"There it is. The Wilderness School." Vulcan said and he turned into the car park, "Come on. Time to see your new principal."
Oh goodie. Jason thought, Just what I need. A new principal. They got out've the car and entered the school.
The corridors were wide enough to fit three people, four if you wanted to get squashed. Jason looked into the classrooms as he walked past. At least ten classrooms had paint work coming off the walls, sick stained carpets, grubby whiteboards and, Jason guessed, rather strict teachers or, they were just having a bad hair day. In the last classroom he looked into through the open door, he saw a girl. She had long, choppy, chocalate brown hair that was braided on both sides. She was sat next to a boy who had curly black her and he looked like a latino elf. The girl turned her head towards the door and Jason stopped in his tracks. Her kaleidiscope eyes stared into his, sending sparks of electricity down his spine.
"What are you looking at Piper?" The boy asked.
"The boy at the door." Piper said, still looking at Jason, "Don't tell me Leo, you can't see him."
"Course I can see him." Leo said, "You can't take his eyes off him."
Piper waved weakly at Jason and he waved back.
"McLean, Valdez do your work. There's nothing important about a door." The teacher said, "You're supposed to be talking to your partner!"
"Yes Mr Robertson." The pair said in unison to each other.
Piper looked back at Jason, who haadn't moved a muscle, and mouthed 'Go. Hope you're in my class.'
Jason mouthed back, 'same here.' Then, Vulcan grabbed his wrist and dragged him away from the door.
"I see you've met Piper and Leo." Vulcan said.
"Yeah. She's a complete... knock-out. I've never seen any girl that gorgous before. She beats the daughters of Venus by infinity points." Jason said. He had a spring in his step and a smile on his face, "I might actually enjoy it here."
They stopped infront of the door at the end of the corridor.
Knock! Knock! Knock!
"Come in!" a voice said from inside the room.
Vulcan opened the door. The room was tidier and more cared for than the rest.
"Take a seat."
Jason sat down in the empty chair infront of the desk and Vulcan pulled one up and sat down. The leather seat was comfy and cold.
"I'm the principal." She turned in her chair to face them. She was stroking a baby bunny- rabbit with a fluffy white tail. Its fur was a golden colour with a tint of bronze here and there, "So, we meet again Hepha- I mean, Vulcan."
The Lady shimmered and became gracefull. Her red hair fell onto one shoulder. The bunny stayed the same but, simply, stared at Jason with its beaming brown eyes.
"Victoria. You must learn to stop calling me by my greek form." Vulcan said.
"I know, Vulcan. It's just that I've been Nike for so long now." The godess of Victory said, "Anyway. State your bussiness."
"We were wondering if Jason here could -"
"Join the school community?" Victoria interupted, "Of course he can. If it keeps my Bobby safe, most definatly."
Jason looked to the ground. The guilt that vanished at the sight of Piper, had come back with revenge.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to drag him in." Jason wondered how he managed to that without being sick.
"Don't blame yourself son of Jupiter. He was ready for the consequences." Victoria looked at the clock, "Oh. It's break time already. Come. I'll take you to your new classmates." She transformed again. Only this time, she was wearing a white dress and her hair was in a bun. She took Jason by the shoulder and took him back the way he came. They soon came to hault.
Victoria knocked on the door and entered, "Speical delivary Mr Robertson. A new student." She moved out the way. Jason entered.
"Great. Thanks for another audition to my class. McLean, Valdez. Make him feel at home and take him to your classes."
"Pardon my manners sir but," Victoria said, "They have the same classes anyway."
The bell rang and the two children instantly packed their bags, got up,slung the bags on their shoulders, tucked their chairs under and ran up to Jason.
"Hi. I'm Piper McLean." Piper shook Jason's hand.
"And I'm the halarious Leo Valdez." Leo did the same, "What's your name?"
"Jason Grace. I came from camp Jupiter."
"What? Never heard of that place."
"What did I say Piper?"
"Oh, silly me. I meant San Fransisco. Camp Jupiter's just a made-up place from my mom's stories."Jason said, "I lived near the Oakland hills."
"What do you mean lived?" Piper asked, making a hand gesture telling them to follow her, "Did something bad happen?"
