"And why should we trust you?” Octavian’s voice rang out in the silence, over the heads of the crowd who started murmuring.
"What?" Jason clenched his fist, "Why would you even-"
"He’s right," another voice, Nico recalled her face as belonging to Cabin 10 at Camp Half Blood, "Why should we trust him? He never talks to anyone, he never trains with us, besides, he’s-"
"He’s what?” I dare you to say anything was the unspoken sentiment. The Aphrodite girl hesitated under Jason’s glare, “Well-“
There were whispers around the room, and it seemed that most people agreed with Octavian and the unnamed girl. Words like “creepy” “has no friends” “just weird” could be heard. Octavian was smirking, “Well? Why should we trust him? We don’t know where A son of Pluto’s loyalties are, do we? Especially considering the circumstances-“
"Why you little-"
"Jason." The room fell silent again as Nico spoke, his voice eerily calm and quiet, he looked directly at Octavian. "No one says you have to trust me. I’m not forcing you all into anything, OK? If you don’t feel safe working with a child of Hades then you can leave. No one is stopping you. But I’m your best bet, and I’ll trust you to trust me. My father is trying to stop this as much as any of the other gods, he’s…we’re not the bad guys right now! So, I’m going to go fight, and try to make this right and fix whatever is broken. If you all want to stay here and wait it out, that’s fine. But I’m going…and if anyone anyone hurts any of my…of my friends, well, then they’ll answer to me, too.” Nico flushed slightly when he noticed everyone was just staring at him in stunned silence. “Well, that’s it. I’m going.”
"I’m going to." Jason squeezed Nico’s shoulder, "I won’t let you fight alone. They’re my friends, too."
"Mine too," Piper stepped forward and took Jason’s other hand, face set in determination, "Tell me what I can do, Nico."
"You’re in charge, man." Frank grinned awkwardly, but stood beside his friends, "Besides, I’m going to find Hazel no matter what."
"Like hell we’re backing down from a fight! No way are you guys getting all the glory! They’re just zombies, how tough can it be? Cabin 5 is fighting!" Nico stared at Clarisse, who had stepped up and was glaring at the assembled crowd, daring them to argue. She turned to Nico, "We’re not friends, and I don’t exactly trust you and I can probably crush you with my index finger, but you ARE our best bet for figuring out how to bury these zombie guys once and for all. You can raise ‘em, so you can put them back, right?"
Nico blinked and nodded, not sure what to make of Clarisse’s words, “Well there you have it! Anyone who stays behind is a coward!” Her cabinmates cheered, and other demigods stepped up to join the group.
Octavian glared from his place in the back. This was not according to plan.