Wherever Heath was it was someplace warm, the sun must have been beating down on his closed eyelids. The smell of freshly mowed grass and newly ripened strawberries wafted through the air. The smell took him back to his childhood. His grandfather’s garden in the backyard, in late spring and early summer when the strawberries would be ready to pick, and to eat.
The Smell of Strawberries
The thick, heavy summer air of Southern California felt nice to the four year old Heath as he ran around the backyard, chasing the large German Shephard until both were too exhausted to move. Heath was still tiny, so small especially in comparison to his grandfather who was leaning over the garden tending to the plants. The strawberries were finally ripe, occasionally Heath would run by and sneak a strawberry (after it was washed off in the milk), and his little fingers were stained red from that act. His hair was soft and a dark brown, most people knew that it would get even darker when he was older, a family trait apparently. He was dressed for the heat, in baggy shorts and color tank top. He loved the heat of summer, and all the opportunities he got to play with the other kids or even by himself.
His grandfather was a stock man, not exactly fat but a little on the plump side. It was clear that in his youth he’d been quite the soldier, from his numerous scars and the rivaling amount of war stories that he told. Heath thought he had a rather funny look to him, his hair had turned t white and he took to growing a beard and a big fluffy mustache that covered his mouth completely. When he spoke the mustache did a funny little wiggly dance that made Heath smile and giggle when he was speaking for long periods of times. The old man’s voice was deep and scratchy, like an old record, but he was also very soft like a teddy bear. Big, soft, and full of squishy fluff. Heath had lived with him for as long as he could remember, in actuality Heath wasn’t related to the man but he had looked after Heath’s mother. Both his grandfather and Heath’s biological family had immigrated from Scotland to America together, just before the WWII and after the Great Depression. That was why the man had a strong accent that made some of his words hard to understand, or even why he spoke some words that Heath didn’t even know.
Despite not being related to the man by blood he’d always think of the old man as being his grandfather. Heath’s mother had been very young when he was born; she’d been what his grandfather called a free spirit, a regular spitfire for her cause. A modern hippie; opposed wars, violence, and just about anything that could hurt people or the environment or rather just about anything that was considered living. Although, his grandfather described his father as a make-and-model soldier, big, strong, formal, but still young and rebellious. His grandfather had liked him a lot apparently, thought he would be able to tame Heath’s mother but it didn’t quite work out like that. How the two had ended up together, let alone reproducing. She’d been fresh out of high school when Heath was born, and she and his father had broken up before she even knew she was pregnant. After the first couple of months after Heath had been born she realized how completely unfit and unprepared to raise a child. She had planned to give him up for adoption but his grandfather intervened saying that he could raise Heath, he’d had plenty of his own kids and he was under the notion that if a kid ended up in the foster system he’d turn out a bad seed.
Most of his grandfather’s children were grown and had families of their own, they didn’t keep too much in touch but Heath had met some of them and they treated him like another one of their siblings. The youngest child. But a few of the children had passed on from various causes. The two of them lived a happy, peaceful existence primarily just the two of them. But eventually that would all end.
The following year his grandfather passed away, he was eighty seven years old. Since no one had a way of contacting Heath’s mother and a few people didn’t even know who she was he was put into the custody of the state. For the next four years he’d bounce around from foster home to foster home.
Sir, General Dad, Sir
Perhaps his grandfather was right, after spending four years in the foster system he’d changed. At the age of nine he already had a reputation and rep sheet that was extensively filled with physical assault. His short attention span was only rivaled by his short temper. He didn’t go around looking for a fight or anything but whenever he was challenged he just couldn’t bring himself to back down. It wasn’t like he was angry or anything, more than anything he just missed his grandfather. Heath just seemed to attract fights. If one was going to happen it was probably going to involve him.
That trait was probably the only thing that kept Heath from getting adopted, after all he was what people called a “father’s son”. The kind of son that the father’s usually wanted; the athletic sport star. It also helped that his two favorite sports were the American past times; baseball and football. But once the mother’s reviewed his record they almost always suggested to their husbands that they should get a little girl. Needless to say Heath didn’t think that he would be adopted soon. But that wasn’t important to him, he knew that no one could ever take the place of his grandfather and he most definitely didn’t want anyone to try. So, he decided to make the other foster kids his family until they were adopted, he protected them, helped them whenever he could, and would do just about anything he could for them. People just knew not to mess with Heath’s family. Even if they hadn’t seen him fight they’d heard the rumors and as utterly frightening and ridiculous they sounded all of them were pretty much true.