"Yeah, I guess. My mom kicked me out. Claiming that I was going to betray her. So I got lumbered with my older brother." Jason told a white lie. He was kicked out, but that was Octavian's fault. He didn't know his mom but, Vulcan is his brother. Technically. Well, half-brother anyway. It reminded him of his friends. Were they okay? Was Octavian forcing them to talk?
"I am so sorry. I really am. That happened to Leo. Only, his was much worse."
"Yeah. My baby sitter burned down the workshop that my mom worked at. I was there and, me being me, I blamed myself. I was sent to my Aunt Rosa's. She hated me. So, i ran away. Now i'm here and it's alot better than sleeping on the streets, in the sewers and smelling like them. Trust me Jason." Leo said, "And there we go. My past summed up."
Piper sobbed, "I'm still sorry about you being kicked out."
"Hey." Jason wrapped his sword arm around Piper's shoulders. She rested her head on his chest, "Shhhh. It was all my fault. I said I would sooner live my surfing Uncle instead of my drunk mother. She kinda deserved it."
"But it's still a horrible thing to do. I hardly ever see my dad. He's an actor. My mom left when I was six months. She was gradually seeing me less and less. Then, one day, she out with her friends and she never came home." Piper said, "Oh. I'm going home tommorow. I could always ask my dad tonight if you two could come and sleep round? He did say he would give me a treat this week."
"That's very thoughtful but-" Jason started to say.
"Oh come on. We'll go shopping after school. They always let us shop." Leo said, "I need some new clothes as well."
"Oh..Okay then." Jason put his other arm around Leo's shoulders, "You guys are my new friends."
"Get in there. Oh hello there ladies."
"Beat it Leo."
Piper laughed, "Leo. You won't get a girlfriend for a long, long time."
"Is he always unsuccessfull when it comes to girls?" Jason asked.
"Yes I am. Pérdida."
Jason and Piper raised an eyebrow.
"Damn in spanish." Leo said, "I do that when I get aggitated.
"Oh. Anyway, let's go to class." Jason said, "It must be around 10:40 by now."
The bell rang.
"Lucky guess. Welcome aboard Jason Grace. Time for you to meet our wonderful art teacher, Ms Deacon." Piper said sarcastically.
Leo laughed uneasily, "The loco mujar es un pitido bip."
The trio laughed when Leo translated what he said. Their laughter could be heard throughout the entire art block.
When they reached the room, they instantly stopped laughing and sat down next to each other on the spare table.
"This year," Ms Deacon said, "We are going to do portraits of us with our friends. For example, Piper could do a portrait of her with Leo and Jason over there. Welcome aboard Jason Grace, I hope you have a splendid year."
"Try my hardest Ms Deacon." Piper and Leo nuged him, as he was in the middle, and giggled.
"Don't you mean,'My friends will make that possible.' "Leo said.
"Anyway, Leo, seeming as you talked out've place, you can hand out the plain A4 paper and, Dylan, can you hand out the 2B pencils."
Once Leo sat down, the trio started to work, talking about doing the same setting and placement in all of them. Piper was to be in the middle, Jason on the right and Leo on the left. They aslo needed to be in the same placement and wearing the same kind of stuff. Leo was to draw them in the tenth grade living quarters, sat down on the couch, Piper was to draw them in the tenth grade living quartes, sat on the couch and talking about their day. On the other hand, Jason was drawing them just like the other two were but, there was a twist. Piper was wearing a top from the Greek camp and a dagger by her side, Leo was going tobe holding a hammer and wearing a white shirt with his sleeves rolled up, jeans and red braces, meanwhile, Jason was going to be wearing a Camp Jupiter t-shirt, holding a gladius in one hand and Piper's hand in the other. Next to Leo, there was going to be Vulcan's pet dragon, Ultio. In Latin it means 'Vengeance.'
"Boys! Would you settle down!" The dinnerlady shouted.
Jason had gotten himself into a horrid situation with Dylan the Venti. It wasn't entirely his fault. He was just walking down to the feild with Piper and Leo when, out of the blue, Dylan came along and Punched Leo in the face, giving him a black eye, and he made a move on Piper. If Jason didn't push her, she would've got a fist to the nose. Jason put his hand infront of Dylan's fist, grabbed it and twisted his arm backwards. Causing Dylan to go head over heels. Jason picked him up by his shirt collar and threw him at the courts fence. Dylan staggered to his face and retailiated. He ran at Jason and swung at him. Jason blocked the attack with his arm. Then the teacher came along as is it got out've hand.
