Happy Birthday Percy!
The common room was warm and we all slumped into the chairs gratefully. Hazel pulled her protesting half-brother onto her lap and she hugged his middle tightly. I may not notice a lot of things, but through all the spluttering and muttered curses, Nico's eyes told everyone he was secretly happy his sister showed her affection for him. Ron gave the son of Hades a light noogie and Jason laughed so much he fell onto Piper.
Harry and Hermione sat down on the floor in front of the fire.
"That wretched hag," the Gryffindor brainiac spat. "We're not learning magic, we're not learning how to defend ourselves, she's taking over the entire school, and her new form of detention is to get a laugh out of students facing their worst fear!"
Her fuming face was red with anger and Harry slowly stood up, offering a hand. Hermione grabbed it and he pulled her to her feet. Then Harry held out his arms.
"Here you go," he said casually. "Let it out."
Hermione gave him a half furious, half confused look.
"I think he wants you to hit him," Leo pointed out from where he sat in the fire, fiddling with something that was practically melting in his hands. "You know, loose anger. We do it all the time."
"And you nearly kill each other!" Hermione spluttered. Harry rolled his eyes, smiling lightly.
"Come on, 'Mione," he said. "Just a few punches and you'll feel better."
We all were used to this kind of thing, and I felt Harry was a good friend for letting Hermione hit him so she'd feel better. I expected a couple of small punches, maybe getting Harry winded, before she calmed down.
What actually happened was the Boy Who Lived flew across the room and crashed into the couch at my feet.
Annabeth pulled her legs up out from underneath the breathless wizard and I couldn't really help it. I laughed. Ron just went slack-jawed, staring at Hermione in awe and horror.
"Oh, dude…!" I giggled. "I did so not see that coming!"
Annabeth hit my shoulder.
"Seaweed Brain," she said sternly, "Hermione is my friend."
Harry coughed on the ground and weakly put his glasses back on the right way.
"That… explains it," he gasped, gripped his shirt. "Blimey, Hermione."
Hermione was blushing, embarrassed, as she rushed over to help.
"I am so sorry!" she apologised. "I just- that never happened before! Annabeth's just been showing me some things. I'm sorry, Harry!"
Harry slumped upwards, resting his spine against the base of the couch. Hermione looked mortified at what she'd done. Jason shoved a pillow over his face so he didn't laugh too loud. Leo didn't even bother.
"You better be feeling mellow," Harry huffed. "I will never be your punching bag again!"
Hermione stuttered for a moment before rolling her eyes and standing up. Harry got to his feet too.
"Ron, do you wanna maybe…?" Harry made a 'close your mouth' sign with his hand and Ron pushed his jaw up so it popped shut.
We relaxed again, Hermione looking far better than before, and Harry massaging his chest. Ron had chosen to sit beside Harry.
"But I wonder…" Hermione started, "we could make this a thing."
We looked at her blankly. She sighed and looked at Annabeth.
"Well Annabeth and I were talking the other day," she began, "and we were talking about starting a Defence Club, because we're not learning anything from Umbridge. And with Voldemort on the loose… we've got to be able to defend ourselves."
Harry nodded from where he sat.
"Yeah, yeah, sounds good," he agreed, rubbing the back of his scarred hand absently.
"And we were thinking maybe you should lead it Harry."
"Yeah, yeah- wait, no!"
Annabeth chuckled and rolled her eyes, relaxing back onto my chest.
"With Percy too, Harry," she assured, "you'll be co-captains, and the rest of us can be assistants or some such."
There was silence for a moment before Nico spoke up. He was still being cradled by Hazel.
"It's a good idea, Granger," he said quietly. "And if Potter agrees, he and Percy will have an army of well-trained teens ready for when Voldemort comes looking for you."
I looked at Nico, confused.
"You do mean me or Harry?" I asked. "Because that context kind of implied-"
"Both of you."
I jumped. Out of my chair. And landed on the floor. Everyone whipped around to see who had spoken and a couple more bums hit the carpet as we realised who it was. Hazel gently picked Nico up off her lap and stood.
"Lady Hecate," she said formally, "hello."
Hecate dipped her head slightly. Her robes were deep purple, falling around her like a cocoon, and her hair was in a long, thick braid down her back. For a goddess, she looked surprisingly like McGonagall might if she didn't wear a bun.
