Colt watched Thalia disappear around the hall's corner, his mouth dropping open. He couldn't recall her ever having used that tone of voice with him before. He turned back to William, glowering at the wide-eyed boy. "Well done. Now she is upset with both of us."
"What?" William replied, eyebrows still up as he brought his gaze back to Colt's rough vicinity.
"It's your fault she's mad at me."
"It's…It's not my fault! You started it!"
Colt snorted and tossed his head. "I did nothing of the sort. Only protected Thalia from your advances."
"My advances? Coming from the invisible guy who's probably been spying on her for weeks? I'm sorely tempted to go tell those Builder bastards exactly where you are. If anyone deserves them, it's you."
"If you do that, you'll be putting Thalia in unnecessary danger, you fool! Or are you so concerned with your own pride that you're willing to sacrifice her?"
William took a step closer, glaring. "Thalia is one of the most important people in the world to me. I'm not about to let anything happen to her. That includes some invisible asshole doing anything to her."
"Just like a child, use empty threats to try and cow your rivals."
"Well if you're as old and experienced as you seem to think you are, then how come Thalia's mad at you as well, huh? Or have you been lying to everyone this whole time?"
Colt froze, mouth half open to reply, William's words echoing in his mind. He thought them through, his silence seeming to startle William, since the boy didn't say another word, just kept glaring at Colt's general area. Finally he bowed his head. "You are quite correct. I am far too old not to know better. I fear my emotions got the better of me. My bad."
Now William went still, his only movement the rapid blinking of his eyes. "I…I guess I'm as guilty as you are," he said, after a few moments of silence.
"Then, shall we declare a truce? I think we both want to keep Thalia safe. That's at least some common ground we can work with."
"I can agree to that."
"We'll shake on it."
William started to move his hand, then stopped, frowning. "But you're a ghost."
"As I've said, more than once, I'm not a ghost," Colt growled, moving forward and grabbing the boy's hand and shaking it. "Now, let's go find Thalia. I think we have a lot to discuss. And I'd rather not have her mad at me for the whole day."
"Hmph," William said, crossing his arms once Colt let go of him. "She's probably in the old green house on the roof. She always hides out there when she's in a bad mood. We'll have to be careful though. No one's supposed to go up there, and if we're caught in the halls outside of class…"
Colt chuckled. "I can go ahead to see that the way's clear. Being invisible has its uses."
"Lead the way then."
"I don't know where the greenhouse is. Thalia's not been there in the few weeks we've been talking."
William smirked. "Clearly you don't know her as well as you think."
Colt hissed. "We have a truce, boy. Don't make me break it so soon."
Thalia's cousin shrugged, smug smile still in place. "The staircase is in the third floor's east hallway, through the old meeting room. That's the door between the bathroom and the lockers there. You do know what a locker is, right?"
"There have been lockers, of some form or another, since well before your great-grandfather was born, boy," Colt said, starting off.
"I have a name you know," William replied, following.
"And when you prove yourself to be more than a boy, I'll use it."
He muttered something Colt couldn't hear so he let it slide. It helped they'd reached one of the main halls of the school, which, though empty at the moment, they couldn't trust to remain so. Colt moved a bit farther ahead, checking around corners and at the classroom doors' windows, making sure that no one was looking out or about to come into the hall and spot William. As much as he'd have liked to get the boy in trouble, he knew that would only further aggravate Thalia.
They didn't meet another soul, not entirely surprising since there was another twenty minutes left of second period left. When they finally reached the door, Colt dropped back, letting William go first as he kept an eye on what was happening in the hall. And if a small part of him pointed out that this way William would be the first to dare Thalia wrath, he wasn't displeased with the notion.
When they finally reached the top of the stairs, Colt had to take a look around. Clear plastic sheeting made up the walls and ceiling of the concrete floored greenhouse. A few shards of broken red pottery were in one corner along with a small pile of dirt. But other than that, the whole place was empty, except for Thalia.
She turned at the sound of their footsteps behind her. Her eyes were cool as she looked William over, a frown pulling her lips down. "Are you both here? To talk like adults?"
"I am," Colt said, before William had a chance to answer.
After glaring briefly in his direction, the boy replied "I'm ready."
Thalia nodded. "Then you might as well sit down. This may take a while."