She clicked her purse open – coins of bronze, silver and gold denarii were wedged into the sides, as much as she could fit in. She saw Leo browse secretively at the receipt before passing it over to her in silence, before he brought out his own wallet.

The price was reasonable. It was cheaper than she expected, and for such nice food it was in fact very good value. She selected the appropriate amount, popping the coins with a tapping noise onto the tray. Leo did the same, and the tray became a little goldmine for the restaurant.

Her date exhaled deeply, "I've put the tip in," he said, with a hint of relief, "Shall we get going?"

"Of course," Reyna went to stand up, bending down for her belongings. When she rose, the waiter was back at their table.

"Thank you very much, sir, ma'am. I hope you have a pleasant-" he froze, "Oh…"

Reyna's insides suddenly flared with nerves. He had the coins in hand but looked doubtful. She stopped, midway pushing her chair behind the table, "What's wrong?"

"There is a foreign currency in here – is that a drachma?" he held it up, a rough and shimmering grey coin with the head of Athena printed on one side and Athena's owl on the other. Leo suddenly went pale.

"Oh my gods, I'm so sorry," he took back the drachma from the waiter's hands, rummaging in his wallet again, "I must have mixed it with the denarii… denarii…" Reyna noticed that he gulped then, his face glowing with hot sweat and his eyes contracting to the size of full-stops in a sentence. He had frozen solid, with only his hands in motion. They searched, more desperately, in his wallet for the denarii that – Reyna dreaded to acknowledge – he didn't have.

Without saying a word to embarrass him, she opened up her purse again and gave the waiter a litter of denarii, "Leo, remember, you gave your extra denarii to me because your wallet was so full. Here-" the waiter accepted it gratefully, "We apologise for the trouble."

Leo just stared at her, stunned. The waiter gave a quick, curt nod, "Thank you, and not at all. I hope you have a pleasant evening." He left the couple, taking the tray of coins with him.

When he was out of earshot, Leo spoke, like a cold whisper, "Reyna-"

"Not here. Outside," she didn't mean to sound so commanding, as Leo flinched and sped outside, dodging the other tables and diners. She followed, weaving in and out of the labyrinth of the Nolita restaurant; she knew that his happy demeanour had just sunken into the lowest pits of Tartarus.

Leo held the door open for her. As she approached, a rush of cool evening air singed at her skin. She shuddered, regretting not bringing some form of warmer clothing. The sky was dark, like drapes of indigo and navy littered with tiny white holes had been sewn across the horizon, and the crescent moon provided a reflected glow over New Rome. Many shops were still open, mostly restaurants, and those that had closed for the night blending and blurring into the background like melting butter onto a pan.

Her date was frightful, she could tell. The shine of his sweat was even more noticeable outside, where the light of the moon gave him a more angelic glow, like cinnamon. His hair, one combed, was now back to its curly and loud consistency on his head – like the mane of a lion.

She smiled, hoping to quell the fear that was obvious on his face. But it didn't go away.

"Reyna," he started, "I'm so, so, so sorry-"

"It's alright, Leo," she said, but he didn't stop.

"I thought I'd converted all of my drachmas into denarii, but apparently I missed a few – oh my gods, how did I miss it? They don't look alike – they don't even weigh alike," he turned slightly more happier, "Of course I'll pay you back. You just tell me how much I owe you and I'll repay you – with interest, if you like. I feel so bad-"

She cut him off, placing a finger to his lips. It was the only approach she thought would work – and it did. He went a bright red.

"Leo," she said firmly, "It's alright."

"No, it's not," he mumbled – his breath was warm against her fingers and sent a tingle down her arm, "It's like the most awkward and un -gentlemanly thing on this planet ever to do."

She shuddered then, partly because his lips were soft against her skin, but mostly because she was cold. Her arms back at her side, she was about to launch into a speech as to why she didn't mind when he cut her off.

"You're cold," he said. She saw his breath appear in the air, like puffs of whispy cotton candy.

"Only a little bit," Reyna replied, "But, Leo-" She froze as she saw him, removing his coat. It was black, plain and simple, contrasting with the checkered shirt that he wore, but completed his outfit well. He placed it over Reyna's shoulders, and she could feel the heat rise not only in her body but also on her face.

"That should keep you warm," he said, apparently ignorant of how red she had turned, "Here, I'll walk you home so you can enjoy inside heat instead."

She had to fight to keep her voice in one piece, "What about you? Aren't you cold?" Only after she had said that did she realise how stupid she sounded. Leo chuckled.

"Nah. I'm like a living furnace. The whole 'conjure-fire-from-my-fingertips' thing keeps me warm enough," Reyna could hear the pinch of nervousness back in his tone. He didn't sound so confident in himself anymore, and she missed it.

"Thank you," she said, shivering again. His jacket even smelt of him – a sweet scent she couldn't name that reminded her of a beach, as well as an aftertaste of engine grease. Just how she liked it.

=#=#=#=

The couple walked along in silence, Reyna with her arms wrapped around herself and face hidden from his view. Not that Leo had cared, pretty sure she didn't want him to look at her – he had severed whatever connection they had when he'd been unable to pay up his share. On his mental checklist, it even said, right at the top in screaming capital letters, MAKE SURE YOU CAN PAY. It had been Percy and Jason's first piece of advice, the first thing to be absolutely sure about. And he'd gone and ruined it anyway.

He felt hollow inside, like a black hole had sucked up all his innards and left him feeling nothing. Reyna, luckily, had been sympathetic enough to save him from eternal embarrassment in Nolita and paid up for him (what other choice did she have?), but that was going to be about it. He could picture it now – she would politely decline a second date before avoiding him for weeks and weeks after, never to look at her pretty face again.

When they reached her house – an expansive Roman villa, with wooden window blinds to keep the cold out and a low-lying slanted roof – Reyna removed the coat from her shoulders and handed it back to Leo. Finally, she looked at him in the eyes, smiling.

"Thank you, again," she whispered, before turning her head away, "And thank you for the date."

He took back his coat, flinging it over his free arm, "You're welcome… and I am really, really sorry. I owe you-"

"Indeed, you do," Reyna's expression had changed of one to complete seriousness, like the very strong stone columns holding up wide arches over her front door, "But, instead of repayment in denarii form, I am expecting a time and date for our next outing."

Leo's skin turned cold, and then blisteringly hot in a moment's notice. He spluttered out a reply before he could help himself, "A-another date?"

Reyna cocked an eyebrow, her expression even, "Yes. You do 'owe me', after all. Is there a problem?" She smiled gently then, a little hope in her eyes.

Leo gulped, "No, no, of course not," he said, too overwhelmed to fully comprehend the situation. She… wanted another date? Somehow he had done it – despite the mess he'd made of himself the entire evening she had requested another date. Confusion welled up alongside his triumph.

"It's just…" he spoke again, "I'm surprised you even want to look at me because I bungled so badly – I was a disastrous date…"

But Reyna laughed, puncturing the night silence with her commanding noises. He wasn't sure whether it was good-natured or a snigger, but by the way she looked like she was enjoying herself, he guessed (and hoped) it was the former. Then, to his surprise, she took a step closer. The scent of her perfume drifted into his nose, like a field of flowers, and Leo could swear the fire was crackling underneath the skin on his cheeks.

"Yes, but you do it in a masterful way… it's sort of… appealing," she said, standing on the tips of her feet and whispered luxuriously, "Besides, mistakes often set us on the right path."

Without warning, she pressed her lips against his cheek in the form of a small kiss. They were soft and plump, like someone was massaging him with silk. Sunshine and rainbows and unicorn happiness burst inside his stomach, coursing through his entire body. For five whole seconds this sensation lasted, before she withdrew. Leo was left in a daze; his legs had turned to bags of jelly and his vision blurred.

That kiss was awesome.

But then Reyna screamed.

"Oh my gods, Leo! You're on fire!"

She was right. Leo's hair had caught fire. The feeling of overwhelming delight disappeared, Leo yelped in surprise ("Gah! My hair is on fire!"), before running around in circles and madly patting his hair with his hands. The fire died out as quickly as it came, leaving only a smoky stench in the air.

Reyna had held her breath, which she exhaled in a shaky motion. Her hands had flown to her mouth, and now she was holding Leo by the arms, "A-are you alright?"

"Oh, yeah," he said, panting hard from the shock, "I'm sorry… Some things just send me into a frenzy… Are you okay?"

"Of course I'm okay!" she protested, going red, "Honestly, my boyfriend sets himself on fire and asks if I'm okay?"

But Leo had ceased all movement, "Boyfriend?" he echoed. Reyna, still holding onto him, let go immediately. If she could go any redder, she did.

"Well, yes…" she faltered, "Why? Do you not want to be my-"

"No! I mean – yes, I do, but-" Leo shook his head to free him from his stupidity, "I mean… yes. I'd love it."

Reyna smiled, "Good. But don't you dare even think about pampering me, okay?" She shivered again, "I suppose I'd better be going now."

"Okay," Leo said, letting his disappointment show, before recovering with a smirk, "I guess I'll see you soon, girlfriend?"

Reyna smirked back, "Yes, you will be, Valdez," she said, making her way to her front door, "And I'm still expecting a time and date soon."

"Of course!" she smiled, before the front door shut behind her. The date was over, and Leo was left alone at the front of her house.

He drew in breath before exhaling deeply. Even though he had been late, never eaten there before, spilt water on her, ordered the wrong drink, failed at small talk, rambled about mechanics, embarrassed her with hot sauce and bad jokes, been a nervous wreck and unable to pay for his meal, she still wanted to go out with him again. Even better, they were now… a thing. His brain felt like someone had wrapped it up in a cashmere scarf – that fuzzy, pleased feeling that only Reyna could make him feel. His friends would be proud and his mental checklist ticked with the bets point of all – get a second date.

He turned on his heel, back to his place, and clasped his hands together.

"Thank you, Hephaestus for helping me through this. You really pulled through," he said, before dropping his head down in defeat, "And for the sake of my soul, please please please help me with the next one."

Fin.