Piper and Leo took one of Jason's arms each and pulled him away. Coach Hedge, the teacher on duty, grabbed Dylan by his ear and pulled him away.
"There's something fisshy about you Cupcake." Coach mumbled, "Always looking for trouble aren't we?"
Dylan yelped as Coach twisted his ear, "Yes, I mean, no Coach. It was his fault. He hit Leo."
"That's a lie!" Jason protested, "I would never, in a million years, hit one of my friends!"
"Jason's right!" Leo said in defense of his friend, "Dylan punched me in the face and he tried to hit Piper. If Jason didn't push her out the way and block the punch, Piper's nose would be broken."
"McLean, whose side are you on? Dylan's or your...pals." Coach sneered.
"Jason's. It's not his fault. It Dylan's." Piper took her side.
Greek demi-gods aren't that bad after all. Jason thought, Looks like Octavian was wrong about them.
"Okay then Cupcakes. But, Jason has to do a hundred push-ups how I tell him to. Right here, right now infront of everyone and, Dylan, You will have no break, no lunch and certainly no free time until June. Is that clear!?"
"Yes coach!" Dylan yelped, "I'll make may way to the Principal's office right not."
Coach let go of his ear and Dylan ran, clutching his ear.
"Get on the floor Grace!" Coach shouted, "Do fifty push-ups with one hand on your back."
Piper quickly hugged Jason, "Good luck Jas. Hardly any-one can do this in time." Jason tried remember the last time he was called Jas.
"Piper, no-one's ever stood up to Dylan before and got the push ups before. This is definatly the better option." Leo claimed, "Anyway. Good luck dude. We'll be cheering you on all the way."
"Nice to know." Jason said as he got into postion. He put on arm behind his back, "Can I start now?"
Jason took some time to start off but, once he was at number five, he relaxed a tad and put on the pace. In no time he was fifty and Coach told him to do normal push ups but clap as he pushed off the ground.
"Come on Jas!" Piper and Leo would cheer, "Thirty more!"
"Cool!" Jason would call back, "How am doing Coach?"
"Ten more! Come on Jas! You can do it!" Piper called, "Just think about History next lesson."
Jason started to count in his head. Five become four. Four to three. Three to two. Two to one.
"Stop Grace!" Coach shouted, "I reckon you would be great for the athletics team."
The bell rang.
"Have a great day and don't forget that tommorow it's the Grand Canyon trip!"
"Yes Coach!" The trio picked up their stuff and truged off to History class.
"Ancient Greeks and Romans this year. I can't believe we're so good at this topic. The Greek half anyway." Leo said, "What are you good at Jason?"
"What in the Ancient Greek and Roman department?" Leo nodded, "Well, I'm great at the Ancient Romans. Like, how they trained, their battle strategy and their Gods. Um. I know some things about the Greeks but not much."
"Ooo. I know." Leo exlaimed, "Because Piper and myself have no-one to sit next to, you could sit with us and help us out. In return, we will help you out. Is that fair."
"Could be fairer, but I'll help you guys." Jason said. Leo nuged his shoulder and Piper cheered. They entered the humanities block.
"Thanks Jason. That would mean a world to us. We only know the Gods and the odd Emporer." Piper said, "You're a life saver."
They entered their room, M09, and Leo and Piper took their seats next to the windows. Their teacher, Mr Maiden, told Jason to sit next to Piper. Jason took his seat and got given a sky blue book to do his work in. He put his name, room, teacher's name and History on the front.
Sir started the register and asked where Dylan was.
"He's just entered the block." Jason said, "Looks like he was beaten up at lunch." Leo, Piper and himself exchanged looks and gave each other a silent 'high' five under the table.
Soon they were set to work. There was two quizzes. One about the Ancient Romans and the other about the Greeks. They could talk in pairs as long as it was about the work. The trio did the Roman sheet first and Jason helped his friends out. In about a minute, they were onto the Greek quizz. Piper helped both Jason and Leo out, seeming that she read a bunch of Greek myths with her dad quite recently. They were the first to finish. Full marks on both sheets and they were awarded with the extra hard curriculam.
"I'll just go and photocopie some harder worksheets." Mr Maiden said, "I'll be back in a jiffey."
Five minutes later, sir came back carrying three worksheets. He gave the trio one each.