But soon his life would take a drastic turn. Like turning off the road down a cliff kind of drastic. The day it happened started off like many of the other days in Heath’s life. Although he was only in fourth grade he had already developed the habit of skipping school in favor of more athletically inclined activities. After all they only had PE once a week. Plus whenever Heath was in school they treated him like he was mentally retarded because he had dyslexia which was coupled with his ADHD, so not only could he not see the words he couldn’t focus on them either. Most of the time when he skipped he’d head out to the edge of town to this old, rundown batting range and hit some balls until it was late and he had to go home. The guy who owned it was older and thought Heath was a decent enough kid and maybe even pitied him a little ‘cause of his circumstances but either way the guy let him come any time even when the cages weren’t actually open. Nobody really came out there, especially on a weekday when school was in so Heath had the place all to himself.
Well, almost all to himself. There was this other guy that came by every month or so, he was old and young at the same time. Really big, strong, and sort of mean looking. Like a permanent scowl was on his face and yet whenever he hit those really good homerun kind of hits a smile would mingle with that scowl and it was just plain weird. The guy hardly ever noticed Heath, but Heath always noticed that guy, then again it was hard to miss a guy that no matter the temperature was wearing black jeans, and a leather jacket. Plus there was a deafening sound whenever the ball hit the bat, it almost sounded like lightening. It just so happened that the man was there that day too, but for some strange reason he actually looked over a Heath, there was something utterly infuriating and terrifying about the man’s gaze though the sunglasses did obstruct the view.
Heath quickly looked away, no longer wanting the man to take notice of him or to notice the man in turn. He could have sworn there was a chuckle but he dared not look to see if it came from the other man. To keep himself distracted he chose one of the cages farther from the man and began to load the machine with baseballs. He set his stuff down and closed the door picking up the aluminum bat and feeling the weight in his hands. After setting the delay he took a stance and soon the balls were flying. Swing after swing, his body twisting to move with the follow-through, the contacts sound ringing through his ears, and those satisfying vibrations of success flowing from the bat to his hands. There was nothing better than this. And he most definitely didn’t regret not going to school that day, or at least he didn’t regret it yet. All too soon the machine was out of ammo and Heath began to go around collecting the baseballs.
As he was reloading the machine he noticed something kind of strange. A big, roundish, fluffy cotton ball like creature was slowly waddling around the grounds in the range. Slowly Heath moved towards the door of his cage, drawing his eyebrows together, “Is that a... Sheep?” If it was it was bigger than any sheep he had ever seen before. It was just about the size of a baby hippo. He wasn’t sure if this thing would act like a normal sheep and run off if he got to close so he was cautious as he moved forward to get a better look. “Hey there, not-so-little guy. How’d you get in here?”
The sheep made a noise that sounded something like a bleat and a laugh. Like, “Ba-aaa-ba-aa-aa-ba-ba” it was enough to make even leather dude want to laugh. Heath smiled, yet the closer he got to the sheep the tighter his muscles became and the more urgently he wanted to return to the cage. “You better run boy.” The call came from the other man and Heath turned to look at him, but in the corner of his eye he saw the sheep doing something. Instead of sniffing at the grass the sheep was now looking up at Heath with black beady eyes, and a smile filled with shark like teeth.
He only barely had time to react; he quickly jumped back and moved towards his cage as the hippo sheep suddenly charged at him. As he slammed the cage door shut he felt the sheep slam into the other side, there was struggle between him and the sheep as he finally got the door closed. But the sheep didn’t stop not only did it slam into the cage multiple times but it also gnawed at the metal and surprisingly it was making progress through the gate. Heath scrambled backwards, tripping over some of the baseballs and hitting the ground rather hard. He couldn’t seem to take his eyes off the creature until he realized that the other person was still just batting a few cages away and had hardly even noticed that the sheep was attacking like a ravenous beast. Yet the man had warned him as if he knew what was going to happen when Heath got too close to the sheep. In fact without that guy’s warning he’d probably be sheep food. But he wasn’t even looking... What was wrong with that guy?