Finished this for Leyna week on tumblr! Hope you enjoyed it and thanks for reading!

Btw, Nolita is based off of Nandos. My favourite dish from their menu is sweet potato mash =P

PJO/ HoO (C) Rick Riordan

First part: gemini-by-nature.deviantart.co…

Fanfiction link: www.fanfiction.net/s/9528320/2…
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It was 5 am, the most boring time for a night at the bar, Kai would've gone home, but his shift lasted till 7 am. It's the time when people start falling asleep on tables and couches, drunk girls start crying and whining about their stupid boyfriends and everything becomes even more depressing.
"If I buy you a beer, will stop looking so freaking depressed?" a girl sat next to Kai, who was just staring at nothing and pretty much sleeping with his eyes opened.
"Did somebody say "beer"?" he yawned, turning to look at the unknown to him girl. She had short dip dyed hair, which looked damn bad ass turning from white to black at the ends. And that's what made Kai pay some attention to her.
"And you are…?"
"I'm Alice, nice to meet you, Kai" her eyes didn't seem to be happy seeing him at all. They had this predatory gaze as if she offered Kai to buy poison instead of beer.
"How do you… uh, shit, I always forget about this stupid thing" the security guy pointed at his badge.
They took some beer, for free of course. And just sat there staring at nothing together, after 15 minutes of silence Alice finally said:
"Hey, wanna get out of here? I don't like the perspective of dying of boredom in this bar, and don't tell me you have to work".
And she was right, after 5 am it was nothing to do in the bar.

And that's how they met.

"What the…?" she stared at Kai's face in disbelief, half of it was covered with blood and lower lip didn't look good at all.
"Get used to it" he smirked, pulling her closer and kissing in the lips.
"Fffuu…Kai! Ugh, it's disgusting, go take a shower!" Alice jumped back into bed. "What the hell had happened to you, anyways?!"
Kai looked at his face after washing it a little with water, that bastard cut him right under the eye, so close. "Fuck… uh? Not much, just another jackass with a broken bottle…"
He got through this so many times, that a bag of ice in his fridge was a "has-to-be-there" thing. Kai crashed next to Alice with an ice bag on his face. It was 5 am.
"Did your mother kissed you in places, which hurt, when you were little?" asked Alice.
"What the fuck are you talking about…?" Kai couldn't keep his eyes open, it usually happened after fights, cause that's when he felt the most tired and sleepy.
"You know, when a little boy or a girl hits something, their mom kisses that part of the body so it won't hurt that bad?" Alice took Kai's hand, which still had marks of the fight.
"Weirdly enough, but no, she didn't, why?" the guy looked at her with his healthy eye.
"Why are you even asking?" she smiled, kissing his fingers.

And that's when he thought she might stand him.

Down the jaw line, marking her neck with kisses, Kai thought how different it felt. Alice pulled his face closer to hers, just to kiss him in the lips again.
She kept him sober, it wasn't necessary to get drunk just to fall asleep. It felt weird, but good. Somehow she managed to make him so exhausted, that he could sleep like a baby all night long.
He was making his way down, not missing any part of her skin. When Kai finally was about to take off her panties, front door suddenly swept open.
"Guess who's home!" Aeric's triumphal voice sounded especially loud at night. He froze with his arms in the air as if he won an award. "Damn, man! I thought you're alone tonight!" he sat next to lovers on the couch.
"WTF, Aeric?!"
"What?! It's not my fault you didn't tell me you're gonna be with a girl tonight! You could've hang a sock on your door or something, so that I'd know!"
"First of all, I don't have to inform you about every hook up I'm about to have… and second of all – it's my damn flat and I can do whatever I want here without hanging any socks on my door!"
"Yeah, yeah…Oh hey, it's that 2-weeks-girl! Hi!" Aeric waved at her, seemed like he wasn't going anywhere: "Oh it was two weeks one week ago, so it makes three weeks today! Congrats!"
Alice just laughed in reply and added: "Aeric… I don't know if you've noticed, but we were in the middle of something".
"That's called sex, for your information" Kai was pretty much mad.
"Oh come one! I am bored and have nowhere to go, and you took away my only friend with a free-from-parents flat, what do I have to do?!" yeah, this dude wasn't going anywhere.
"Jesus, Liska, just fuck off already?" Kai punched him off the couch.
"Okay, okay, but not because of you, but cause she asked me nicely!" the door shut closed.

And that's when he thought his best friend was okay with her.

"I've got something for you" Alice just came back from a party at her friend's house. Kai played his bass not really paying attention to her, until she put little plastic bag with pills in front of him. He immediately stopped playing and asked her as calmly as he could: "What is this?"
"A friend of mine gave me these. I took one last night, god, that was amazing! You definitely have to try it too!" she smiled widely. Kai couldn't believe his ears, so he just kept staring in her, trying to understand what she had just said.
"What? It's so much better than alcohol! Come on, it'll be fun!"
"I drink, because it helps me to fall asleep sometimes, and not because it's fun when everything is fucking spinning around. You won't take any of these, you hear me?" Kai took the plastic bag with strong intention to throw it away, but Alice stopped him.
"You can't tell me what to do" she simply pulled out pills out of his hand. In a second a few of them was in her mouth.
"Sure." His answer was simple.

And that's how he lost her.
soo... i thought i'd make some kind of a short summary of that month with Alice (: longest relationships Kai's ever had, WHOOO xD

Kai and Alice belongs to me
Aeric belongs to =firstfruits
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It was the vile taste of rancid leftovers that finally chased the last vestiges of unconsciousness from him mind. Thirteen year old Robin forced his eyes open and regretted it instantly when the all-too-familiar, pulsating pounding threatened to split his skull. 'Damn it, why am I the one who always ends up getting chloroformed," he complained internally, attempting to massage the headache that was centralized behind his temples. Except his hands wouldn't move; that was when he realized how he was laying.

On his side, with his hands unable to be moved from behind him.

It was always disconcerting, being kidnapped when he was Dick Grayson. If he had been Robin he could have fought back, but as the adopted son of billionaire Bruce Wayne he knows only the rudimentary basics of self defense; easily overpowered by someone determined enough. Especially if his abductor was armed with chloroform soaked rags and rendered him unconscious. Which left him helpless to whatever means of containment was employed to keep him captive.

He noted his restraints were tight around the wrists and elbows, their thickness leaving him believing them rope. He tried to shift his body to get a better look at his bindings only to discover identical bonds around his ankles and knees. He twisted his wrists to test for any give in the ropes. It only took a matter of seconds for him to discover that there was none. With his sigh of frustration he became more aware of the almost painfully tight fabric tight over his mouth.

He fought the temptation to scream his rage out against the gag and remembered his training. He tilted his head back and around, taking in every inch of the dark room he was in. It was circular, small, barely six feet in diameter with walls reaching maybe seven feet up. There was no light fixture, the white plastic – no, fiberglass – walls thin enough to let in outside light but thick enough that he couldn't see anything outside them. There was a single hatch on the roof, maybe eighteen inches wide, but no hinges on this side, nor evidence of a locking mechanism, though he didn't doubt that there was one.

In other words, even if he managed to get himself free he wouldn't get out of the room. No, he wasn't in a room. He was in some kind of tank or cistern.

Okay, that was new…

Resigned to his situation, Dick let his head drop back to the floor. 'Okay, enough time has to have passed, or a ransom demand made. Bruce and Alfred will know something's wrong.' He hoped so; it meant help wasn't too far away and Batman would be along to untie him. The sooner the better, as far as he was concerned. Nothing annoyed him more than being unable to move around as he chose.

Not to mention…

Well, he would never willingly admit it to anyone, but it wasn't just the inability to move or the indignation that came with being held captive. Being tied up just plain scared him. It left him vulnerable, unable to defend himself from whatever his captives had planned. And a lot of the time, what they had planned was something with lots of pain and/or death; heavy on the death part.

The pain he could deal with; Batman had seen to increasing his pain tolerance in the first year of his training to become Robin. The threat of death though, to know his imminent demise was being plotted with no way for him to fight or prevent it-

Yes, Dick Grayson was scared.

But he wasn't just mild-manner-junior-high-student Dick Grayson. He was also Robin, the Boy Wonder, and he had been trained how to cope with and use that fear instead of panicking the way he had the first time. He could remember it exactly, every last detail as it was something that still featured in his nightmares from time to time, and it has been terrifying…

.

.

.

.

.

It wasn't supposed to be like this.

He was supposed to spend the weekend with Bruce learning about wilderness survival. The Tillman Ravine in Stokes State Forest of Jersey was to have been the perfect place: Only sixty miles from Wayne Manor and secluded, lush, and easy to get lost in. He was supposed to spend time with his new guardian and mentor.

Dick was not supposed to be grabbed as he stepped out of the tent in the middle of the night to find a tree to relieve himself. He was not supposed to be held with a gun to his temple and a hand over his mouth as Bruce was dragged from the tent. He was not supposed to watch the civilian persona of The Batman beaten into unconsciousness and unable to help either of them.

He was not supposed to be tied up and carried away.

At nine years old, Dick was familiar with the idea of being tied up. Between Saturday morning cartoons, comics, and Thomas Solomon - the escape artist the Haley's Circus Sideshow - he knew what it meant. He did not, however, think he would ever know how it felt.

His hands wouldn't move. No matter how hard or which way he pulled against the tight layers of duct tape winding his slender wrists and ankles, he could move. He was at least grateful they had used the tape and not ropes like he has seen Thomas use. That would have rubbed his skin raw and most likely left bruises. The tape was still making his hands and feet numb from the lack of circulation.

The worst part was the gag, though. Thomas had never said anything about being gagged. The thick, metallic grey tape pulled painfully at his lips whenever he tried to open his mouth. He didn't do it very often, but he couldn't help it. Even though he could still breathe through his nose, the ability was cut in half and he felt like he was suffocating.

Now, several hours later and miles from their original campsite, Dick was fighting against his restraints again, desperate to get to his still unconscious guardian on the opposite side of the room. They had been left alone after being carried into the basement of a rundown cabin shortly after dawn and he had yet to pause in his efforts for freedom. He was panting through his nose and struggling to stay awake.

