So... I bet you all hate me, right? If I told you that high school was a bitch, would you believe me?

I doubt it, but I tried.

Seriously, though, sophomore year was like a slap in the face. And to add to that, I've been working on a novel that I hope gets published sometime-ish. BTW, does anyone know a website that I can upload my progress on it so people can give me feedback? That would be fabulous.

On a different note, I still have to finish Hidden (which was supposed to have been finished in AUGUST), and this monster... I don't know. I promise I won't give up on this, but it's taking much longer than I planned.

NOTE!: Maybe I should mention this now: disregard Nico's characterization in HoH. That just annoyed me. And I started this story long before HoH came out, so I already had the characters set in my mind.

Disclaimer: If these two amazing series belonged to me, I would not have to deal with something called English class.

Chapter 22: What Happens In Secret Rooms

Nico POV

The rest of the holidays passed without many incidents. The cover story for camp must have passed inspection, because Harry and his friends stopped "discreetly" questioning us every other hour. Instead, everyone in Number 12 Grimmauld Place focused on the recovery of Mr. Weasley and protecting... whatever they had been protecting before the whole Harry/snake/Mr. Weasley incident.

Percy must have talked to Harry about Dumbledore's Army, because at one point Harry walked up to me and told me I was more than welcome to join them whenever I wanted.

But all of Percy's problems aside, I had problems of my own. For example: why did Percy and I dream about the snake attack? Or, why was Logan watching me sleep (because that's not creepy at all)? Oh, and why did I get the feeling that Kiana's relation to Hazel was significant in some way?

The Slytherin House may seem cold and stuck up on the outside, but it is made up of rings of secrets and friendships and gods damned mysteries that nobody seems to want to solve. Gryffindor is brave, Ravenclaw is smart, Hufflepuff is... loyal, and what is Slytherin? The back-stabbing bad guys? Only to a certain extent. After my fist week or so in there, people became more open, and I became privy to many goings-on that the other houses don't know about.

In some ways, its fun to know more than Annabeth.

When we got back to Hogwarts, Alec and Patrick were playing a game of wizard chess on the floor of our dorm, and Logan was sitting on his bed, reading a book. The three looked up when I walked in.

"Hey, mate," Patrick grinned. I mock-saluted him and threw my bag onto my bed.

"How was your vacation?" Alec asked, focusing on his next move.

I shrugged. "It was alright. About as normal as it can get when you spend it with your cousins."

"Where'd you go?" Patrick asked curiously.

"London," I said briefly, turning back to my bag to begin unpacking. I noticed that Logan hadn't said anything, but I didn't say anything. After if threw the last pair of socks into my drawer, I announced that I was going to go for a walk.

"Would anyone like to join me?" I threw the question out, hoping I would receive the answered I'd planned.

I got two 'no's from Patrick and Alec, as I'd planned. They were too involved in their chess game. From what I could tell, Patrick was about three moves away from winning, and Alec was two moves away from throwing a tantrum.

"I think I will, actually," Logan spoke up, snapping his book shut. That was what I was looking for. He had understood the unspoken message I'd sent through the invite.

We needed to talk.

Logan followed me out of the room and the common room. We didn't speak until we reached the fourth floor.

"In here," I muttered, nodding at the door in front of me. It looked like a normal classroom door, but after four months of exploring the castle at night, I discovered it to be a secret passage in actuality. Logan obliged and calmly followed me down the corridor and into the private library. The books lining the walls were from various centuries, but the latest publication date was 1869.

"Alright," Logan said, rounding on me after a moment of flabbergasted silence. "What in Merlin's name is going on?"

"I was going to ask you that," I replied coldly, crossing my arms. We glared at each other.

"Something isn't right here," Logan started, blue eyes cutting like icy fire.

I snorted. "You can say that again, I muttered.

Logan continued as if he hadn't heard my comment. "You disappear at night. You are constantly having hush-hush conversations with your 'cousins', of they even are your cousins. You can do dark magic that I've never even seen. I've seen you go into the Forbidden Forest in the middle of night without your wand. And the whole thing with Kiana in the beginning of the year? What was that about? Don't think I didn't notice how you reacted to her mention of Hazel."

I raised an eyebrow. "Oh? Well what about the fact that I wake up and you are just watching me? You think that's not creepy?"

"Maybe I'm watching you because you always disappear at night. How the hell did you find this place, anyway?" Logan took a minute to glance around at the books again.

"Because I like having private time. And I can't do that when you are staring at me like a piece of meat, Alec is trying to beat the record for most words spoken at once, and Patrick is trying to get me to play a game of wizard chess." Then the full force of Logan's accusations hit me, like a train. "Wait, you think I'm lying about Percy and Thalia being my cousins?"

Logan cocked his head. "It makes for a good excuse to talk to them."

"Logan!" I exploded. "Do you even hear the conversations we have? It's not like we have a secret code to send information. Besides, what information do you think we'd be giving each other?"