The closer the sheep got to breaking through the metal cage the more freaked out Heath became, he scrambled backward trying to feel for anything other than the baseballs he could use to keep that thing away from him. His hand knocked into the aluminum bat and he quickly grabbed it. He jumped up immediately. At this point he felt his stomach twist uncomfortably and felt a sudden surge in his muscles that he usually only got when he was beating a kid into the ground. But something told him he was definitely going to need that strength now. The way the sheep gnawed on the metal reminded Heath vaguely of the plastic chattering teeth he used to play with as a child. He still remembered when he got his finger caught in between them. It had hurt pretty bad and made him so angry that he smashed the thing to bits. He was planning to something similar to the sheep. Although he was pretty sure what he was about to do was considered animal cruelty.
When the sheep broke through Heath pulled back and let his bat fly, it slammed into the sheep and sent it flying just a little. But it got back to its feet rather quickly and Heath readied himself again. That continued until the sheep latched on to his arm and Heath was filled with rage just as he had been when the plastic toy had bitten him. He ripped his arm away and pulled the bat far back and smashed it down into the head of the sheep which promptly exploded in a puff of yellowish looking dust or maybe it was sand but either way Heath’s eyes went wide as he stared at the pile of dust on the ground. Maybe one of the older kids had put drugs in his cereal that morning because he was damn sure that sheep didn’t explode, and they most definitely didn’t explode into yellow sand.
“Not bad kid!” The voice was from the other guy who had been pretending that both Heath and sheep didn’t exist. He was now walking towards him.
Still being fairly frantic could only manage to get this out, “You saw the sheep explode too? RIGHT?” The guy just laughed at him.
“Yeah kid, I saw the sheep.”
“And it had teeth right? I’m not crazy?”
This time the guy laughed a little harder moving through the hole the sheep had made and walking up to him. The guy towered over him and had a very impressive build. “I don’t know about you not being crazy. But yeah the sheep had teeth.” The guy pulled the bat from Heath’s hand with little resistance from the stunned nine year old.
He swung the bat in a circle and it seemed to change, instead of a baseball bat it was now a gleaming off brown orange axe, a really big and heavy one too. On the blade Heath could see words inscribed “πόλεμος” the words seemed to float off of the weapon and hover in front of his eyes till they looked like English “War” the word war was scribbled on an axe. Seemed fitting enough. The man swung the axe and it returned to being a bat but it still had that same coloring and the same word scribbled on it. The guy handed it back to him and hesitantly Heath took it from him. It felt heavier. A lot heavier. Almost too heavy for him to carry. Okay, heavy enough that he couldn’t actually lift the thing up. He’d have to drag it. Heath stared at the object, vaguely recognizing a sharp pain in his arm. When he looked back up he saw the man walking away.
Heath quickly ran to catch up to him, “Wait! Who are you? What was that thing? How’d you do that to my bat? Why’d the sheep explode?” Millions of questions were exploding in his head. The guy stopped again, the scowl back in place as though it had never left, the guy looked annoyed.
The guy signed and smacked Heath upside the head, “I’m your father.” He was pretty sure his mouth just dropped. This guy was his father, his honest to god father? Why hadn’t he said anything before? Why was he showing up now? His head hurt from all the questions he usually tried to avoid things that made him confused. “If you want to know more then I suggest you make it over to New York. Long Island. Look for a place called “Camp Half Blood”, show them that bat and they’ll know just what to do with you.” This time when Heath’s father walked off Heath didn’t chase after him, somehow he got the feeling that he couldn’t follow his father wherever he was going.
“Yes Sir, General Dad, Sir.”
His father must have heard because there was a slight tug at his cheeks that gave way to the fact that he was smiling.
