Colin halted for a minute, glancing over at Seth.
“Thanks,” Colin murmured, and then skedaddled out of the room.
I sighed. “You love messing with him, don’t you?”
“Is answering that question honestly going to get me in trouble?”
I stared at him.
Seth grinned, but it quickly faded. “I’m sorry you had to see that girl.”
“I’m sorry it happened to her. She was young, Seth. She just started going here and…this is how it ends for her. Why? Because she was a half-blood?” Disgust rolled through me. “It isn’t right.”
“No,” he said quietly. “It’s not.”
And I still had to tell him about the demigod. “What happened to her isn’t the only thing. Luke and Deacon think they’ve figured out who the last demigod is.”
Tiredness settled into his features. “Am I going to want to hear this?”
“Then pull it off like a Band-Aid.”
I scooted to the edge of the couch. “They think it’s Ares’s son.”
Seth’s brows lifted. A moment passed. “You’re shitting me?”
“No. I’m not.”
“Why? Why do they think this?”
“There have been a lot of fights in the town he lives in. Like way too many, and they think it’s his presence. Take Cora, for example. Even though her abilities haven’t been unlocked, she was able to bring back dead plants.” I paused, remembering what happened today. “Oh, and by the way, she can tell when someone is sick or pregnant. Luke and Deacon and Gable now know.”
Seth stared at me.
“She didn’t mean to do it. She looked at me and saw that I was pregnant, and kind of blurted it out.” I shrugged. “Kind of freaky if you think about it.”
He gave a little shake of his head. “All righty then. Hell, I don’t know what to think.” Pushing away from the counter, he walked over to the couch and sat next to me. “I don’t care about them knowing. The other stuff? Strange how the dead still have a way of screwing things up.” His head fell back and his gaze slid to me. “I’m guessing Alex heard about the demigod. How did she take it?”
“It freaked her out a little.” Shifting toward him, I drew one leg up onto the couch. “I don’t think she was expecting that.”
Seth closed his eyes. At that moment, he looked so incredibly young. Dirty. But young. There was a vulnerability in the lines of his face that I knew he didn’t let anyone else see.
“I can’t say I’m surprised,” he said after a moment. “I mean, it’s like fate just keeps on screwing with everyone for shits and giggles.”
My gaze dropped to his ruined shirt. “I’m sure Aiden or Marcus or someone is going to want to talk to you about Ares, but before then, what…what happened today? I know you saw Zeus. Aiden said so. Did you two…fight?”
Rolling his lower lip between his teeth, he turned his head away from me. “We didn’t fight.”
Shock rendered me speechless for several moments. “You didn’t?”
“Sounds unbelievable, but it’s true. Zeus didn’t even attempt to go at me.”
I leaned forward. “And you?”
“I didn’t try anything. He wanted to talk.”
My brows furrowed. “But then why do you look like you went toe to toe with a pile of dirt?”
The quick twist of his lips was good. “That came after Zeus left.”
Reaching out, I poked his thigh. “You’re going to have to give more detail.”
His chest rose with a heavy breath. “Have you seen the news today?”
That wasn’t a question I was expecting. “No, I haven’t. Why?”
A second went by and Seth opened his eyes. “Zeus just wanted to talk. Well, it was more like he wanted to give advice, and I saw some things.”
None of that was making sense. “What did you see?”
A muscle worked along his jaw, and I began to get really, really worried. “Death. A lot of unnecessary, preventable death.”
I stilled. “What…do you mean?”
“Tethys caused a tsunami and destroyed Long Beach,” he said, and my breath caught. “She was apparently angry over Hyperion getting killed, so she absolutely destroyed the area. Killed hundreds, if not more. That was what Zeus showed me.”
I opened my mouth, but I was once again struck silent.
Seth lowered his head and looked over at me. “I know I didn’t kill those people myself, but my actions caused their deaths. Some of them…they were kids, Josie. I pulled children out of broken and half-washed-away homes.”
Sucking in a sharp breath, all I could do was stare.
“I know I didn’t do that to them, but I caused that and I…” He exhaled roughly. “Zeus said something to me that was so damn right.”
“What?” I whispered.
“He said I didn’t want to follow in their footsteps, and I don’t. They’ve spent thousands of years screwing things up by acting selfish or rash.” His haunted gaze held mine. “And I did the same thing.”
I stiffened. “Seth—”
“I did, Josie. We can all be honest here. With Atlas, I get a pass. I reacted right then and there, having no idea what I was at that time. I wasn’t in the…right mind, but Hyperion? I knew what I was doing. I was getting revenge. I’m man enough to admit that. And the most messed up thing? I still don’t regret killing him. I regret what my actions have caused, but I…” Leaning forward, he folded his hands under his chin and stared straight ahead. “Zeus knows you’re pregnant.”
I gasped. “Is that bad? That sounds bad.”
“I don’t think it is. I don’t think he wants to cause either of us harm. At least not right now,” he added, and I wasn’t sure if I should feel relief or not. “And he asked me a question, Josie. He asked me if this was a world I wanted to bring a child into.”
Closing my eyes, I sank into the couch. That was a horrible question to pose to Seth after showing him what Tethys had done because of Hyperion’s death.
“And I don’t want to bring our child into a world like that, but most importantly I don’t want our child to grow up and have to learn what I’ve done. Who I am.”
My eyes flew up. “You’re an amazing—”
“I’ve done a lot of bad, Josie.” He was still looking at me, his pupils slightly dilated. “A lot of bad shit, and I wanted to be better for you. Killing Hyperion may make you safer, but it didn’t make me better.”
“I know you have done bad stuff, but that isn’t the sum of who you are.” My heart was cracking for him. “You are making amends. You have made amends. You’re not a bad person, and I know, without a doubt, that our child will never be ashamed of who his father is.”
His throat worked on a visible swallow and when he spoke, his voice was hoarse. “I want that to be true. I need that to be true.”
Tears scalded the back of my throat as I rose. Seth opened his arms, and I didn’t care that he was dirty and covered with God knew what. I clambered into his lap, wriggling my arms behind him. He folded one hand behind my head, his fingers curling through my hair. He tugged me tight against his chest, so close I could feel his heart pounding. A deep shudder rolled through him, and my breath caught.
I wanted nothing more than to make him feel better, but how could I? What could I say? Any niceties would just be lies, and Seth would know that. No matter what, his actions had caused what happened in Long Beach and in L.A., and even if it was indirectly, it didn’t matter.
Actions had reactions, and he knew this.
It was something he was going to have to live with. All I could do was lessen what I knew he was already doing to himself. All I could do was help him.
I kissed his dirty cheek and then his sweat-covered brow. Tears dampened my eyelashes as he tilted his head up and I brought my lips to his, kissing him deeply as I dragged my hands free from behind his back. I clasped his cheeks.