Hagrid's Hut Isn't Really a Hut
Both Annabeth and I were quiet on our way to Hagrid's Hut, although the man himself kept on chattering. I tried to catch her eyes, but she wouldn't look at me. It made me a bit annoyed; was this really my fault?
The air was a little chilly when we went outside. I could feel Annabeth shuddering. Again, I tried to say something, but she walked ahead of me.
"Where is your house then?" she asked Hagrid.
"Me hut's over there, at the end of the grounds," said Hagrid. "Near the Forbidden Forest. It's just me and me dog Fang…Yeh'll be comfortable, don't worry."
He lived in a hut with a dog. I doubted we'd be comfortable.
"So, this forest," asked Annabeth, "why is it forbidden?"
"Dark and dangerous," answered Hagrid in a low tone. "All sorts o' things livin' in there. Yeh get them unicorns and centaurs and Thestrals, but they come along with werewolves-"
"Centaurs?" said Annabeth and I at the same time.
"As in –" I said quickly, " – those guys with a horse's body?"
"That'd be them," said Hagrid.
Annabeth finally looked at me; her eyes were shining with excitement.
"D'yeh have 'em in yer world, too?" asked Hagrid.
"Uhm…no," replied Annabeth. "We read about them in books. Greek mythology."
"Muggles," said Hagrid thoughtfully. "Well, they're real, and I must warn yeh, don't go wanderin' into that forest. Those centaurs aren't exactly Pygmy Puffs."
"What?" I asked.
"They could harm you," said Hagrid. "Don't much like strangers trespassing their territories, although they don't own the whole of the forest. Serious folks, them centaurs are."
This didn't exactly match with our version of centaurs. Chiron's family was generally referred to as party ponies. Those guys loved to drink crates of beer, rock out to dance music, and were a rowdy and fun-loving group, even during battles. But they were centaurs! They must know Chiron, their creator.
"Here we are," cried Hagrid.
I'd been so lost in my thoughts that I hadn't seen we had reached Hagrid's hut…which looked like a hut. It was a small wooden cabin right at the end of the school grounds, just as Hagrid had said. I could see the forest looming in the front of us – dark, tall, and…well, forbidding.
"Arrgh!" cried Annabeth as a huge dog jumped on her.
"OI!" I shouted, thinking that it was attacking her, but it seemed to be licking her face.
"Fang seems to like yeh," remarked a beaming Hagrid.
"Urrggh! GROSS!" came the reply.
The scene reminded me a little of Mrs. O'Leary, and I was suddenly homesick.
"Get off her, yeh lump," said Hagrid, and Fang left Annabeth and turned his full attention on me. I didn't mind him. I patted him and let him lick me, which seemed to annoy Annabeth for some reason.
"Let's get inside," said Hagrid, and we followed him. 'Inside' consisted of a single room – a kitchen, a few shelves, a huge bed, a table for eating and a back door.
"Er?" I said.
"Oooh!" said Hagrid. "Here."
He went and opened the back door. Both Annabeth and I gasped. Behind the curtain there was a sizeable room with two beds placed on opposite sides, and a bathroom.
"How is this possible?" asked Annabeth.
It was impossible. When we had looked from outside, the cabin had indeed been small, and from the windows on either side of the door, we could clearly see the grounds. There was no way another room would have fit into that space.
"They musta placed a big Extension Charm," said Hagrid. He didn't elaborate. Okay. "Right, the house-elves have put clothes for yeh" – he pointed at the bed where there were indeed spare clothes – " and they mighta bring dinner soon. Hurry up, or Fang'll eat it before you realise what he's doin'."
As soon as Annabeth and I entered, she closed the door and said quietly, "We need to get inside the forest."
I nodded. "But maybe not right now."
"Are you scared, Seaweed Brain?"
"No," I snapped, "but I'm not stupid. It'd be better to do it in daytime. You heard what he said lives in the forest apart from the centaurs?"
She knew I was making sense, but she wouldn't accept it. Instead, she shrugged, picked up her clothes and went inside the bathroom, closing the door with a loud bang.
"It isn't my fault," I muttered angrily, and threw myself on the bed. I tried to gather my thoughts: We were in a world where people could do magic with wands. That alone sounded insane. But then, more than five years ago, I was told I was the son of a Greek god, and that the Oympians were very much alive and kicking.* Did that sound any less crazy?
No, the real mystery was this: How did Annabeth and I get here? Who was responsible for this? From what I could understand, these people were careful about keeping their world hidden from non-magical people. Just like we were back home with the humans. Nothing like this had happened in their school before, so how did we get transported here?
I wanted to talk to my dad. Or Chiron. Or Grover. Anyone who could help me and Annabeth figure out this thing and get us back.
Another thing that scared me was the people who lived here. So far, they seemed okay. I mean they were far more hospitable than the kind of people Annabeth and I usually run into, but they didn't want us hanging around for long. They were also curious about us, and I feared that the other Percy guy who was coming the next day would tell the old dude in the portrait about me mentioning my dad. I had a feeling the old man suspected a lot more than he was letting on.
Annabeth came out of the bathroom looking clean and very nice. She was wearing a pair blue and bronze striped pyjamas and a white T-shirt. I hadn't bothered to check mine. I picked them up – they had red and gold stripes.
"Listen, Annabeth," I began. "I didn't mean to – "
"It's okay, Percy," she said. She didn't look back at me, though. She just left the room. At least she wasn't hissing anymore, I told myself.
When the water hit me, I felt a little more awake. Good. At least that hadn't changed. I let the shower run for a while and tried to clear my mind. The only thing Annabeth and I had in our sleeves was the centaurs in the forest. I hoped that wouldn't turn into the fiasco that happened with the mermen. What if these centaurs had forgotten Chiron, just as the mermen had forgotten Poseidon?
DISCLAIMER: I do not own characters or the premises. They belong to JK Rowling's Harry Potter books, and Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians.
*Taken from the jacket cover of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief
I am sorry for the long gaps between updates. RL is being very mean right now, what with a full time job and college. : ) Hope you like the chapter. Also, Percy getting Gryffindor pyjamas and Annabeth getting Ravenclaw is just me fooling around. :D The house-elves aren't aware of their personalities.