Camp Half Blood
It had taken three days before Heath was able to run away from the foster home and it took two days before he even got close to figuring out how to get to this “Camp Half Blood” that his dad had told him about. Almost everywhere that he went and stayed for more than an hour or two he was attacked by some weird thing. Two more sheep had shown up and he beat them up with the really heavy baseball bat. As he was trekking to New York Heath got side tracked in Chicago where he met another kid that was also looking for the same camp, a kid named Charles Beckendorf. Since the name Beckendorf was rather unusual Heath couldn’t help but call him by that name instead of “Charlie”. Traveling along with Beckendorf was a guy named Gleeson (though he was hardly one to be considered gleeful, in fact he was sour and mean), and his lower half just about made Heath pass out. Actually when he first met Gleeson he thought that he had the lower hindquarters of a sheep and was ready to knock the guy all the way to Mars. But he was later informed that the man had goat legs not sheep, and was something called a Satyr. And Gleeson the Satyr was suddenly endeared to Heath because of how brutally he had tried to kill him without just cause. In short, Gleeson was messed up.
It took almost another two days before they got the camp, it was pretty far away from anything else and smack-dab in the middle of nowhere, the road leading up to it was dirt and the trees of the forest loomed over them all. The first thing that Heath noticed as they approached the camp was the giant pine tree. There was something unexplainably sad about that tree, something that he couldn’t explain but when he looked at the tree his chest tightened uncomfortably. Instead of delving deeper into those feelings he did exactly what he always did, he didn’t look and didn’t think about it hoping that both his feelings and the tree would just disappear. The next thing to reach Heath’s eyes was a large blue house, as they approached one of the doors opened.
Most people would have been shocked to the point of fainting if a horse man suddenly walked out of a house and started to talk to them. But after everything that he’d been through it was hardly anything to gape at. After all, he’d already beaten up three man-eating sheep and attempted to beat up a goat man. So a horse man was really not at the top of his weird things of the past week. And it definitely wouldn’t rank that high after orientation. The horse man introduced himself as Chiron, the trainer of heroes. And Chiron also told both Beckendorf and Heath that they were the children of gods. It took about an hour to make both of them accept this. Well, actually it took Beckendorf an hour to accept it and it took about three seconds for Heath to accept it. After everything weird that had happened to him since he met his father and even some of the stuff before he couldn’t really object to it. After the little speech Chiron asked for a guy named Luke to show them to Cabin 11, for the kids that weren’t claimed yet. Remembering what his father had said about showing the bat to the people at camp he pulled it out and handed it to Chiron, who then instructed that only Beckendorf be taken to Cabin 11 while Heath would be taken to Cabin 5 by some girl named Clarisse. Clarisse was a girl only about a year older than him but slightly bigger, they sort of resembled each other. When she was told that Heath was to be taken to Cabin 5 he could see her sizing him up and he felt like she may be getting ready to pick a fight. Heath straightened up and balled his left fist while his right wrapped tightly around the bat that Chiron had returned to him. At this the girl smiled and said he was good material. He had no idea what she meant.
On the way to Cabin 5 Clarisse explained that they were siblings, Children of Ares the God of War. With the fact that “War” was written on the weapon his father gave him and the fact that his father was by far the scariest and most aggravating person that Heath came in contact with throughout his life he didn’t have too much trouble agreeing with her. It also explained some of his less pleasant traits, like his ability to attract a fight and his ability to win those fight no matter how much bigger they were than him. Cabin 5 was painted red, sort of like his was painted in blood by the cabin’s resident’s hands. There was barbed wire lining the roof. Inside the cabin resembled a war zone. Weapons were scattered around along with clothing. He was pretty sure that there were rats or bugs living in there too. He could already tell that keep the cabin clean wasn’t too big of priority of the campers and that was totally okay with Heath. He’d just have to remember to not walk around bare foot unless he wanted to get his foot cut open. And he was pretty sure that the floor didn’t need any more stains, besides most of them looked like blood stains anyways. His siblings weren’t exactly nice but they definitely welcomed him with open arms and immediately started to ask him questions about his life and how he fought and they all just about went crazy when he mentioned he’d already met their father. He’d gotten his head caught in a headlock for that, a noogie, and enough light hearted punches to guarantee bruises the next day. They all admired his bat/battleaxe and one of the older kids offered to teach him how to use it properly. By the end of the day he already had a month of training planned out with his siblings. Dinner was called for in the pavilion, he couldn’t believe how starving he was. One of his siblings explained that they burned some of the food for their parent or rather any of the other gods that they may need the help of, but mainly they just sacrificed the food to their parent. All the food was really healthy, and the meat was great. Though he was a little disappointed that there weren’t any hamburgers but it was cool. It would only take a couple of days for him to adjust.