A new feeling was starting to overcome the boy, something not unlike how his father had once described what one of Haley's clowns had suffered – claustrophobia. His stomach was knotting with fear the more he fought uselessly against his bindings; a fear he had never felt before. The sensations of helplessness and hopelessness were not something he had ever felt before. They were horrid feelings and made his eyes tear up and his body tremble with fright.

He had to stop.

Dick let his struggles subside and his head drop wearily to the floor. He inhaled shakily through his nose and regarded his unmoving guardian. It was comforting, in a way, having Bruce there. The man was tied as he was, and hadn't moved once since the assault happened – that really couldn't be a good thing. Dick could only hope he wasn't hurt as badly as he seemed to be.

Voices sounded upstairs, and Dick hated how he cringed when heavy footsteps walked overhead. Their captors were only a few feet away and at any moment could decide to do something – anything! – do their captives. And there was nothing Dick could do to stop them!

The sound of talking continued and he let himself focus on the voices instead of his dark thoughts. He couldn't make out much, but enough to know that a ransom demand had been made. To whom, he couldn't be sure but he assumed Mr. Pennyworth and he didn't doubt that it would be paid.

"-dump 'em in Stoney Lake tonight?"

'No!' the boy screamed in his head, his eyes wide with terror. "No, if they throw us in tied up like this we won't be able to swim we'd-" And then he realized that was the point. The men would have their money, what did they need him and Bruce for. They were liabilities, and it didn't seem like these men were against committing murder. Dick's heart was racing, his body shaking. If he could only get free, but there was no way to get the tape off his wrists.

… But what about Bruce's wrists?

Dick looked over at his guardian again and his panicked blue eyes met now opened brown. The man was conscious and had obviously heard what the men were planning. Bruce's eyes were reassuring, but there was something else in them as well. "He's almost as scared as I am!" That was definitely not reassuring, but at least he was awake. Maybe, just maybe…

The young acrobat twisted his body into sitting position, straining a few muscles in the process, but feeling a bit better about having accomplished even that much. He felt his would-be mentor watching him carefully as he started to inch his way across the floor. He hadn't gotten far when he lost his balance and fell hard on his side. He clenched his eyes shut and groaned behind the gag, embarrassed to hear the groan nothing more than a soft, scared-sounding whimper.

Another sound caught his attention and he opened his eyes to see that Bruce had sat up and was working his way toward him. The effort was obviously tiring him; the man's dark hair was sticking to the sweat and blood on his face, but there was a determination that kept the man moving forward. Dick choked back the overpowering fear and, with his own resolve, pushed his body until he was sitting again and turned his back to Bruce. Then he started to move his way backward toward Bruce.

'I will never take moving freely for granted again!'

The sound of voices rose and made Dick wonder how long it would be before the men outside decided to come inside. Then he nearly jumped out of his skin at the touch against his back a moment before he became aware of Bruce's presence next to him.

Chilled fingers brushed against his arms, searching blindly for the edge of the bindings. Dick felt a breath of hope catch in his throat. Would this work? If Bruce's fingers were as numb as his it might not. Even if it did, it would take a while though neither knew how long they actually had.

Dick tried not to think about it. He closed his eyes, tried to calm his breathing, and hold back the tremors so as not to make it more difficult for his guardian. He couldn't feel the loosening of the bindings, not yet, but he could feel as Bruce tugged more and more of the thick tape away from him. It took all of Dick's restraint not to wrench his arms apart, particularly when the pins and needles assaulted his hands as circulation was slowly being restored.

Several times Bruce's fingers dropped away and the fear surged anew. He knew it had to be tiring and awkward, but the minutes until he felt those fingers start to work against were excruciating. What if Bruce was hurt worse than he though? What if he was unconscious again? What if they didn't get free before the men decided enough was enough? What if-

Minutes, or hours, Dick couldn't tell. But the last loop of tape suddenly pulled painfully at his skin and he was able to pull his arms apart. His shoulders screamed in protest as he was able to bring his arms in front of him and he groaned at the pain that lanced across his chest and down his back. Then he froze and feared he'd been heard. When no one burst down the stairs he carefully eased the tape off his mouth before turning and working with uncoordinated fingers on Bruce's bindings.

It only took a few seconds before Bruce was grunting his discomfort at the sudden freedom after hours of being bound, expelling a single huff of air through his nose as he ripped the tape from his face. Another minute and both were tearing the last of the tape from the ankles and trying to stand.

'Something else I never considered about this,' Dick thought disparagingly as he lost his balance and stumbled.

Bruce's arms were there to catch him and without hesitation enveloping him in a warm hug. The older man's arms were trembling and Dick eagerly returned the embrace. Dick suddenly realized that this wasn't The Batman, a man with no fear. This was Bruce Wayne, a man who had seen the boy who would be his son held at gunpoint and tied up; a man who knew fear intimately. Neither was ready to relinquish their hold, but after the shaking subsided they both knew they had to get out before their escape was discovered.

Bruce was the first to step back, and looking up into the man's face Dick saw the emergence of The Batman. Without a word he was guided to the stairs and underneath them. With a look, he was instructed to stay put and gave a curt not of compliance. Then Batman was up the stairs and into the upper floors of the cabin.

Their captors were taken out of the State park in an ambulance.

.

.

.

.

.

Dick sighed through the fabric of his gag, remembering that night with unwanted clarity. The police and park rangers' arrival had ended the ordeal, but it had been a very long time before the nightmares of being tied up stopped.

He shivered slightly and tried to think of something else. Thinking about how frightened he was every time he'd been tied was just making it worse. Closing his eyes he forced himself to think about the present situation, which wasn't much better but it was a start.

Fighting. His eyes snapped open.

Someone nearby – several someones by the sound of it – was getting their butts kicked. Seconds later, the welcomed deep voice was heard.

"Where is the boy?"

Less than a minute later a shadow was crawling up onto the top of the tank and the sealed hatch was ripped off. Dick looked up at the cowl of his savior and felt the tensions in his body fade.

"The opening is too small, I won't fit through," Batman told him quietly, his voice the comforting baritone of Bruce, and Dick nodded his understanding. "If I drop you a knife could you cut yourself free? Climb out?"

Robin tested the ropes binding him and winced. He couldn't feel his fingers and they were barely responding to him. He shook his head.

"Hang on."

Batman disappeared from the hatch but the shadow of his form remained. A moment later the smell of burning plastic filled the tank and he choked on the smell as Batman cut through the fiberglass with a laser cutting tool. It took a few minutes, and the approaching sirens of the police were getting louder, but then the side of the tank was falling away.

"Are you hurt?" His mentor was next to him in an instant, pulling the gag off and easing Dick into sitting up. It was always the first question.

Dick shook his head as his arms were cut free with the edge of a batarang. "Nauseous from the chloroform and my pride's stinging, but otherwise I'm fine." Glad as he was for the rescue, it was still a blow to the ego.

Seconds later he was free and the police were finally showing up. He rubbed at his wrists and winced at the pain in his fingers as the circulation was returned to them. A strong hand fell to his shoulder and he looked past the cowl and into the eyes of his mentor – no, his father. Bruce squeezed gently before helping the boy to his feet and out of the tank.

Bruce knew. He didn't say anything but the concern was there and the reassurance from just a gently touch conveyed just how well he understood Dick's fear. It was unnerving to be so helpless, even if it was nowhere as terrifying as the first time.

I know, I know. This should be a Linchpin update, but once again I had this bunny that had to be purged. Do I like it? No, not really. It's not 100% mine and I'll be the first to admit I don't like writing stuff that's not at least originally my idea. It was inspired by another fic to another fandom that I read ages ago and for some reason it stuck with me this past week or so. It was just begging to be twisted around for some good ol' fashion Robin/Dick peril. So yeah...
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Annabeth usually found herself slightly mesmorized by him when he was fighting. Particularly when he was fighting shirtless.

  Percy stood barefoot in the middle of the arena, because he said it was easier to fight without shoes. Wider range of motion, or something like that. He kicked and flipped and punched the straw dummies set up around him, moving “the way some people play chess: like he was putting all the moves together and you couldn’t see the pattern until he made the last move and won.” At least, that’s how Percy had said it. He’d learned it from studying Quitus years ago.

  Within seconds, three of the dummies were lying on the red dirt floor of the arena, straw strewn everywhere. Percy backflipped effortlessly—round, taut muscle rolling under tan skin. He ducked to avoid an imaginary blow, and knocked out two more dummies with a sweep of his leg. Several punches, fast as lightning, left the last two dismembered, and Percy stood alone in the arena, sweat glinting on his skin.

  “Not bad, Jackson.” Annabeth walked down the stone steps toward him, smiling to herself at what she had in mind.

  He glanced up at her and grinned like he’d known she was there. He probably hadn’t, but sometimes Annabeth couldn’t be sure. His green eyes glimmered through his mess of black hair. “I’ve done better.”

  Annabeth rolled her eyes as she came to the edge of the arena. The air smelled musty, damp, and earthy from the dry floor and cold stone walls. She shuddered briefly at the sent, remembering last summer when they had only narrowly defeated Gaea; she quickly pushed the memory away and turned up the arrogance. “Please. Modesty has never come naturally to you, so don’t even try.”

  Percy smirked and closed the distance between them, running a towel across the back of his neck. He took in her appearance with a  quick and quite noticeably hungry glance: sports bra, sneakers, and tight, very short shorts. “Looks like you came dressed for a workout.”

  “I most certainly did.” She stretched her back leisurely. “How ‘bout a little one-on-one? We don’t get nearly enough alone time.”

  “And sparring is such a romantic way to spend our time alone.”

  Annabeth laughed easily. “You game or not, Jackson?”

  He threw his towel to the bench and returned to the center of the arena. “Of course I’m game. But are you sure you wanna do this? I’m on a roll today.”

  Annabeth flipped flawlessly three times until she stood directly in front of him. “Oh, I’m sure.”

