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( thirteen. )


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JASON WOULD'VE died five times on the way to the front door if not for Leo. It was almost comical how many times he'd managed to hurt himself.

First it was the motion-activated trapdoor on the sidewalk, then the lasers on the steps, then the nerve gas dispenser on the porch railing, the pressure-sensitive poison spikes in the welcome mat, and of course the exploding doorbell.

Leo deactivated all of them. It was like he could smell the traps, and he picked just the right tool out of his belt to disable them.

"You're amazing, man," Jason said.

Leo scowled as he examined the front door lock. "Yeah, amazing," he said. "Can't fix a dragon right, but I'm amazing."

"Leo, none of us can fix a dragon right." Georgia said, but she figured that wasn't exactly helping.

Jason agreed, sort of. "What Georgia means to say is that it wasn't your—"

"Front door's already unlocked," Leo announced.

Piper stared at the door in disbelief. "It is? All those traps, and the door's unlocked?"

Leo turned the knob. The door swung open easily.

"We should check the threshold for—"

He stepped inside without hesitation.

"...Boobytraps." She finished.

Before Jason could follow, Piper caught his arm.

"He's going to need some time to get over Festus. Don't take it personally."

"Yeah," Jason said. "Yeah, okay."

"Piper," he said, "I know I was in a daze back in Chicago, but that stuff about your dad—if he's in trouble, I want to help. I don't care if it's a trap or not."

Her eyes were always different colors, but now they looked shattered, as if she'd seen something she just couldn't cope with. "Jason, you don't know
what you're saying. Please—don't make me feel worse. Come on. We should stick together." She ducked inside.

"Together," Jason said to himself. "Yeah, we're doing great with that."

Georgia sighed. "They both need time. I have a feeling you're better at coping with things like this then they are."

She patted him shoulder comfortingly and walked inside.

The first thing Georgia noticed about the house? It was dark.

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