In the following weeks Heath couldn’t even come close to describing just how much he loved the camp. He really felt at home for once, they found out that Heath was really great at hand-to-hand combat and that the battleaxe was probably the perfect weapon for him. He was good with the other weapons but when he had that axe everybody knew to get out of his way. The Ares cabin dominated in Capture the Flag that summer, losing only once to the Athena cabin because of some girl named Annabeth who was the same age as Heath. As it turned out Beckendorf was claimed by Hephaestus, and despite the distaste between their parents the two got along great. Heath hung out in the forges a lot, testing out the weapons for his friend and talking about sports and other cool things.
By the time fall rolled around he was sad to see most of the campers go; he had forgotten that a lot of them had families to return to. Heath told Chiron about how he had run away, he’d tried hiding for quite some time, but as it turned out the he already knew about that and had taken care of it so that Heath now officially lived at the camp year round. Heath wasn’t sure how he had managed that but he didn’t really care all that much, as long as he got to stay at camp he was happy. At first he thought this meant he would just spend all his time training but unfortunately the Athena cabin led lessons during the year to make up for those kids who didn’t go to school. They even gave out homework, it was totally lame. But he still did get to spend an amountable time in the arena, archery range (which was one of the few weapon related activities that he almost sort of sucked at), and rock climbing wall. Every other month or so the Apollo cabin gave Chariot lessons, this was something that Heath enjoyed. Although Heath wasn’t too fond of riding the horses or Pegasi. But chariot racing was definitely up his alley. When they had the actual races Heath would team up with Beckendorf and one of the Apollo kids. Beckendorf would deck out the chariot with tons of different weapons which Heath would use while the Apollo kid steered the vehicle. They didn’t always win but they usually did pretty good. And it was always fun.
By the time the next summer rolled around Heath had grown considerably, not just in height but also in muscle. He could now lift his axe with little trouble, and swing hard enough to cut the training dummies clean in half. He still wasn’t that fast but he made up for it in strength. And with the help the Athena cabin he was even doing better with school work. The next couple two years would be great, his second year would be when Percy arrived and after that he got his first real taste of what war was. And despite his heritage there was a lingering bitter taste in his mouth from those experiences.
New Friends and Dead Friends and Jesse
If there was one kid at camp that everybody knew and liked it was Lance Avon. He was blonde and bright, a surfer kid from Florida. He knew and talked to everybody, he had an infectious smile that was slightly crocked and a knack for knowing just what a person liked to do and talk about. There wasn’t one person that could say a bad word about Lance. Well, they might say he was a flirt but he was a harmless one. It wasn’t like he had a girlfriend so he was free to flirt as he wished. Heath didn’t actually know the guy too well until they had a quest together, it was Lance’s first quest and it was a total disaster.
Heath had told them that keeping six demigods in one place was stupid and reckless. Especially with the upcoming war, monsters were roaming around everywhere looking for helpless demigods to kill so they could never get to camp and increase the troops. But they didn’t listen to Heath; they said it would be less of a risk because they wouldn’t have to travel around picking them up. But not too long after they left a Chimera had attacked. If it hadn’t been for Lance all ten of them would be dead, instead of the eight. It was still bad. Heath couldn’t help but feel bad for Lance since it was his first quest and all.
Lance had gotten bitten by the Chimera’s lion head, and used that opportunity to stab the beast through the heart. The wound had been pretty nasty, even by Heath’s standards. Some of the teeth had gotten lodged into the bone of Lance’s hip, as a sort of victory souvenir. The blonde wasn’t very responsive when he woke up in the hotel room, actually he wasn’t very response for the next couple of days, he didn’t really talk and he hardly ate. It creeped out a lot of the campers. The Aphrodite girls were all hanging around him trying to cheer him up and get him to flirt with them. At some point the blonde convinced one of them to cut off his hair. Well not all of it, but a lot of it. Heath got why the kid was so down, he’d never been on a quest before and to see all that death the first time was a huge shock.