  With a laugh, he kicked out at her with his foot and they settled into a rhythm. Annabeth knew most people watching wouldn’t have been able to keep up with each move, but she was able to separate every one in her mind: what was coming next according to what muscles of Percy’s were tensing and which moved he used last, all of this being assessed by her mind in a millisecond. They fought at an exhilarating, lightning-quick pace, skin connecting in a fast rush of heat and bruising force. They danced around one another, flipping, spinning, kicking, jabbing, laughing, each trying to get in a lucky shot.

  As per the norm, Annabeth got him down first. A kick to his chest—not hard enough that she’d crack a rib, but hard enough to take him down—sent him sprawling on the dirt floor. He quickly turned it into a backward roll and came up on his knees, but Annabeth was already flying at him in a tackle, catching him by the shoulders and ending up on top of him, one arm across his neck, legs straddling his waist.

  Percy’s chest heaved as he tried to catch his breath, but he was grinning. “Can I just say that you’re never hotter than when you’ve beaten me in a fight?”

  She flipped blond curls off of her sweaty face with a flick of her head. “Flattery isn’t going to get you anywhere, but I appreciate the compliment.” She smirked.

  “Good to know, but—“ in a flash, he’d rolled over, using all of his strength and weight against her until he was on top of her, “the fight isn’t quite over, Wise Girl. I win.”

  She sighed and narrowed her eyes, not quite given up. “Fine. I concede.” She may or may not have arched her chest toward him seductively… but it served her purpose. He was distracted enough that she managed to throw him off of her. She twisted around and locked her legs around him from behind, securing his arms behind his back and out of his use.

  He grunted in defeat, his exhalation causing a tiny cloud of red dirt to skitter across the floor in front of his face. “Ow,” he muttered.

  Annabeth leaned forward toward his ear, close enough that her loose hair dripped over her shoulder and landed on his bare back. “I win again, Seaweed Brain.” She vaulted off of him with a triumphant backflip.

  He stood, grimacing—in shame, she imagined—and rotated his shoulder. “I think you pulled something wrong when you had my arms behind my back.”

  “Oh, stop being such a baby.”

  But of course, as soon as she said that, he ran with it. “Oh!” he cried, falling to his knees. “Oh, it hurts! Oh, man, I’ll never be able to use this arm again. Oh… oh, the pain!”

  Annabeth collapsed into laughter. “All right, Percy, all right! I’ll fix it, okay? A nice shoulder massage after a long workout. How does that sound?”

  He grinned. “Sounds great.”

  “But take a shower first.” She kissed him. “You smell sweaty.”

*

  After they’d both showered, they ended up in Cabin 3 in a position they’d been in back in the arena: Percy flat on his stomach, Annabeth sitting comfortably on his back. The only difference this time was that they were on his bed rather than a dirty floor. A vast improvement.

  Annabeth dug her thumbs into the thick muscles of his shoulders, looking for knots.

  Percy groaned in complaint. “Owwwwwww. That hurts.”

  “Has to get worse before it gets better.” She had to admit, she was enjoying his discomfort just a little. After all, he had thrown her pretty hard when he tackled her back in the ring.

  “Owwwwwwwww,” he cried again, his voice somewhat muffled by the pillow.

  She laughed as she dug her fingers in a bit harder, having finally located the source of the problem. With several shouted complaints on Percy’s part, she managed to rub out the knot and he sighed with relief.

  “So much better,” he muttered, talking more to the pillow than Annabeth. “You’re really good with those hands.”

  She continued rubbing his back, more for her benefit than his. She enjoyed feeling every ridge, every ripple of muscle under his skin. But he rolled over so he could see her better, and she had to sit up a bit. Her heart beat a bit faster as she watched his sculpted chest rise and fall with each relaxed breath.

  He ran his rough hands up and down her arms, studying her with his intense green eyes. “You’re pretty incredible, Annabeth.”

  She blushed in spite of herself.

  He laughed suddenly. “It’s almost too good to be true.”

  “What is?”

  “We have the rest of our lives together. No more wars—hopefully. No major attacks. Just you and me.”

  Annabeth raised an eyebrow. “The rest of our lives? That sounds pretty serious.”

  Percy swallowed hard, suddenly looking nervous. “Well… we have been together a while. And I… I’m so sure that there’s no one else I’d rather be with.”

  Her heart was officially racing out of control now. “W-what are you saying?”

  Percy reached over to the drawer of his nightstand and pulled a shining… ring.

  Oh, gods. Annabeth wasn’t sure she was ready for this, but he was holding it up in front of her…

  “I’m sure,” he stated, more calm and confident than she’d ever heard him before. “Are you?”

  All she could do was nod. She was shaking like a leaf. He slipped the ring on her finger and she felt the press of cool metal sliding on her skin. It fit perfectly, and was made of thin bands of platinum, woven into a sort of loose braid. A round diamond sat on the top, glimmering with its own light, encircled by the tiniest, most perfect pearls Annabeth had ever seen.

  “Leo helped me make it.” He’d sat up so Annabeth was straddling his lap instead of his waist. He was grinning like an idiot. “Hazel found the gems.”

  “It’s… beautiful.” She could barely hear her own voice.

  “You’re beautiful.”

  With a gleeful laugh that made her sound like a five-year-old, she threw her arms around her stupid, perfect, sappy boyfriend—fiancé, now—and they collapsed back on the bed. She kissed every inch of his face to the music of his laughter. “I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you!”

  The rolled over on the bed, kissing and laughing and admiring the ring. They had perfect liberty to do things like, oh, spend the night in the same cabin. Since Tartarus and the war with Gaea, no one able to console either of them after a nightmare, they’d taken to sleeping in the same bed. And besides… Chiron had… fulfilled his purpose as a trainer of heroes. He’d faded and left the camp to Percy and Annabeth, and as much as it broke her heart and she wanted nothing more than to honor his memory, she just couldn’t think of Chiron’s death right now.

  Sometime after two in the morning, they relaxed under the covers and held each other. Suddenly, Percy became serious. He held up Annabeth’s hand, now adorned with a silver ring.

  “This is my promise that I’ll never leave you. I’ll always be here when you wake up screaming or can’t get through the day, or get sick or hurt or so mad at me that you can’t even breathe.” He laughed nervously, his old self returning. “I will never leave you. My—“

  Annabeth furrowed her eyebrows. “My what?”

  Even in the darkness she could tell that Percy was blushing to the roots of his hair. “Nothing.”

  “My what?” she teased, poking his chest. Then realization dawned on her. Her jaw dropped in surprise and amusement. “You were going to say ‘my love’!”

  “What? No, I uh…”

  “You Romeo, you! My love. You’re a sappy romantic!”

  “I most certainly am not.” He noticeably deepened his voice. “I’m a real man,” he said sarcastically.

  “Uh-huh. Anything you say, real man.

  She buried her head in his chest, every positive emotion within her bubbling up in the form of laughter. She’d never been so happy in all her life.

  As she drifted off to sleep, safe in his arms, one thought—though she wasn’t sure why it was that thought—drifted through her mind. I’ll always be here when you wake up screaming….

  And that’s exactly what happened. Thin, hopeful rays of sunlight reached through the cabin windows and pulled Annabeth from an awful dream. She dreamt she’d lost Percy, that he’d fallen to Tartarus alone. Together, they had barely been able to survive, but… she couldn’t bare the thought of him down there alone.

  The first thing she noticed was how her screams died down into a thick silence. He wasn’t there. The cabin was perfectly still. The bed was warm next to her, so Percy had been there, at least. For a terrifying moment, she’d thought her dream was real, or she’d been plunged back into one of the darkest times of her life: when Percy was missing.

  So she checked the bathroom. Dark and empty. No problem. Don’t panic. He often went for morning walks when he couldn’t sleep. She dressed and started wandering the camp just as everyone was beginning to wake up.

  But she checked everywhere. He hadn’t even left a note. He’d simply… vanished.

  And broken his promise in the process.
I feel like the pacing isn't up to my usual standard... Thoughts?

Again, still loosely based on a drawing by :iconviria13: Characters are not mine. 
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Since I was incredibly pissed off about the recent incredibly stupid things said by Mark Millar and Todd McFarland ( dkalban.deviantart.com/journal… ); I decided to write a story written as a counterpoint to their words. It is also against, in a way, one of the worst aspects of comic nerd culture: the sexism. Most of all, it's against the victim blaming done against rape victims in so many rape cases lately, for example the case in Steubenville, Ohio (which in part inspired the events of this story).

When a girl is raped by four football players and is the one blamed for it, Superboy steps up to defend her as the real victim even as their fellow students and even the principal is willing to give her rapists a pass. In the end, it's up to the Boy of Steel to make things right.

As Connor is presently attending McDuffie High in the New 52 (see recent Superboy issues), I decided to set the bulk of the action there. Mr. Levine is the guidance counselor there so he was brought in as well.

I say stop blaming the victims of rape for the crimes against them, stop abuse period, and stand against the rampant sexism going around.

Story by me

Superboy and related characters belong to DC Comics

Cover art taken from Adventure Comics, art by Francis Manapul

Edit 8/12/13: OVER 100 FAVES IN UNDER 8 HOURS! Thank you all! I don't know if you're faving for the story or the art I chose for the preview image (seriously, DA, you can't preview a PDF?); but either way I thank you all from the bottom of my heart!

Edit 8/13/13: ALMOST 1000 FAVES A BIT OVER 24 HOURS LATER Thank you all! I wish I could thank you on your pages; but DA will prevent me from doing so (since the site will think I'm spamming). And I can't keep up anyways! Plus it's on the front page of the site! Once again, thank you all!

Edit 8/14/13: Names and grammar fixed
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Disclaimer: I don't own PJatO or HoO




I'm coming back for you, Calypso," he said to the night wind. "I swear it on the River Styx."

