Leo blinked, his mind in a endless stupor that went on and on.
He could feel the area on his hip where his tool belt was supposed to be, but there was nothing. He started to panic, hyperventilate. No reason to do it, then do it. That was the basis of his life, after all.
And then he remembered his punishment from Annabeth. Groaning, he shook his head and looked around to where he was.
He was leaning against the wall on the kitchen, pots and pans threatnening to clang over him and smash his head to pieces as they hung over him. He shuddered, wondering what he was doing here. He must have fallen asleep sometime.
Looking at the clock on the kitchen wall, he groaned. It was 6:33, and Leo Valdez would never be seen getting up so early.
Yet he was not tired, and his eyelids refused to close. Cursing at the god of sleep, Hypnos or Morpheus or whoever that was, he slowly made his way upstairs.
He had just finished showering when the alarm clocks started ringing, loudly and obnoxiously. He could hear the angry mutters of his fellow demigods, and the scrapes from the bedposts against the ground.
"Holy Hephaestus!" Leo heard someone say. "It's been a week at school already?" It sounded like a boy's voice.
"Welcome to the real world, Seaweed Brain." Another female voice answered. So Percy and Annabeth talking in one room. Instant juicy blackmail.
"Damn the alarm clocks." He heard someone else say. Jason would never say that, so it had to be Frank.
"Language!" He could hear Hazel yell back. So Hazel and Frank, talking through the walls.
"Good morning, Sparky." Piper. Sparky? Leo thought. Blackmail point one for Leo.
"Good morning, Pipes." Jason. Pipes. Maybe I can give her pipe cleaners for her birthday. After all, blackmail point two for Leo.
No one made any mention of his name, which made him feel lonely and depressed. So he did the only natural thing that came to his mind- dash downstairs to get food.
Breakfast was subdued, and Leo noticed dark circles around Frank and Percy's eyes. The party. He thought, wondering if he also had black markings below his eye. Probably not, since he had woke up early.
The Seven lined up against the wall, and through the vortex Leo managed to keep standing and hold his food down.
And then before he knew it, he was facing big, imposing Goode, the rusty bricks and architecture same as ever.
Only this time, something was different. People were staring at all of them with awe when they walked by in the courtyard.
"Awesome party, dudes!" One jock was telling Percy.
"Make sure you host another one!" Someone yelled at Frank.
"Hey, cutie." He heard someone say to him. He turned around.
There was Kylie, makeup smeared all over her face, simpering at Jason. No, not at Leo. Jason. The handsome, powerful one. Not the scrawny one with machine oil streaked through his hair.
And with that, Leo vowed he would get a girlfriend here, too.
You know, Leo? Someone said. He looked around. Nobody was looking at him.
Who's there? He thought.
Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, of course. She answered back, a tinkling laugh like a wind chime sweeping across her throat.