He felt responsible for the kid, he checked up on him a lot. Lance was in the Hermes cabin, although he wasn’t a child of Hermes, actually they didn’t know who his parent was. He’d been there for two years waiting to be claimed by his father, he had told Heath that his mother was the mortal in his parentage. Lance tried to shrug it off but it was clear that he was disappointed and worried as to why he hadn’t been claimed yet. Heath didn’t know what to say, he’d never been one of those unclaimed kids, when he got to camp he’d not only already been claimed but he’d also already met his father. Heath couldn’t help but feel bad for him so he did all he could think to do, he swore to himself that he’d look out for Lance and make sure that he stayed safe. He became Lance’s self appointed big brother.
Heath spent summer afternoons training with Lance after he got more of his mobility back, but it was still slow. Lance was a better swordsman than Heath, if he had a balanced sword and wasn’t injured he’d easily take Heath down in an instant. Lance spent a lot of time at the docks, he liked to swim, luckily with an injured hip he could still swim pretty fast and it seemed to be one of the few things that could always bring a smile to the blonde’s face. As his hair grew back he seemed to get better, he started to hang around with more people, and went back to flirting with the Daughters of Aphrodite, Nymphs, and Naiads. By the time the war was over, the dead honored and burned, and the camp had sighed in relief Lance was back to normal.
The next summer Heath could have hit himself for not realizing how Lance’s father was. Heath had stayed at camp for the year as usual and the blonde rolled in on his jeep toting Jesse along with him, apparently they’d been hanging out the weeks before camp started. One of the first things that Lance wanted to do was go swimming, a chance to show off to the girls and flirt with the Naiads that sat at the bottom of the dock. He dived in and swam for a while but when he resurfaced at the dock to splash both Heath and Jesse who were arguing about nothing in particular there was a glowing green trident floating above his head, it caused quite the scene at camp, but it made sense as to why he hadn’t been claimed, if it had been known that Poseidon had not one but two demigod children who knows what would have happened to Lance.
It was a strange summer for everyone, at first Lance was seriously apprehensive about the whole thing since he’d been so used to the Hermes cabin but he and Percy really hit it off. Of course then Percy pulled a disappearing act on everybody. Annabeth was pissed and Lance was ready to punch his older brother’s teeth in. But Heath also knew that Lance was seriously worried about him, more than once he’d stopped by the Poseidon cabin to find Lance holding Annabeth while she cried, she was way torn up about it and Lance was praying that Percy was okay. Heath tried to keep Lance distracted during that time, especially once Lance got his own sword, a gift from his father, and Heath realized that he would always, always get his ass kicked at sword fighting when he was facing Lance. The two of them took a couple more quests during that time, searching for Percy and other demigods to bring back to camp.
Heath had never quite had a friend like Lance, but he was glad to have met him in his lifetime.
It wasn’t too long after Heath got back from his quest with Lance; the Ares cabin had finally finished mourning the death of Mia. No one blamed Heath for what had happened or even for not bringing back her body, they all understood that it was a choice for the better of the quest. Things seemed to be settling back into routine, yet the camp was still jittery with the impending war looming just weeks away. It was destined to happen, after all Percy was sixteen now. They couldn’t escape the oracle’s prophecy, they always came true. And the oracle said that war was to come.
Heath spent a lot of his time with Clarisse, and the Athena cabin plotting war strategies. He also spent more time down in the forges with Beckendorf, and one of his brothers named Landry (who for the longest time Heath thought was named laundry), testing out weapons and multiple other devices to use against Luke and Cronus’s army. He’d come up with some Greek fire bombs to use on the upcoming mission on the ship Princess Andromeda. Heath joked that they’d have to use them in Capture the Flag together once the war was over. Too bad they wouldn’t get the chance.