"How about that foreign language you talk in when you don't want people to hear what you're saying? You could be trading secrets about... I don't know! Something that would threaten the safety of us?!"

I sent him a deadpan look. "We're not terrorists. We are Americans. Well, for the most part."

Logan motioned to me again. "See? There it is again. You give these half-answers. So do Jackson, Chase, and Thalia. It's like you have something to hide."

"Maybe we do," I retorted slowly. "Maybe we don't want the whole world hearing what we say."

"But what could you possibly discuss that other people can't hear? That you need to talk in a different language out of precaution? People are suspicious of you four. You just come out of nowhere. The Headmaster tells us that you're transfer students from America, but you never, ever talk about your old school. Or anything about America in general. I barely know anything about you."

I glowered at him. I knew that spinning him the same story about CHB wouldn't pass. He didn't want any stories right now. He just wanted to rant, and understand what was going on. I snorted. "You think we haven't noticed? We've had Weasley, Granger, and Potter stalking us everywhere. They thinkā€”I don't even know what they think. So of course we're not going to start sharing everything with the students of Hogwarts."

Logan's eyes narrowed. "Whenever you're angry, your eyes go all dark. It's unnerving. It's not human."

"What exactly are you implying?" I grounded out each word. "That I'm not fucking human?"

He took a step back. "I didn't say that. What I'm saying is that when you get angry, you act strangely."

"Oh, so now I can't get angry? And I'm not allowed to have a private conversation with my cousin? And I can't have any privacy? What is this, 1984?"

"What?"

I shook my head and broke eye contact with him, staring at the book shelves to my right for a long minute. When I had calmed down a bit, I turned back to Logan.

"What do you want to know?" I asked wearily.

"Everything."

I sighed. "Do you believe that Voldemort is back?"

Logan's brow furrowed. "What-"

"It's a simple question. You're smart. Do you think that Cedric Diggory was killed by Harry Potter or Voldemort?"

"I... I suppose You-Know-Who. It's hard to believe that he is back, though. But what has that got to do with anything?"

"Next question," I said, ignoring Logan. "Do you think that dreams can hold meaning, or be premonitions?"

"No, not really."

I took a step towards him to get the point across. "A while ago, Percy Jackson, my cousin, had a dream about Kiana's ancestors. I hadn't told him about her at all. What he dreamed about actually happened over a hundred years ago. Lately, whenever I try to sleep, I get dreams. Nightmares, more like. With increasing consistency, they have included Voldemort. I don't doubt my dreams, because they have never been wrong before. We're on the same side here. We can't fight about small things, like my habits. If we have any chance of getting rid of Voldemort, we can't doubt each other. We have to be able to cooperate."

"What makes you think I don't support You-Know-Who?"

"Because I know you aren't stupid." I smiled a little. "Besides, you and Malfoy don't get along at all." Logan smiled a bit as well. "So are you in?"

Logan nodded. "I don't question you, and the world lives happily ever after."

"In a nutshell." We started walking back to the fourth floor corridor.

"But how do you expect to defeat-"

"What did I say about trust?"

Annabeth POV

I shot up in bed, panting heavily. Sweat covered my body, making the sheets tangled around my body wet. Nobody had woken up, which I was grateful for.

I stared up at the starry ceiling of my dorm as I caught my breath.

It had happened again.

The Nightmare.

I'd had it nearly every night since the beginning of December, but whenever I try to remember it, the scenes slide away like somebody tipped my head over and all the memories poured out like olive oil. A few fragments stayed, but not enough to put them together and figure out the gist of the dream. It was driving me crazy.

I hadn't told any of the others about the Nightmare. It's not like they could help me if I couldn't even remember what it was about. All I knew was that the events were terrifying enough to make me wake up sweating like a pig every. Damned. Night.

I slipped out of my bed and quietly opened the door. Once I made it outside of the room, I silently walked to the girl's bathroom. It was the middle of the night, so all of the showers were available. I slipped into the last one and turned on the water, fully clothed. I closed my eyes and let the water wash away the sweat and terror. The fragments, even fewer than three minutes ago, flashed vividly against my eyelids, like an old-fashioned projector screen.

Flashes of red and green.

Blood pooling on the ground in front of me.

Percy's face, full of concern and worry.

When I felt that I had stood under the water long enough, I got out of the shower and stood in front of the sink, looking into the mirror.

Suddenly, the face in the mirror changed, and I found myself staring at a long, pale face. The nose was simply two slits in the skin, and the eyes were red. I stared at the eyes, gripping the edge of the sink. The red of the eyes filled the mirror, then the mirror cracked. I ducked under the sink to avoid the falling shards.

I closed my eyes and sent a little prayer to my mom. When I reopened my eyes and stood up, the mirror was perfectly normal, like it had never been broken.

Hm... I wasn't expecting this chapter to take such a turn. The argument took a life of its own, I just followed along, nodding and smiling.

Does this make up for my prolonged absence?

Review PLEASE! :D

-Silver out.