The Sea God landed a firm smack on the side of Percy's thigh and the demigod yelped in surprise. Poseidon cocked an eyebrow at his son and repeated his question. "You do not speak that way, understand?" This time, Percy nodded, still flabbergasted over the fact that his father had hit him.
"Good. Now, it seems to me that if you were tired of Clarisse messing with you, you could have gone and spoken to Chiron about it, could you not have?" Reluctantly, Percy nodded his head at his father's question. "So, why didn't you?"
Percy shrugged. "I never thought about it. I guess I thought I could fix the problem by myself. Besides, nobody likes a rat."
"Starting a fight is not called fixing the problem, Percy. It's just adding on to the issue and it's going to get you in trouble. Personally, I would have preferred for you to be a tattletale rather than get involved in this whole mess."
The teen nodded in understanding. "You're right, Dad. I'm sorry."
"I'm sure you are." Poseidon said. "As to wanting to protect your girlfriend, I can understand that, Percy, I really can. But, you know better than anyone else that Annabeth is perfectly capable of handling herself. But, if you were genuinely worried that Clarisse might hurt her, I'm sure you could have found other ways to separate the two of them rather than sabotage Clarisse, which is partly the reason for these ridiculous quarrels!"
Percy cringed when his dad raised his voice a bit. "But, Dad -"
"But, nothing, young man. I know you love Annabeth and want to keep her safe from anyone and anything, but again; she is perfectly capable of handling herself and making her own decisions. Wanting to defend her honor is not a well enough excuse for all those times that you interfered; once or twice, maybe but certainly not more than that!"
Percy huffed and crossed his arms, thinking that his father would never understand. He said exactly that. "You wouldn't understand! I know Annabeth can kick ass, even better than I can, but it's just something in me that wants to defend her, protect her. I see someone mess with her, if they're a dumbass enough to even do that, and I automatically have to step in."
"Watch your mouth." Poseidon hissed through clenched teeth, growing tired of his son's disrespect.
Percy rolled his eyes. "Of course, the curse words would be the only part you heard."
"Perseus Jackson, you are treading on thin ice -watch yourself, young man. You're in enough trouble as it is. Now, I am going to repeat myself one final time: Watch your mouth. I don't want to hear any more of those sorts of words coming out of your mouth again, you hear me? And we are done discussing the matter of you interfering for Annabeth. You will let her handle her own issues and that is final. If you feel so inclined to help her, when you know she won't need help, then go get Chiron, or simply pull her away before anything serious happens. But, I never want to hear that you got into another fight, do you understand me?"
"I don't see why you care so much. I've been in fights before." Percy continued to argue, unwilling to drop the subject simply because his father said so.
"What sorts of fights? School fights? Or battles against the Titans? Two very different matters, Perseus." Poseidon explained, losing his patience.
"Whatever." The willful teenager shrugged.
Poseidon bit the inside of his cheek and counted to ten in his head to calm himself down. He was losing patience very quickly with his usually reasonable and well-behaved boy. He wondered if maybe spending too much time at Camp Half-Blood was making him, not only obsessed with his girlfriend, but also catching on to bad behavior of other campers.
"You better drop your attitude right now, Perseus Jackson, unless you want me to add more punishment." Poseidon warned and Percy had the good grace to look nervous.
"Fine. Sorry." He answered simply, barely dropping the attitude but Poseidon saw the slight change as an improvement.
"On to the next topic of our lovely conversation," Poseidon began, ignoring Percy's expression, "You know you aren't allowed to use your powers unless there's an emergency."
At that, Percy bowed his head a little bit and cast his gaze elsewhere. Poseidon continued firmly, "I teach you how to use your powers not so that you can use them to your advantage in a meaningless fight with your cousin, but for you to know what to do if an emergency arises. Summoning a river to drench the Ares' cabin simply because Clarisse was annoying you is not excusable behavior, son. Maybe it wasn't clear to you before, so I'm going to make it as clear as possible: You are not permitted to abuse your abilities or use them for any situation that is not a real, legitimate, threatening, situation. Are you understanding me?
"You need to comprehend, once and for all, that your ability to control water this way is not a game. You have an ability like none of your other siblings and you use it to win a meaningless fight? Really, Percy?"
Percy looked away and shrugged, not appreciating getting lectured. Poseidon sighed at Percy's silent response. He reached out and tilted the boy's head back up to look at him once more.
"Son, you must learn that you can't be doing this. Your powers are meant for emergencies and I know that this little 'battle' was far from being an emergency. You don't see us Gods randomly using our powers against each other! And that's exactly what you have; a God-like power that needs to be used correctly or else it can cause serious problems."
"Look Dad, I get it, really I do... but I still don't see why you care so much! It's not like I tried to drown her or stampede her with the horses. & if you read the right book, you do see it." Percy argued, not noticing that he let slip about how he used his power over horses to his advantage as well.
"The horses too, Perseus? You really have no shame, do you?" Poseidon shook his head in disbelief. "You know better, Percy, I know you do.
If I catch you misusing your ability to control water -and horses for that matter- again, you will not like the consequences, young man."
"I have never enjoyed Consequences, they're consequences."Percy remarked sarcastically, and Poseidon stood up.
"That's it, young man."
Percy looked up at his father and suddenly lost his courage to even dare think to backtalk his father again. He was overwhelmed with a sense of unease and he tried to apologize to his father.
"Dad, I'm sorry, I'll cut the attitude -"
"Too late for apologies, kiddo. I warned you to quit. I'm your father and you should respect me enough to do as you're told. I've had enough of your sass and backtalk, combine that with the trouble you were in to start with, and you get a very pissed off father."
Percy gulped and looked down at the floor. He groaned internally, thinking that he had upset his father so much that he'd be grounded for the rest of the summer and that might mean not being able to be at camp. So, he was very shocked when he heard his father's next words.
"Stand up, Percy. I think it's time I do something I never thought I would have to do with you."
"What are you going to do...?" He asked, his voice trembling a bit, but never taking his eyes off the floor.
"I'm going to spank you."
Now, Percy's head shot up and he glared at his father uneasily and with complete shock and horror.