After the mission was over only Percy came back. Beckendorf had died, sacrificing himself for the sake of Percy getting away and the ship being destroyed. Silena Beauregard, Beckendorf’s girlfriend and friend of Clarisse was totally destroyed. Heath felt numb, this time there was no adrenaline or quest to ease the blow. He couldn’t believe it. Beckendorf had arrived with Heath to the camp; they’d spend six years together being friends and now he was dead. Heath tried to avoid the Hephaestus cabin and Silena; it was a painful reminder of his friend. He felt like a hole was left in camp. And a prelude to the pain that was to come.
Picture the most annoying person you’ve ever met. Revel in how much you hate their very existence. Now times the annoyance they possess by one hundred and your hate by one thousand and you’d know exactly how Heath felt about a particular Hermes child by the name of Jesse White. There was no one else so self-centered, egotistical, conniving, annoying, selfish, or sociopathic in the entire camp that measured up to that guy. And yet despite all that, and how many people hated and feared him including his own siblings Lance, sweet, naive, blonde Lance was friends with that asshole.
No, not just friends. Best friends with Jesse.
Whatever brainwashing powers that kid had to make Lance his friend Heath was sure they were just as powerful as the guy’s power to annoy Heath. From the first sentence that came out of his mouth Heath hated him. Heath met him when he went to visit Lance after their quest together. He walked into the Hermes cabin, he’d come by before when some of the Hermes kids or other children of minor gods or even just the unclaimed were hanging around but this time there was just Lance and some tall brown haired scrawny kid hanging around the cabin. Lance didn’t really have the ability to move around with his majorly injured leg so he spent most of his time in bed, he could walk and stuff but it was visibly painful for him and took a lot more time. Lance looked depressed, Heath couldn’t figure if it was because of the injury, the deaths, or just the whole thing in general. But it had been enough that Lance had tempted an Aphrodite girl into cutting off his hair, it was a running rumor that Lance had traded a date for a haircut and that was the only reason the girl gave in. Heath had seen the scrawny kid around before, talking to Lance and stuff but for the most part he’d just seen him wandering about alone and never had the two actually met.
Lance noticed Heath the second he walked into the cabin and gave him a weak smile and if the other guy noticed Heath he didn’t show it, he didn’t turn nor did he stop talking. As Heath moved closer he could hear the conversation that the two were in the middle of, “-nd I just don’t understand why it’s so complicated for those idiots to gather useful information. They’re supposed to be intelligent; their mother is the goddess of wisdom for gods’ sake. I mean would it kill them to get one scrap of information that I could actually use to my advantage in formulating plans? Apparently, because they haven’t done it yet.” Heath had no idea why this guy was so passionately annoyed about the Athenian cabin but he got the feeling that whatever information this guy was after was not the good kind. As if just realizing that someone else was listening in on their conversation the brunette turned his head to look at Heath, brown eyes quickly scanned over Heath without emotion and the pupils shook a little as though the boy was shifting through files of information on who Heath was. When he seemed to be finished he looked even more annoyed and more bored than he had before. “Great, another useless person,” That was the first way that Jesse had ever addressed Heath. “At least the Athenian’s are literate. What do you need?” Heath half expected the boy to suddenly say he was joking or for Lance to mouth the guy off but neither happened. The boy just stared at him like he was a bug moving slowly around the room and he was just too lazy at that moment to swat it.
After the awkward pause where Heath was waiting for someone to say something to reject how that guy had acted, he finally spoke up, “Who the hell are you?”
The boy looked annoyed and rolled his eyes. “Jesse White. And you’re Heath Clarc, son of Ares. Big, bulky, and stupid. So now my questions. What. Are. You. Doing. Here?” The words were slow and deliberate, practically demeaning. Heat could feel his hand twitch before balling up into a fist. He was going to punch this kid.
“I came to check up on Lance. Make sure he was doing okay.”
“He doesn’t need you babying him,” At this there was almost a defensive tone to Jesse voice like somehow mentioning that he was looking out for Lance had insulted Jesse. “He’s fine. Now leave.” Lance for some reason looked amused and didn’t object to what Jesse was saying.
“What’s your problem?”