-o-

Leo Valdez tied a rope to the moor, securing the makeshift raft as it gently bobbed up and down to the ocean waves. He lingered just a while longer on the raft. To the canvas sail and the Celestial bronze console. To Calypso, the beautiful, tempered and not-so-sweet-anymore immortal Leo had shared his first kiss with. Leo wasn't fidgeting with his belt or his hands as he would normally, what with having an uncanny amount of nervous energy. Instead he was still, unmoving, silent in mourning. His throat and chest tightened like it always did when ever he was upset or angry.

Regaining some of the movement in his limbs, Leo grunted as he pushed himself up to the docks. He stubbornly walked through the streets of the city, making his way to the fortifications that separated the city from the sea, pushing it back as if it was forbidden from both the wonders and dangers in the waters. Leo reached his destination and spotted an open cafe that let the sea breeze in. He glanced at an empty spot near the edge of the border, daring someone to fall off the railing and into the water below. Fingering the pockets of his jeans, he wondered if... He pulled out a heavy pouch full of different currencies of mortal cash and smiled sadly.

Calypso really did provide me everything I needed on that island - whatsis' name - Oh-gee-gee-ah?

He counted out four Euros and approached the counter, hoping the person taking orders knew English or Spanish. Leo desperately needed a drink. Any drink. As long as it had lot's and lot's of caffeine. He needed to get his usual hyped self back up and running, instead of being drained and empty of life like...like a broken person. He realised with a grimace that that was exactly what he was: broken - into pieces. And when something is scattered in pieces, it takes a while to put it back together.

Walking up, Leo seriously hoped the dark-haired man at the counter knew English as he began to order. "I'd like a, ahhh..." At that point, Leo realised he had no idea what he wanted. To cover his mistake, he quickly sputtered out the first drink he knew had a substantial amount of caffeine that came to his mind. "Coffee!" He winced afterwards. Why did he say that? He didn't even like coffee.

Oh well, too late for me to NOT look like an idiot tourist.

The man at the counter regarded him, raising an eyebrow. "What kind," he said, relieving Leo with the fact he spoke English, but at the same time making the former feel stupid at the question.

"A, uh, regular Cappuccino, thanks."

Minutes later Leo received his Cappuccino and walked rather glumly to the spot he saw earlier, near the edge of the borders. He took a seat and a sip of his coffee, making a face at the bitter taste, but resigning to the fact that it would give him back his hyperactive self.




Leo stayed there for another half hour or so, during which he saw the Argo II fly by and land on the shore of a nearby bay below. He hardly acknowledge the ship, too wistful to run down and greet his friends. He was in no rush, and needed alone time to accept what had happened.

He couldn't stop thinking of her, of Calypso. He stared at the cappuccino, the froth separating and revealing a rich gold-brown colour. The same colour as her braided hair. Leo couldn't erase her angry, but sad almond eyes. He remembered all their deadly fights and friendly conversations. The way she was ill-tempered at him and the gods, but at times revealing her sweet, caring side. Her melodic voice, entrapping him every time he heard her speak and sing. Her soft lips smashing onto his own, chapped ones, eyes closed and letting him breathe in her sweet cinnamon scent...

Calypso had avoided him, at first, raging that he had ruined her tranquility and peace by demolishing her dining table, cursing at the possibility that she was stuck with him forever. In response, Leo waved her off as an annoying prissy girl, determined to find a way off the uncharted island without her help. But then she told him of her curse and her pain, and Leo felt his heart grow sore and sympathetic. Over the next week, she surprisingly began to warm up to and care for him, and he, in turn, grew attached to her and welcomed her company. By the end of the week he crushed on the immortal, maybe even loved her. Only, he didn't realise it until it was too late.

His coffee still lay unfinished, still having a little left of the milky liquid. The caffeine didn't seem to be taking effect, yet; Leo was still as glum and drained as he was on the trip to Malta hours earlier. It was unfair, he thought, that Calypso had to endure her curse, still. The gods had promised Percy to offer amnesty to their prisoners. Calypso had hoped, but to no avail. She was forgotten, and so left to continue her life living a dreaded curse. Feeling the rage and hate boiling inside him at the unfairness of it all, Leo clenched his fists and glared at his coffee, as if it were to blame for all of this...this cruelty. He was angry at the Olympians, even his dad, Hephaestus, for withdrawing from Calypso and breaking their oath of forgiveness and pardon. He was angry at all the heroes who had encountered Calypso and made her fall under their spell, only to abandon her every time. Most of all, he was angry at himself, for leaving with her love and joining in the long line of pigs who had broken her heart.

Leo dug his nails into his palm and averted his eyes away from the coffee, instead focusing on the speckled floor.

I have to stop thinking of her and her curse like this. It won't make me feel any better.

Leo glanced at the clock face opposite him in the cafe. Nearly twenty three minutes had passed since he saw the Argo II land. He figured that it was only a matter of time now before Jason and the others discovered their lost crew member.

As he waited for his friends, Leo subconsciously tugged on his white shirt and scuffed his hair, making it seem even more messy and untended. He lay a hand on the cafe table, the other resting on the white handle of his cup of coffee. With deep brown eyes and a hard, sad expression, he stared out to the sea and watched the setting sun, which coloured the sky with an array of warm yellows and pinks. Leo recalled those last words he had spoken as he drifted further from Calypso's home and prison, on the magic raft. He recalled the dangerous, most binding oath he made to Calypso: to one day come back to the island; to her.

Leo thought again of the third line of the New Great Prophecy: An oath to keep with a final breath. He had taken a leap of faith, binding his life and maybe even more to the oath he made to Calypso.

Never in his life had he been more sure of a decision he'd made.




you guys know the drill-

type in the comments box. type in it! type!!!!!
WARNING: HOH SPOILERS! READ THIS FANFIC AT UR OWN RISK!
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okay, with that warning out of the way, i shall now explain how i came to write this.
to the people who HAVE read house of hades, this fanfic takes place after chapter 52, Leo centred. after finishing the book, i was inspired and NEEDED TO write some depressed Leo - I banged my fist on the cover, "No," I yelled. "Not now. Show me what happens! I need to see more!" (seem familiar?)

i needed something to fill that empty space that rick riordan frustratingly left on leo's emotions, so i wrote this to satisfy myself and others.
dang you, rick. dang you...

so, without further ado, read and comment what you think! or if you have already read it...er, yeah, just leave a comment, thanks

read and review this fanfic here XD: www.fanfiction.net/s/9766753/1…
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"Why are you so stupid, KF? The whole mission failed because of your mistake!"

"Why are you so obnoxious? Do you really think I don't know that already? I don't need you telling it to me again!"

"Why do you always make it sound like I'm the bad guy here?"

"Why do you always have to take everything the wrong way?"

"Why can you never be serious for once in your life!"

"Why do you not get that I just saved your ass?"

"Why do you not get it that my ass didn't need saving!"

"Why don't you just suck it up and shut up!"

"Why don't you get that you're not helping anything by—"

"Why is it so hard for you to comprehend—"

"Why do you have to be so—"

"WHY DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND THAT I REALLY REALLY CARE FOR YOU AND THAT THE ONLY REASON THAT I DIDN'T FOLLOW THE ORDERS WAS BECAUSE I WAS TRYING TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU WERE OKAY!?"

"…"

"Rob? Dick?"

"Why the hell did you not just say that in the first place…"
Edit: All Young Justice fanart/fanfics will be uploaded to this account: ~Robin-Red-R Thank you!

Short little fanfic of Robin (Dick Grayson) and Kid Flash (Wally West) from Young Justice...

My FF account has more like this, as well as chapter stories (all about Young Justice of course XD) Username is Robin Red R

(c) Me
Young Justice (c) DC
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The Graveyard Gift Shop

A pair of eyes peered out from underneath a mess of black hair and Martha had to repeat herself.

"You can't buy tarot cards," she said again. "Not unless you have a parent or guardian with you." The boy's obsidian eyes flickered and Martha wondered how old he was. Fourteen? Fifteen? Not stupid enough to try something untoward with a pack of cards, but, "it's company policy, I'm afraid."

"Okay," he said, and turned to look at the rest of the shop. It was more of a kiosk really, and Martha only worked there three days a week while her youngest daughter was in school and she finished her degree, but Martha was sure that this boy was the most 'graveyard' of all the teens who came to hang around Edinburgh's infamous actual graveyards. The kirkyard was another tourist attraction, hence the kiosk - a few famous Scots had been buried there, and of course there was the Greyfriars Bobby story for the kiddies - but mostly it attracted weirdoes who were into the occult.

This one felt different though. He seemed to blend into the shelves' shadows more than most visitors, and she'd hardly heard him come in. His hair didn't look Goth-black dyed either.

"Are you here on holiday?" she asked kindly, tucking a strand of red hair back into her bun. His accent wasn't local – but then where were his parents?

"Sort of," he replied, picking up a life-size silver skull and weighing it in his hand. "Needed a break." He smiled slightly, like he had an inside joke with himself.

"Well, would you like to take something back with you? Maybe for a girlfriend?"

"No, thank you." He secret-smiled again, putting the skull back on the shelf.

"A boyfriend?" He was quite young, but Martha had known about her Jamie since he borrowed her lipstick when he was two. Stereotypical, looking back, and her ex-husband hadn't liked it – but then that was one of the reasons why he was her ex-husband.

"No."

His voice seemed sadder this time.

"Ah," Martha said, "that young man got himself a girlfriend?" It had happened to Jamie loads of times. Those eyes blinked and Martha suspected she was right. "In that case, can I recommend this excellent notebook?"

"What?"

He met her gaze like he wasn't sure he'd heard her right. She leaned over a counter and dusted off a small black notebook. The shop had bought the product because of its colour – but it would fit in the pocket of the boy's aviator jacket and the kiosk even sold little pens.

"For your thoughts," she explained. "My Jamie used to say that he felt much better after writing everything down, because then the thoughts weren't crammed in his head but weren't out in public either. We have a discount at the moment."

It was only later that Martha realised that the cash the boy had given her wasn't exactly pounds sterling. She was almost sure the coins were pure gold, but the boss hadn't been convinced when she'd shown him.

