Chapter 1

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"What?!?" Both Percy and Jason exclaimed. Jason's hands were gripping the arms of his chair tight, while Percy's arms slapped down on the desk.

The principal, Mr. D, stared calmly, almost boredly, at them as he threaded his long fingers together. "Yes. You both need 2 arts credits to graduate. Most are full, except 2. Perfect right? Culinary with Mrs. Fortuna and Art with Mr. Apollo." He held a hand to stop the protesting teenagers. "Do not argue. Just go. You have Culinary now and Art next period. Just pass the class so you can leave my school. You're dismissed."

Percy looked like he wanted to argue more, but Jason grabbed his arm and pulled him out, throwing a hasty thank you over his shoulder. When they were safely in the hall, Percy let out a growl and ripped his arm from Jason's grip.

"This is bullshit! Why do we need arts classes?" Percy's knuckles were white, he was clenching them so hard.

"Do you want an actual answer or do you want to rant and walk?" Percy answered by turning on his heel and walking. "Alright then. The best thing to do, is to ace this class and rub it in Mr. D's face when we graduate with honors."

Percy smiled. "Yes. You're right. Let's go."

They walked to the arts building and located the Culinary room, bursting in. The teacher stopped walking and turned to them with a smile. She was a stout looking woman, with a wide frame and a big smile.

"You must be Percy and Jason! Come come. We'll get you set up with a group. Let's see now. Do we have anyone open?" She turned in a circle and tapped her finger to her chin. "Looks like a no. You'll have to work with Nico."

She strode forward and stopped at the kitchen in the corner, where there was a small boy who was humming quietly to himself as he sat in a chair, stirring something. He smiled up at Mrs. Fortuna.

"Hey, Mrs. F. Can I help you?" His voice was strong and confident. Something the two, popular boys were not used to.

"Kind of. You see, we have 2 new students, and no one else is open. Can they work with you?"

Nico tried to look, but the teachers wide frame hid the boys. "I guess so. It'll be weird, I'm not used to people, but I think I can make it work."

"Good! I knew I could count on you." She stepped to the side, revealing Jason and Percy. Nico's smile dropped, and he looked almost terrified. "Are you alright dear?"

"Y-Yes. I just rememebered that I need to turn my sauce down!" He jumped up and put the bowl on the counter, running to the stove and fumbling with the knobs, before coming back slowly. "Thank you Mrs. F. I'll call you if I need anything."

"You better. Let me know if you want, and I'll put these two in a group by themselves." She turned to the older boys. "You mind Nico now, okay? I don't want to see, or hear about any trouble with him. Got that?"

Despite her stout frame and round face, she a fire in her eyes that made the boys gulp and nod frantically. She narrowed her eyes at them before moving off to help a different group.

Percy stepped up to the counter and looked down and a glaring Nico. "What are you standing there for? You have food to cook. We need good grades."

Nico scoffed. "You're not graded on quality. You're graded on participation. To doesn't look like it, but she has eyes in the back of her head. She'll know if I do it all. So you have to work. I know tragic. Here." He thrust the bowl into Percy's stomach. "Keep stirring this until I tell you to stop." He turn to the blond. "And you. Tell me when the sauce is boiling. Don't you worry now, it's not hard. It doesn't even require brain cells. Just stand by the stove and tell me when it starts to bubble."

Jason glared. "I know what boiling is." He grumbled, moving off to stand in front of the stove.

"Is this done? My arms are tired." Percy whine, plopping down into the chair. "What do you have to do?"

"I have to put the machine together. We have to cut the dough. And no. It's not done. Give." The small boy snatch the bowl and stirred it for a couple more minutes before taking it out of the bowl and plopping it on the counter top. "Now it's done."

They worked that way for a while. Jason standing over the stove, Percy doing little jobs and Nico taking the brunt of the work.But it seemed to work pretty well. Soon the pasta was ready and the sauce finally boiled. It almost burned, because Jason got distracted. But Nico saved it and both Percy and Jason had a plate of spaghetti in their hands, half of it in their stomachs. Nico's plate was carefully covered in lots of Saran Wrap and put in his backpack.

"This is amazing. Jason we're so good at this!"

Nico rolled his eyes at Percys words, but didn't say anything. He just anxiously waited by the door, willing the bell to ring early. Just a few minutes. Come on. But the school was having nine of that. Nico has to suffer with his tormentors.

"Dude, I know. This is great. Amazing. Fantastic. Life changing. Beautiful. I want more." Jason moaned around a mouthful of noodles. Boys.

"How did everything go today boys?" Mrs. Fortuna asked.

"Yes!" Percy and Jason chorused. Fortuna raised an eyebrow and turned to the smallest boy.

Nico shrugged. "Meh. Jason almost burned the sauce and Percy didn't last 30 seconds stirring the dough. But I'm sure they'll learn."

The lady laughed, her whole body participating in the activity. She patted Nico on the head and ignored his grimace at the contact, moving on to her other students.

"Why did you rat us out like that?" Percy asked, slightly angry.

Nico shrugged again. "Because she knows when you lie. Why lie? It's not going to get you a better grade."

Jason opened his mouth and looked angry as he was about to say something but he was cut off by the bell. Nico, glad for the excuse, slipped out of the classroom and melded seamlessly into the sea of children.

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