He responded without hesitation and without even blinking, “You.” Five seconds later Jesse was nursing the start of a black eye and Lance was desperately trying to keep Heath from doing anymore damage to the boy. Heath probably should have guessed that those brown eyes that now stared at him with neither indifference nor annoyance but pure loathing was one of the worst things he’d ever see in his life but he was a little too busy trying to beat the shit out of him to notice. Jesse was plotting just how he’d spend the next four years hating, messing with, and just annoying Heath to the brink of murder attempts all the while knowing that his friendship with Lance would keep a short leash around the Son of Ares and his ability to hurt Jesse.
By the next day the whole camp had heard about Heath punching Jesse, and it wasn’t exactly a pretty scene at meals when the Hermes cabin and Ares cabin spent the whole time glaring at them. Heath thought at first that maybe Jesse didn’t even care because he didn’t even look at Heath or talk about the incident in the least. But he was wrong. Very wrong. Jesse had the ability to hold a grudge for years. Every time Heath went to visit Lance, Jesse was there and he made it clear that he wanted Heath to leave each time and insulted Heath in a roundabout way knowing that Heath couldn’t, or rather wouldn’t, do anything to Jesse as long as Lance was there.
But the real challenge started when Heath noticed things missing from his cabin, it started small but soon it was obvious that someone was stealing his stuff. It didn’t take a child of Athena to realize who was doing it. Jesse. Sure it annoyed him but he didn’t care all that much. That is until one specific thing went missing. His bat. His baseball back that his father had turned into a battleaxe. This time Jesse was so dead. He didn’t wait a second to hunt the asshole down. He found him leaning against a tree on the edge of the forest; he was dressed for Capture the Flag, in all black with winged converse. His eyes were hidden behind a pair of black sunglasses. With the whole missing bat he had forgotten that there was a Capture a Flag game tonight. “Hello Heath,” Jesse greeted happily, his voice was acidic yet dripping with honey at the same time. “Is something the matter?”
“Give it back Jesse!” Jesse looked at him wide eyed and feigned being hurt.
“Give what back? I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Save it, I’m so not in the mood for your stupid little mind games right now.” Jesse frowned, as if he was actually insulted this time. “Give. Me. Back. My. Axe.”
A sly smiled slipped over Jesse’s lips, “Axe, axe, axe? Nope sorry, no clue where it is.” Heath grabbed Jesse by the front of his shirt and hoisted him up. “You should really work on your persuasion skills.” Jesse sounded bored, like there was no possibility that Heath would punch him in the face. “Did you ever think that I didn’t actually take your stupid axe?”
“Eh, at least you’re honest. But that’s what makes it fun to mess with you.” Heath lifted Jesse off the ground, which only made the boy’s eyebrow rise. “I have flying sneakers on. Do you really think that lifting me up is going to scare me?” It was a solid point. “Whatever. Maia.” Wings sprouted from Jesse’s shoes and he hovered comfortably making it as though Heath wasn’t even touching him. “Apologize.”
“Apologize,” Jesse repeated his face still blank.
“Why? For what?” The blank disappeared and was replaced with anger.
Jesse scowled; it was on par with the scowl that most Ares children wore. “For what you called me.”
“Apologize for what you called me when you punched me.”
Oh, Heath felt dumbstruck. All the torture, all the thefts just because of that? “Asshole? You did all this because I called you an ass?” The shoe’s wings flapped harder and Jesse bobbed back and forth, up and down.
“Yes,” Jesse practically hissed the word. Heath would have laughed if it wasn’t for the fact that Jesse had somehow managed to sneak into the Ares cabin, and steal the weapon that Heath kept under guard. Heath was pretty sure that Lance called Jesse an ass all the time but apparently this was a sensitive subject with him. “Now apologize.”
“I’m... sorry?” Jesse was still scowling and probably glaring, not that anyone could tell with those glasses on, but the shoes calmed down and he bounced around less.
“It’s under my bunk in the Hermes cabin, nobody would have touched it. Nobody touches my stuff.” Heath let go of Jesse’s shirt and eyed him warily as he left, Jesse stayed floating.
From that moment forward the two of them didn’t get along. Whenever they were in the same room they acted like cats caught in rain. Although the two of them didn’t try to kill each other as long as Lance was around.