"This is really hard. What you need to do is translate the paragraphs in Latin into english, and the english into latin. Don't worry if you don't know what it means. I'll give you a hint, If Jason helped you with the latin question on the first quizz, he might be able to help you with this one if you get stuck. Oh and there should be some cognates in the latin passages." Sir explained.
"Okay." Leo said.
It felt like a few minutes before the bell went. Piper, Leo and Jason were the first to leave school, exactly on the bell. They went to the shopping center nearby and got new things. On the way, Jason saw Kim.
"Kim. What are you doing here?" Jason asked, "You should be with Mark and Hazel."
"They told me to give you your clothes." she said, "You left in such a hurry that you forgot all your shirts, jeans, toiletries, under pants, your comb and your collectible items. Espeically your armour."
"Armour?" Leo asked, his eyebrows raised, "Why would you leave that behind?"
"Long story. Anyway Kim. Go home. Tell my friends that I'm okay and I've already beaten up Dylan."
Kim nodded, "Do you want me to put your stuff in the boys dorm?"
Kim looked like she was on the verge of tears. She hadn't known Jason for very long, but she was still his half-sister. She ran as fast as she could,carrying to plastic bags and a Camp Jupiter luggage bag.
Jason looked at Piper. Her eyes became a stormy gray.
"She's my step-sister. Same Dad. I only met her last night." Jason said, "She's very sensetive when it comes to family."
Her eyes lit up again. Matching Jason's eye colour, "Cool! Let's get Leo some clothes."
They went into Marks and Spencers to get Leo some jeans, a belt, t-shirts and shoes. On the way back to the Wilderness School, Piper called her dad. She put it on loudspeaker. The conversation went like this:
Dad:Hi Pipes. What's the problem?
Piper: Can Leo and my new friend come round to sleep?
Dad: No sweetie.
Piper: But you said that you would treat me!
Dad: Okay then. I'm just coming into the shopping center.
Piper: Can you meet us outside M&S and then take us back to the wilderness school to get our stuff? Then you get to meet Jason. He's my new friend.
Dad:Sure. I'll see you in five.
Piper: Okay. Bye.
The line went dead.
"Back to M&S we go." Leo said.
By the time they got there, Tristan McLean had only just pulled up in the parking lot. They got into the car and went back to the Wilderness School. Piper asked Leo and Jason to get her deodarant, body spray and hair brush. There were on her bed.
Jason and Leo got to the dorm. Jason knocked ont the door.
A girl named Katie opened it.
"Hi Jason. What do ya need?" She asked.
"Piper's Deoderant, body spray and hair brush." He answered.
"Okay. Just give me a sec." Katie pushed the door up. Jason heard her walk over to Piper's bed, stop, and come back. She opened the door and passed them to Jason, "There ya go. Have a wonderful time."
"Sure will." Jason and Leo said in unison.
They walked to the boys dorm and got their stuff. Jason picked up one of the carrier bags that Kim dropped off. He emptied it apart from two shirts and a pair of Jeans. He put his comb,under wear, socks, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and Piper's stuff in the bag. Leo got his M&S bag and put in his toiletries (apart from shampoo), under wear, socks and pyjama shorts. They left the Wilderness School, with their stuff in Leo's school bag, and ran back to the car. It was four thirty pm.
By the time they got to Piper's, it was ten. The roads were so empty that it cut the journey down by three and a half hours. They had noodles for tea then they went to bed at eleven.
"Damn!" Leo said, "I forgot my comb, blanket, pillow and my pyjama top."
"Same." Jason realized when he gave Piper her stuff.
"Don't worry about blankets. I have a horde in the closet." Piper said, "Pillows. I'm pretty certain I have two in the closet and I can't help you with pyjama tops or combs."
"I have two shirts in my bag. I have a horde of the same shirt." Jason said, passing one to Leo, "And I have my comb. You can use it if you want to?"
Leo took it and said, "A horde? Jason, dude, It's like the only type of shirt you have. Purple with SPQR on the front. Thanks for letting me use your comb. By the way."
"Fair enough and no problemo."
"Boys. If you get changed in the bathroom that would be spectacular." Piper said, "I'll get changed in here and I'll sort out some blankets and pillows for you to use."