As she walked home through the kirkyard that afternoon, the air seemed… clearer. The chill she sometimes thought she felt when she passed certain tombstones was gone. Taking the path for the main road, Martha noticed the boy, a good three hours after he'd been in the shop, huddled on a bench next to the church. He was writing furiously in his notebook but she thought she saw him look up a couple of times, mutter something and wave his hand – almost as if he were talking to the spirits the occult kids tried to invoke every visit. A McDonald's Happy Meal sat on the bench next to him and Martha could have sworn she saw a screech owl looking down from the church roof.

Screech owls were representative of the Underworld, weren't they? She must remember to ask her professor before she handed in her essay on mythological symbolism.

Author's note as published on FanFiction.net:

I haven't visited Edinburgh for a few years but when I was writing this I was sure that there was a little gift shop in the middle of either Greyfriars Kirkyard or Old Calton Cemetery. I have no idea why you'd stick a gift shop in the middle of consecrated ground, so this is an open apology to Scotland in defence of my memory.

The whole 'writing about Nico being sad' thing was inspired by the beautiful artwork of Viria and I think it's set maybe after Jason and Nico talk/argue in Africa. Or maybe Nico needs a break from Reyna after she's delivered the Athena Parthanos. I actually haven't a clue...

I also like this less and less the more I read it back, especially the end, so please let me know what you think!

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Released in 2013 under the direction of Zach Snyder ("300," "Watchmen," "Sucker Punch") on a budget of $225 million with distribution through Warner Bros.; "Man of Steel" is the 6th theatrical film adaptation (I'm not counting "Supergirl") based off of the 1938 release of Action Comics #1, Superman has since his first publication become a cultural American icon for his tagline of "fighting for truth, justice and the American Way." The first feature film to star this comic book hero was the 1978 Richard Donner film, "Superman: The Movie." By today, it's considerably dated, but it still remains a ground-breaking spark in cinema for these of special effects to create the illusion of Superman flying and grabbing things with his strength as well as kick-starting interest of the Superhero film genre. But the 80's wasn't very kind to Superman, giving forth to some rather lousy movies and only continuing on from then, giving some embarrassingly bad Superman video games. Eventually, Zach Snyder announced he was going to reboot Superman along with "Dark Knight" trilogy director Christopher Nolan. I…did not see it when it came out, but perhaps that was the best thing to have done as there was no safe place from this movie as a war seemed to break out from people who either loved the movie and called it a masterpiece or from people who hated the movie and called it "a betrayal of the Superman name." So I waited until it was available for OnDemand, so what did I think then?
Um….I've used 'disappointed' too much in the past, so the only other term that comes to mind is "underwhelmed."

Plot: In a far off galaxy, the planet Krypton, which looks more like a dustier version of Vulcan from J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek," Scientist Jor-El (Russell Crowe) tries to warn the council that the planet is doomed to explode due to the depletion of their natural resources. Yet this doesn't seem to stop General Zod (Michael Shannon) from staging a coup d'état against the council. Despite this, Jor-El manages to steal a Kryptonian Codex that contains the genetic code of artificial children, graft the code to the cells of his newborn son, Kal-El, and send him off before the planet explodes, though not before Zod and his flunkies are banished to the Phantom Zone.
Then, in a series of flashbacks interwoven throughout the movie, we see Kal-El try to control his powers as he attempts to find his place in the world while keeping his powers a secret as Clark Kent (Henry Cavill), only to occasionally reveal them to people when he comes to save them. Eventually he finds his way to the Arctic where he locates a spaceship that contains a hologram consciousness of his father explain his origins. Now wearing a blue costume with a red cape, Clark runs into Daily Planet Journalist Lois Lane (Amy Adams) who figures out he has superpowers cause, well, he's really lousy at covering his tracks apparently. But things take turn for the worse when General Zod finds his way to Earth and wants to terraform the planet so they can have a new Krypton. Deciding he's the only one who can save the planet, he suits up and goes on a colossal fight that causes immense collateral damage.
Storywise, the movie has no surprises. It's the traditional Superman origin lifted straight from the Richard Donner movies; but the major problem with the movie is that is doesn't really say anything new about Superman himself. It just plays up the paranoia of people not trusting him because, ooh, he has super powers! Really, it's nothing new that we haven't seen in that other movie Christopher Nolan did, I forget the name, but it had a guy in a suit in it and nobody fully trusted him then. Honestly, the movie just feels like another summer blockbuster and all the visuals are the only thing that keeps it from falling into the same issues I had with "Elyisum" and "Pacific Rim."

But I know what you're all thinking, what do I think about the whole Superman killing Zod thing? Yeah, sorry for the spoiler alert, but I had to tolerate this annoying internet war that started because of this one moment where Superman is forced to kill General Zod while he fires lasers at innocent people. While I could be that "one guy" and say this contradicts Superman's ideology of not killing this foes, honestly, there are many other things Superman could have done to avoid that and make him, you know, not look stupid:
-Superman could have poked Zod's eyes out while holding him in a headlock
-Subsequently, Superman could have tilted Zod's eyes upward to keep them from moving to the side.
-Superman could have just just flown Zod away from the city and from civilians.
-Subsequently, Superman could have punched Zod's head in the ground, zoomed in and got all the innocents away and then come back to Zod who is still pulling his head out of the ground.
-Superman could have kept fighting Zod in outer space.
-Superman could have just lobotomized Zod, sure he'd be a vegetable, but he'd still be alive.
-Superman could have used a Kryptonite bullet (oh, I'm sorry, Kryptonite was lame? Well I'm sorry you fail to comprehend the concept of weakness for this god-like being that could stop a supervillain)
-Superman could have flung Zod onto the other side of the planet, where there is no sunlight, and keeping fighting Zod until he runs out of juice from the sun's yellow rays and Superman could beat him into submission.
-Subsequently, Superman could have tunneled Zod to the center of the Earth, away from the Sun's yellow rays and let him burn up.
-Superman could have used his freeze breath to freeze Zod in place and then fly him to the Arctic and leave him to be frozen until Global Warming frees him.
-Or, instead of fighting General Zod, do what HowItShouldHaveEnded.com suggested: Instead of talking to a priest for advice, talk to the hologram consciousness of your father for advice then take the ship you came to earth on, set it do that dimensional thingy and throw it at Zod's space ship and force him and his cronies to avoid this huge battle that cost billions of dollars in collateral and untold lives to be lost in the fighting.
All these options and more, Superman could have done to have prevented killing him, but do I call this moment offensive? Oh no, that's not the most offensive moment.

It's the moment where Superman let's his adoptive father, Jonathan Kent, die.
In one of Superman's flashbacks, Clark is having an argument with his adoptive father, Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner) when they suddenly get out of the car and witness a tornado approaching all these other cars. Clark and his adoptive mother run away to shelter when Jonathan runs back to save a dog, yes a dog, left int he car, at the cost of spraining his ankle, Clark wants to run out and go save him, but Mr. Kent just holds up his hand and Superman lets his father get sucked up into a tornado.
Now you might say that he didn't save him was because his dad didn't want him to reveal himself in front of all these people, but this is offensive to Superman. How is it he decides not to save his adoptive father JUST BECAUSE his dad didn't want him to do so? How many times has Superman flown up to people attempting to jump off of rooftops and talked them down from killing themselves? How many times has Superman ever let anyone kill themselves just because they told him not to save them? When has Superman ever stood around and let someone die when he had it in his power to stop them?
This is why I love Glenn Ford's Pa Kent in the original Superman movie, right after Clark has shown off to his jerk classmates, he has a very touching conversation with Clark about being on this planet. Clark playfully races with Pa Kent to the barn as Pa slows down, breathing heavily. He checks his pulse and then collapses on the ground, Clark runs up to check on Pa, but the next scene shows that Pa has died. This is brilliant because it shows that even with all the powers Superman has, he is powerless to stop his adoptive father from dying from a heart attack.
But here? Clark had the power to save him father. He could have used his super breath to blow the tornado away. He could have used his super speed to zoom in and save his father while the tornado sucked him in and fly away while everyone didn't notice. He could have just taken his father's place to save the dog, since he is younger and he could have been smarter to get the lousy dog out.

What is frustrating is how this movie seems to take from other movies:
-The Matrix: Artificial babies in orbs that are collected? Can they be used to power the machines of Krypton as well?
-The Matrix Revolutions: A huge fight of two super powered being flying around causing destruction to a city while being knocked back and forth? I'm convinced the reason Zach Snyder didn't use his slow-motion technique he's known for this movie was because people would then figure out he was stealing from the Wachowski Siblings.
-Avatar: Jor-El flies around on a winged creature, how could Avatar not come to mind?
-The Tree of Life: the editing focuses on an wheelbarrow turned on it's side and a bucket filled with water with clothespins left inside. You're not Terrance Malick, Snyder, stop pretending you're deep by using these images when they have no poetry to them.
-J.J. Abrams Star Trek: this, more than any of my previous comparisons, it seems that Zach Snyder not only rips off this movie's visual look, but also the lens flare and the computer technique Abrams does where the camera zooms in on a particular action during a fight.
But thinking back to all of Zach Snyder's other movies and how many of them have scenes that directly rip off other movies (ex. "Apocalypse Now," "Spartacus," "Enter the Dragon") it really should come as no surprise to me the lack of originality Snyder has that he is willing to rip off of better movies to make his movies. Now you might call me out on this and say Nolan did the same thing with "Inception," but there's a major difference between directly stealing scenes and ideas from better movies and paying homage to these movies and using them for inspiration to create a movie that feels fresh.