"Greetings, Hazel Levesque," she said, her voice soft. "I'm assuming you know why I'm here?"
Before Hazel could reply, I got off the ground and looked at the goddess.
"What'd you mean, both of us?"
Hecate moved her eyes to gaze at me.
"I mean exactly what I said," she replied. "Tom Riddle has taken quite an interest in you, brave demigods. In particular though, you, Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon."
I clenched my fists. There was a whole long list of megalomaniacal power-playing murderers who wanted to 'change the world' that were after me. Either to kill me or get me to join them.
"Well you can tell him from me to shove his pointy magic wand up his-"
"Percy!" Annabeth hissed. "Shut up."
Hecate was looking at me curiously.
"I am in need of Hazel's assistance," she said, randomly changing the subject. "She will not be gone long, but until her return Percy Jackson, I advise you to keep your friends under the radar of Lord Voldemort's followers. He is not picky on whom he acquires, and while he dearly desires your power on his side, he would be quite happy with any one of you." She raked her gaze across the room before it landed on Harry.
"Harry Potter," she addressed, and he hastily stood up. "You have a difficult time ahead of you, young wizard. It would do will for you to have words with Nico di Angelo."
Her eyes flicked to the pale son of Hades.
"Remember the rules, Shadow Prince," she advised. "The soul who has cheated death will cheat it again until it is one. But that does not mean you cannot use what you have to your advantage."
Nico nodded his head, looking slightly mystified. Then Hecate turned to Hermione.
"Hermione Granger. Two of my fellow Olympians have their sights upon you. I trust you to make the right choice when it comes to your heart."
Hecate gave Ron a lasting look.
"You will assist her, Ronald Weasley," she ordered. "It will be up to you which goddess claims your friend."
"You don't mean claims as in takes, right?"
Hecate simply turned away and walked to Hazel. The goddess put out her hand and Hazel obediently laid hers on top.
"We'll meet again, my warriors," she said. "Though the crossroads lead many ways, they all end in a choice."
And with that little bit of fortune-cookie dialect, Hecate whipped out of existence, taking Hazel with her. Frank slumped on the couch, accidentally catching Nico's eye. The son of Hades scooted away, his face blank.
"Don't even think about it, Zhang," he warned, and Frank raised his eyebrows.
Leo piped up from where he was smouldering in the fire.
"He means just because you miss your little huggle-bunny of death doesn't mean Nico's going to become your new one."
Frank blazed crimson and probably would have attacked Leo had he not been sitting in a burning hearth. Nico rolled his eyes and clicked his fingers. Shadows swamped the fire place and doused the flames licking around Leo, leaving the son of Hephaestus sitting in a coal-ridden hole in the wall. Frank marched over and lifted him out like a rag doll. Leo put up his hands, his face uneasy.
"No need to get hasty, Zhang," he said. "Don't want to do something you'll regret."
We went to bed that night when everyone else came up from dinner. We planned to spread the word about the Defence Club to anyone who could be trusted to keep it zipped, and even started a syllabus as to what we were going to teach.
Frank ended up leaving Leo outside the porthole until someone let him in. Leo didn't know the password, so he had to wait for everyone to come back from the Great Hall. The next morning Frank found all his shirts had Team Leo! written on them in permanent ink and even embodied into his robes. Frank pulled what was being referred to as a 'Nico' and went to breakfast in his own clothes.
Hermione, Ron and Harry got to work on spreading the word among the Gryffindor's about the Defence Club. Everyone interested had to meet them at some place called the Hog's Head at the next Hogsmeade weekend. I asked them if everything here was pig-related. Annabeth hit me.
We did find out one good thing though: Umbridge had banned us from her classes. So we got to play hooky for two periods.
We were all thinking about Hazel throughout the day though, hoping she was doing alright in whatever it was Hecate needed her for.
I'm updating early for Percy's birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY SEAWEED BRAIN!
And I just can't even, guys. I can't even. I never EVER thought ANYTHING I wrote would get 1000 reviews! I mean, just Holy Hades people! Do you want to kill me? Did you know this is the SIXTH MOST REVIEWED STORY IN THE ENTIRE COMPILATION OF HARRY POTTER/PERCY JACKSON STORIES! I'M FREAKING OUT HERE OF JUST WOWNESS! THANK YOU ALL!
Until the next time!