The boys nodded in agreement and entered the bathroom. Jason only took off his shoes. Leo changed completly. Only then did Jason realize how short Leo was. The shirt he gave him was baggy and long. They went back into Piper's room. The pillows were already on the floor. The boys were on the oppisite side of each other. Leo was next to cabinet on the far end and Jason was near the window. He could see the outline of Mt. Diablo in San Fransisco.
Oh my gods, he thought, I hope Octavians happy now.
"So then, Jas. Tell us about yourself." Piper said as she draped a blanket over Leo.
That brought him back to the present.
"Nothing to tell really. That story about my mom kicking me out. That was a white lie. My foster family kicked me out. I don't remember my mom. I remeber her taking me and my sister on a picnic when I was two." He sat up and Piper sat next to him. A blanket in her hand, "She told my sister to get the picnic bascket. She left it in the car."
"What did your sister say to that?" Leo asked. Turning onto his side to face him.
"She didn't let go of my hand. She ws seven and she refused to leave me with my mom. My mom pleaded and she took my other hand. All the while I was crying and screaming. Thalia eventually let go of my hand. She hugged me and said, 'Don't worry Jas. I'll be back soon. I promise.' "
"Thalia. That's a nice name." Piper said, "What did your mom do once Thalia left?"
"I'm not exactly sure. I remember waking up in an old mansion. A pack of wolves surronding me. They were looking after me until I was three."
"Like Romulus and Remus? Did you ever see your sister again?"
"Yeah. She was on the run. I was outside in the sun when I saw Thalia running towards me. I shouted her name and she shouted mine. When she reached me she knelt on the floor and gave me a hug. She told me that she called the police, social services, everyone that would take her away from mom. No-one believed her. They believed mom instead. Mom was a drunkard and a complete jerk to think that I never existed."
"Ouch." Leo said, "That's a nasty thing to say."
"Anyway. Thalia told me that that was the reason she ran. She wanted to find me. She wanted to make sure I was okay. She wanted to stay away from mom. Then a woman came along and took me from her. I started to scream again. Then, I woke up and I was with a new family. The last thing I heard my sister say was, 'I love you Jas. I'll find you and I'll look after you. No matter what.' She was crying. The fist time I heard my sister sob. The fist time I saw her face stained with tears. The picture's never left my mind. That day has never left me."
Leo pushed the blanket off him and crawled over to Jason.
"At least you saw her again. That's a good thing." He said.
Jason looked at Piper. Her eyes becoming red. He felt tears welling up in his eyes and streaming down his cheek. He didn't sob. He didn't change his facial features and he didn't feel his face heat up.
Piper hugged him, "Does anyone else know this? Old friends?"
"Yeah." He said. Piper still didn't let go, "My friends back in San Fran. Hazel, Mark, Dakota, Bobby and Nico. Mark cheered me up. Usually with the help of Bobby and Dakota. Nico comes and goes. He travels alot to do with work. Hazel was always there for me. She only came a two months before I left. Nico and Hazel were always together. They were like family to me. All my friends were. Even you guys are like family to me. There was also this other girl called Reyna.I was going out with her four years ago. Only lasted a week. I wanted to be with my friends. She wanted to be a school counciler. She basically helped the Principal with event times and stuff." He forgot that Piper was still hugging him, "You can let go off me now."
"Oh sorry." She let go, "It's good to know that you had friends who helped you get along with the world. We could all use that right now. Anyway. I, uh, better let you guys go to sleep."
Leo crawled back to his place and covered himself up.
"Thanks Piper. Not even they knew the whole story. I didn't tell tell them that I saw my sister again or the wolf thing." Jason said as he took her hand, "I really needed to get that off my chest."
"Don't worry about it. I burrowed a BMW. Well, the owner said that I stole it but, he said I could take it for a ride." Piper said.
"I would do to if you came up to me and asked me 'Oh. Can I burrow your car.' " They laughed quietly.
"Night Jas." Piper whispered and she kissed him on the cheek. Sending sparks down his spine.
"Night Pipes." He whispered back. She got into bed and turned off the light, "See you in the morning." He got comfy and closed his eyes. Just like everyother night, the day when he was taken from his sister for the second time appeared. He opened his eyes again. After a few moments he drifted off thinking about his friends back at Camp Jupiter. Are they okay? Are they worring about me? How's Octavian getting on?, Jason would think. Then, complete blackness overcame and he was fast asleep.