Characters:
Henry Cavill: Well, I'll give him this, he really looks like Superman, look at that jaw of his! It looks like he personally chiseled his jaw but as Clark Kent, I'm sorry, but he looks like the cover of a GQ magazine model. Take anther look at Christopher Reeve, the guy did a great job balancing both the stoic and humble Superman with the nervous and stuttering honesty of Clark Kent, if you looked at Reeve's Clark Kent, you'd never even make the connection that he'd be Superman. But just like Christian Bale, you can't really buy that this guy can have an alter ego, he just looks like he's hiding something. But I admit, the parts of the movie that show a young Clark Kent trying to control his powers, are really the more fascinating elements that the movie covers to show how scary it is for the young Clark Kent to discover all these powers and not understand what is going on.
Amy Adams: She's…just there. I'm sorry, but she ultimately leave no impact to me as Lois Lane. Amy Adams just feels like she's playing the same kind of character Maggie Gyllenhaal and Gwyneth Paltrow have played in superhero movies. Amy Adams is a fine actress, don't get me wrong, but she lacks character development as a romantic interest, hell, when she and Superman kiss, it's one of the most out of place moments I've ever seen a kiss to happen since they never even spent pivotal time to develop the tools necessary to develop characters, especially romantic interests.
Michael Shannon: Hey, surprise, surprise, I prefer Terrence Stamp's General Zod than Michael Shannon's General Zod. Terrence Stamp was a guy who had regality to him, he was boisterous and full of pride, he had a charm to him that couldn't be matched. Michael Shannon was just a guy who shouted a lot and a beard. The movie tries to make him looks sympathetic with trying to bring back the Kryptonian race, but he never seems to explain this plan and just seems to yell a lot.
Laurence Fishburne: He's………..there………..he doesn't make his infamous "Great Caesar's Ghost" but he does threaten to fire Lois Lane…honestly, this role could have been played by anyone, he was picked so his name could put more butts in the seat.
Kevin Costner: I already went on a tangent about how offensive it was that Superman doesn't save him, Costner is just doing his same shtick he's done for years. Monotone and uninterested. Now that I think about it, maybe Superman did us a favor in letting the tornado suck him up, no more box office bombs from you.
Diane Lane: The only memorable moment she has is a moment where she an intimate moment with Clark about holding him close to her when he was but a baby years ago, she would listen to him breathe. It shows the intimacy of Clark and his adoptive mother.
Russell Crowe: Word of the wise General Zod, don't pick a fight with the Gladiator himself. He's okay, he's no Marlon Brando, but then again, who is? Brando was an actor nobody will ever match and I highly doubt anyone of Brando's caliber will ever come again in this lifetime. Russell's main job is to dump exposition about Krypton.
Christopher Meloni: Word of the wise to future screenwriters, if you make a character who is so forgettable and is only memorable because of the actor who plays them, you know you could do better. All through this movie, I kept calling this character Elliot Stabler cause I recognize him the best from Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. He has no actual character though and he could have been played by anyone and it wouldn't have made a difference.
This entire movie does have a long line of all-star actors, but barely any of them get any proper character development to make these characters that interesting.

Production:
Maybe this is coming from a sense of burnout from seeing all these summer blockbusters, but I am starting to get a little tired of Green screen. Even though green screen really opens up the possibilities or visual effects, they just don't impress me all that much. The visual landscapes on Krypton look unimpressive, in fact, it just makes it look like the Kryptonians just landed there in these ships and they haven't colonized the planet yet. While I admit, the visuals work in effect to show the destruction of Superman fighting with other Kryptonians, the fights go on for far too long and eventually, wear thin on my patience. Even the final fight with Superman and Zod, while, I admit, visually impressive, just left me cold and tired. In fact, I'm getting tired of seeing big budget mano-a-mano fight scenes in movies nowadays. "Pacific Rim," "Elysium," "Transformers," it's like the entire movie builds up to the protagonist and the antagonist engaging in a fist fight that runs on for 10 minutes. While I may not agree with RedLetterMedia about everything they say, I will agree with their statement that "stretching a fight scene out for so long in an over-the-top and show-off way is the equivalent of a middle-aged business man whose short, balding and has a tiny penis so he buys a red Lamborgini to compensate."
This ending fight with Superman and Zod is the film's version of compensating for the lack of character development and ability to connect to the audience on an emotional level by using overblown visual effects.
Costuming is…not as bad as I thought of it before. The spandex looks a little silly on Russell Crowe and General Zod, but I admit, I'm not so much bothered by the Superman costume anymore. It is a little jarring to see Superman without his iconic red tidy-whities, to have that weird padding thing on this sides, it made it less awkward to me.
Music is…really forgettable, which is a shame cause Hans Zimmer can make memorable music when he's allowed to experiment: "The Lion King," "The Thin Red Line," "The Pirates of the Caribbean" and "The Dark Knight" if you need examples. Frankly, I didn't find anything that memorable. The official theme does have a dramatic sense of building bravados, but it doesn't lift a torch to John Williams' 1978 theme. Yeah, it seems unfair to compare, but if I ask you to look at the Superman logo, are you going to think of Hans Zimmer's theme from 2013 or John Williams' theme from 1978 that has become the staplemark of a Superman theme (kinda like how the 1960's Batman theme is iconic and remembered even after all these years).

Bottom Line:
There are a lot of people who are calling this movie a masterpiece and a brilliant reboot.
I say, it's a bloated run-by-the-numbers summer movie that has to take ideas from the original Superman movies and insert over-the-top anime style fighting because it cannot come up with anything new. While the visual effects of all the destruction looks nifty, the lack of character development makes the movie seem pretentious in the parts with Clark Kent trying to adapt the the real world while the parts with Superman lack the suspension of disbelief or majesty. This movie constantly hammers in the issue that if people saw Clark Kent with superpowers, what the consequences would be, but we never see those consequences outside of fear from a Kansas mother and some concerned soldiers. If they really wanted to show consequences of Clark's actions, they could have shown on the news cults be formed proclaiming Superman as "the Messiah's return" and the arrival of Zod as "Judgement day." Missed opportunities to explore these themes are lost to showing off special effects. The parts with Clark as a kid honing his powers are neat, but we don't get a genuine sense of his abilities outside of just a vague idea of it that you have to be a Superman fan to already understand or know. The movie looks impressive visually, but, just like the Star Wars prequels and "Transformers" it favors special effects over story and character development.
Say what you will about the costumes or special effects for the 1978 Superman movie, the original had one thing this movie lacks: interesting people and the human factor. We see Clark land on Earth and we see him arrive in metropolis under his mild-mannered identity. "Man of Steel" focuses on Superman, the Kryptonian instead of Superman, the Hero of Earth.

A lot of people love this movie, I won't be one of them. I'll stick to that "old and lame" Superman movie that had interesting characters and a likable Superman that I would feel comfortable to save me from a falling helicopter, I'd probably suffer whiplash from this Man of Steel if he grabbed me from mid-air.

Final Rating: 2/5

As for the upcoming "Superman Vs. Batman" movie, how will that pan out? Well, Ben Affleck is playing Batman, a nice choice actually, considering the last three movies Affleck has directed and the fact he played Daredevil once, I think he could pull it off. But frankly, leave David S. Goyer out of the screenwriting process and get a more mature screenwriter, or in the case of the original, four seasoned screenwriters (said four are Mario Puzo of "The Godfather," David Newman and wife Leslie Newman of "Bonnie and Clyde," and Robert Benton of "Kramer Vs. Kramer.") I'll see it, sure, but after seeing this movie, my expectations are pretty low.
Yep, finally got to see this movie and I had to write a review to explain my thoughts.

I did want to like this movie, but seeing it twice, it didn't really improve anything, but it made me find more issues or problems. I blame Zach Snyder for his lack of original vision.

no doubt a lot of you will get up on me about the whole "Superman shouldn't kill" thing, but I'm more pissed off about Superman letting Jonathan Kent die than Zod getting his neck snapped when Superman could have just used his heat vision to fry Zod's eyes out.

Also "KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!"
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Kat:

It was near the end of my freshman year at Goode High School when I first met him. I guess you could say it was an ordinary day, the fire department had just finished putting out the fire in the gym and this trouble maker named Percy Jackson was on the run again. This was the third time this year the gym had gone up in flames thanks to Percy Jackson, and when he was caught and questioned he would somehow convince everyone that he was innocent. I have no idea how he does it.
Anyway, I should probably introduce myself. Obviously my name is Kat. You could call me Goth, punk, crazy, emo, it doesn't matter I've heard it all before. I like to dress in black, big black, long sleeve shirts in the middle of summer, blue jeans, and normally my red combat boots or black high-tops. Today was combat boots and a black sweater. My hair is a totally different story, so I'll give you the short version. I got it cut really short in the back and longer in the front, I like to curl the long strands for effect. My bangs have grown out since summer and the cut doesn't look as clean anymore. My natural hair color is black but I dyed it white over Christmas vacation. Like all good things in this world, my white hair was coming to an end, the color was fading and black was starting to come back. I like to wear my make-up on the heavy side and my ear piercings probably helped with the Goth/punk look. Whatever, I don't care what people call me, I can do whatever I want to, deal with it.  
So, enough about my personal fashion dilemma. I was on my way to class when I spotted this guy dodging people in the halls, I didn't recognize him so I figured he was new. This kid was average height, really pale, and really cute. It looked like he had been living in the streets from the way he was dressed, he was wearing beat up old pants and shoes, a dusty black shirt, and some sort of aviator jacket. He looked confused, he was trying to ask people something but they ignored them. So I decided to be helpful for once.
"Hey!" I yelled to get his attention, he looked up and I caught his blue-grey eyes. He had silky black hair that curled around the edges giving him sort of an Italian look. "I'm Kathryn Morner. But you can call me Kat."
I guess I only got his attention for a second, he might not have even heard me because he just looked around me and tried to shoo me away saying, "Yeah, yeah that's nice."
So I did the obvious thing, I mimicked his movements so where ever he looked I was there. "Are you looking for someone?" I finally asked.
He stopped dodging me like he had just realized I was standing there. He looked serious, "Do you by any chance know Paul Bolfis?"
"Of course I do! Here, I'll take you up there." I grabbed his hand and led him up the stairs to room 203. I felt something on his finger, maybe a ring? I looked back and saw that it really was a ring in the shape of a skull. He must have seen me looking at it and pulled away, he might have been embarrassed so I started talking. You could say I'm a rambler but I think of myself as more of a voice… that never stops talking.
"You're lucky you know. Mr. Bolfis usually eats his lunch in his room and I'm his favorite student. So this will be a piece of cake!" And I just went on like that until we got there. One question had escaped me though, and I needed to ask it. "So, you never told me your name."
The guy seemed caught completely off guard by the question, like he actually expected me to not ask for his name. When he finally remembered his name he spit it out like a script that had been played over and over again. "Nico Di Angelo, son of-." He stopped mid-sentence, was there something he was holding back? He seemed uncomfortable so I smiled. Nico Di Angelo, I was not going to let this fish swim away.
I opened the door to room 203 and found Mr. Bolfis eating his lunch while trying to calm down his wife over the telephone. I don't know why she worries so much; the school is set on fire just about every month.
"Sa- Sally, I know. He'll be fine, these things happen. No. No, I can assure you, no one got hurt." Mr. Bolfis just continued talking on the phone not noticing when we came in.
"Mr. Bolfis?" I interrupted. I had heard him talk to his wife, they never stopped. He turned and started to tell me to go away but apparently Nico was enough to end his conversation.
"Sally." He waited for her to stop screaming. "Nico's here, I gotta go. Bye." He hung up the phone without waiting for a response and turned to Nico and me.
    "It's about time!" His comment was directed to Nico, not me. Nico talked like he was a professional, not a fifteen year old. At least I assumed he was fifteen, he didn't look that much older than me, and I was fourteen.
"It took me a while to find you, but don't you think we should talk in private." He motioned to me and once again I was no longer needed. I didn't want to leave; I mean what could they possibly be talking about that had to be private?
"Kat," Mr. Bolfis turned and motioned for me to leave. "Do you mind?"  
"But." I protested.
"Please."
I realized I was out numbered and they really wouldn't talk if I was still around. So I put on my pouty face and stormed out of the room. Nico looked satisfied that I lost but I wasn't planning on going down that easy. I closed the door behind me and walked around the corner, and then I doubled back and crawled along the wall until I got back to room 203.  The only window on the wooden door was about face height so, still crouched on the floor, I pressed my ear on the door and tried to pick up the conversation between Nico Di Angelo and Mr. Bolfis.
"-worried out of her mind." Mr. Bolfis told Nico, "She can't handle it when Percy gets into trouble like this."
"Yeah, I know. When Jackson gets into trouble everyone else has to reap the penalty." I got the feeling that Nico didn't like Percy that much. I still wondered why Mr. Bolfis and his wife worried so much about this kid, it's not like they had any sort of relation to him. I kept listening.
"It's not his fault. I just hope he can convince the principle he's innocent again, last time she didn't seem too convinced." Mr. Bolfis was really worried about Percy Jackson, if it was up to me I would have the kid behind bars. He is no use to anyone but the police department.
"I'm going to have to find him and once I do I'll take him to camp. He'll want to lay low for a while before he comes back so…"
"I'll take care of the cover up. Thanks Nico."
I heard Nico walking towards the door and scrambled back. He almost hit me with the door when he left, but thankfully he didn't. Nico looked around, lost again. I got to my feet, dusting off all the grime from the school floor. Janitors, if they only did their job. Nico, not really interested in asking for directions, spat out one word to me, "Gym?"
  I pointed down the hall, "That way. Take a left down the stairs and you should be right there." The school was pretty easy to navigate. Nico nodded and started to run away, I could not let that happen… not yet. I found a piece of paper on the ground and scribbled my number on it.
"Nico!" I yelled and caught his hand. He spun around seriously annoyed with me.
"What?"
"Call me some time." I smiled and slipped the piece of paper into his hand and let go. He gave me a confused, annoyed expression, and ran down the hall to the gym. I watched until he was completely gone, I had no idea if he would even call me but at least I knew he could if he wanted to.
I walked back down the hall to Mr. Bolfis' room; the door was still open so I walked in. He was finishing his lunch, getting ready for 5th hour. He picked his head up and welcomed me in.
"Kat!" He said with food in his mouth. He swallowed and continued, obviously embarrassed. "What do ya need?"
"Um, could you tell me what all that was about? I mean with Nico." I didn't want to sound too interested but I was.
"Oh, you know," He searched the room for words. "Nico and my step-son are very close friends and, well… he wanted to know if he was ok or not." Mr. Bolfis was not a very good liar. I could tell Nico didn't like Percy Jackson, so why was he lying to me?
"Mr. Bolfis, you don't have to lie to me. I get it, you don't want to talk. But, Percy Jackson, is he really your step-son?"
"Yes, and I am very proud of him." Of course right then and there the bell had to ring for 5th period. "Get to class, Kat. And I think it's best if you just forget all this ever happened." His tone was fatherly, a tone I hadn't heard in a long time. He really didn't want me to know; I smiled and left the room.
The rest of the day was a blur; I couldn't stop thinking about Nico, or Percy, or the conversation I heard between Nico and Mr. Bolfis, but especially Nico. Even when I got home (or prison, it's like the same thing) I couldn't stop thinking about Nico Di Angelo. My annoying foster family couldn't put me in a bad mood either, it was strange all I wanted was for Nico to call. But he never did.
I waited every day for him to call me, but it was never him. Eventually I figured he had forgotten about me, and after that I forgot about him. Years went by and I had my share of boyfriends, each relationship just as miserable as the last. I ran away from my foster family countless times but for some reason the police kept finding me, maybe I was losing my edge. Time after time those creeps that had custody of me bailed me out of jail and I just wanted to live my own life. By the time I made it to senior year, I was practically living on my own, I was paying rent to be locked up in my room, and food was as scarce as a word of praise. My job sucked as well, it was a dead-end job serving greasy burgers to anyone who would stop by. Working with the most annoying humans on earth was not what I had signed up for, but it was all I could do to make money. My life was a train wreck.

                                                                
                         

I ignored the phone like I always did, it was never for me. I was sitting on my bed in the attic that somehow doubled as my room, half doing my homework and half doodling.
"I'll finish it later." I mumbled to myself, though I knew I wouldn't. I shoved the books in my backpack and picked up my guitar. The one thing I was good at was playing the guitar. I strummed a few chords and got lost in the moment, I almost didn't hear the banging on my door. I scrambled to the knob before Carl broke down the door again. The last time I failed to answer, my "foster father" took out a hammer and pounded on the door in until it broke in two. It took me weeks to buy and install a new one. When I opened it I was surprised to see Todd standing there with the phone. Todd was only ten years old but he was the biggest brat on the planet, he was scrawny like a mouse in every way, from his stupid smirk that never seemed to go away to way he snuck around all the time stealing stuff from his parents and blaming me.
"It's your boyfriend." He sneered, he knew I didn't have a boyfriend so what game was he playing at? I glared at him and snatched the phone from his slippery little fingers. I pressed the phone to my ear and shooed Todd away. Once he was gone I closed my door and spoke to the person on the other end.
"Hello?" I said.
"Hi… um Kat, is that you?" His voice was unmistakable. I remembered it all the way from freshman year; Nico Di Angelo actually called me! I bit my tongue to keep myself from squealing with delight. I took a deep breath, calming myself and said,
"Yeah, this is Kat. Um… Nico, right? I see you finally decided to call me. "
"Um." The phone went silent as he paused searching for the right words. "I've been busy."
"For three and a half years?" I teased.
"Right so, if you're free tonight, I thought… that maybe I could make it up to you? If you wanted, I mean you don't have to if you don't want to. But…" His voice quavered as he trailed off, I could tell he was nervous.
"Yes." I almost didn't give him time to finish.
"Oh. Great, so I'll meet you in front of the Empire State building at eight?"
"I'll see you then!" And with that he hung up and so did I. I was so excited I could hardly contain myself. Nico Di Angelo was the one person I had ever looked forward to going on a date with, even my ex-boyfriends were just regular guys that played me like an electric guitar and eventually dumped me like the garbage I was, but this was different.
I slipped down the stairs to the living room, trying not to be noticed. I placed the phone back on the charger and headed back upstairs.
"Kat!?" I cringed as Carl called my name from the kitchen. Slowly I sauntered towards my certain doom. "Who was on the phone?" He questioned me like it was his business to know everything that goes on in my life. Carl was probably the ugliest human on earth. He was short, fat, and bald. He literally had no hair on his head, it all grew on his chest and legs and back, (I've even seen some on his toes.) He had some sort of double chin and he never seemed to shave, but again he doesn't have any hair on his head so it was permanent stubble. Carl was a big sweaty oaf, I had no idea how he ever found someone who would tolerate his disgustingness. But his wife, Ellen, was just as gross.
"Just a friend from school…" I had to conjure up a lie, and quick. It had to be believable and not overused. "He had a question about homework, it was nothing."
"Do you even do homework?" He accused me of being a slacker, ok maybe I was, but he didn't need to point it out.
I shrugged and walked away from the dangerous conversation. "I'm going to bed." I shouldn't have said that, it was only 7:45; he would never believe I was going to bed this early. Lucky for me he didn't say anything, he must have forgotten all about me. I stayed as quiet as I could, shutting my door without making a sound. I shuffled through my closet and slipped my high-tops on, and grabbed my purse off my desk. Because I was in the attic, there was only one window in my room, but that window opened right over the roof. I had used this method of escape thousands of times, so with ease I slid through the opening and climbed down the roof of the two-story house. I avoided all the windows and made my way to my car. Once I was in, it was a one way ticket to the best date of my life.
This is my little love story for Nico Di Angelo son of Hades. If you have read Percy Jackson: The Saga Contiunes that I wrote -> ([link]) than you probably recognize Kat from the few parts she was in. This story jumps from Kat's pov to Nico's pretty regularly.
Percy on the other hand bearly ever comes up. Strangely enough, this story kinda goes back in time from The Saga Continues. Right now Percy is in his senior year at Goode (like it says at the beginning.) I think he only comes up in this chapter and the end so if you want Percy you gotta read through the end.

Chapter 2 -> [link]



Disclaimer-
Right like I said PJO characters belong to Rick Riordan and characters you don't recognize belong to me.
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