Finding my pants on the floor, I pulled them on and then made my way out to the sitting area. I opened the door and found Aiden standing there.
“Well, apparently you guys made it back here.”
“Yeah, obviously,” he said as I stepped out into the hall, closing the door behind me. “Is everything okay with Josie?”
“She’s okay.” I dragged a hand through my hair, shoving it out of my face. “There was an incident here.” I told Aiden about what had happened with the pures and with Colin. “Josie is fine, though. Turned out to be a pulled muscle.”
“Damn.” Aiden bowed his head as he placed his hands on his hips. “Colin seemed like a good guy.”
I made some sort of noise of agreement.
“This crap with the pures is the last thing we need.”
“No doubt. So, did Apollo bring you guys back?”
Aiden nodded. “Yeah, he managed to, uh, convince Erik that it would be a very wise choice for him to come with us.”
Leaning against the wall, I crossed my arms. “I don’t know how I feel about him being here. I know he can’t be out there, not where the Titans can find him, but I also don’t like the idea of him roaming around. We have enough problems without an untapped demigod who might be pissed off about being here.”
“Agreed. He’s currently on the second floor, under Luke’s watchful eye. We put Erik near Deacon and Luke.” Aiden glanced down the hall. “Alex went to see if Marcus was still up, but I guess, considering everything that just went down, she’s going to be gone a while.”
Aiden focused on me. “That’s not the only reason why I’m here.”
I was still leaning against the wall, but every muscle tensed.
“Apollo wants to see you.”
My jaw clenched, and a moment passed before I could trust myself to even respond. “Does he now?”
“Yeah,” Aiden gruffed.
“He’s obviously not here. I don’t feel him.”
“Well, I’m guessing he’s coming back. Said to have you meet him in my room.”
My molars were starting to ache. “Now, I find this strange. He’s never had any problem just popping into my rooms, no matter what I’m doing. Hell, he usually takes great pleasure in that.”
“Yeah, I find that strange too.”
Looking away, I shook my head. The fucker was avoiding Josie. I pushed off the wall. “Let’s go.”
Aiden sighed. “This should be fun.”
Damn straight it was going to be just fucking dandy. I prowled down the hall, and the moment Aiden opened the door and I stepped in, a fissure of energy rolled down my spine. The glyphs bled through, swirling over my skin.
Apollo appeared in front of me, in the center of shimmering lights, in all his golden glory. The moment he became visible, I slammed my fist into the fucker’s jaw.
“Gods,” Aiden stepped back and to the side as Apollo’s head snapped back.
Apollo turned his head back to me, his all-white eyes narrowed as he rubbed his jaw. “Was that necessary?”
“Not really, but it made me feel so fucking good.”
Apollo dropped his hand. “I see some things never change.”
“Yeah, ditto, fucker.” I stepped up, going toe to toe with him. “Because I see you’re still doing the ‘played-out absentee father’ thing.”
The sun god’s nostrils flared. “You should go do something, Aiden.”
“Sounds like a plan.” Aiden backed up to the door. “I think I’ll go see if Alex is with Marcus.”
I didn’t acknowledge any of that. All I heard was the door close behind Aiden. “You don’t want Aiden to be here when we talk about how your daughter calls out to you, time and fucking time again, and you never answer?”
“I’m here because of my daughter,” Apollo growled, and he took a visible step back from me. “I told you once before, boy. Don’t even begin to think you know what I would do for her or have done—”
“I don’t give a flying fuck what you think you’ve done or are doing for her.” Anger flowed through me like lava. “You obviously know she’s pregnant. You obviously know that she needs you in her life.” The last part nearly killed me to admit, but it had to be said. “And you’re not there.”
Apollo turned from me, and without saying a word he walked to the couch and sat. Several moments passed as he stared straight ahead, as if he were focusing on something only he could see. “Is the baby okay?”
I curled my hands into fists and strived for patience I didn’t have. “The baby is okay.”
He closed his eyes. “I could…feel her panic earlier. I knew it had to do with the baby. That was why I came for you.”
“Great. Glad you did that so I could be there for her, but that doesn’t answer why you didn’t go to her yourself.”
Opening his eyes, he looked at me. They were somewhat normal. The same vibrant shade of blue as Josie’s. “You don’t understand.”
“No shit. I don’t understand. The furies were unleashed, Apollo. You do know they could’ve seriously injured her. Possibly killed her.” I stepped toward him. “She watched one of her friends die. So, yeah, I don’t understand why you didn’t step in.”
“It’s not as easy as you think it is.” He turned his head. “I know she was calling for me this morning. She wanted to know how the demigods’ abilities can now be unlocked.”
“You have the answer to this?” I demanded. “One that you couldn’t tell her yourself?”
“I’m telling you.” Apollo’s glacial gaze met mine. “The demigods’ abilities cannot be unlocked now. They cannot fight the Titans.”
There was a good part of me that was sure I had not heard Apollo correctly. I needed him to repeat himself.
“The demigods’ abilities cannot be unlocked. There needed to be six of them for that to happen naturally. Now, as you’ve probably guessed, some of their abilities began to take shape when Josie became a demigod, but as far as them being able to control the elements or harness akasha, they would need to be fully unbound and that will not happen.”
I stared at him for a good minute before I could find the words. “Why not? There has to be… Wait.” I barked out a harsh laugh. “Fuck me with a rusted fork, I get it.”
Apollo’s brows lifted. “The image you just provided me was something I could’ve lived without ever experiencing.”
I ignored that comment. “What you’re saying is that, for the demigods to have their abilities unlocked, it would require the gods who donated their sperm or their egg to unbind them. That would mean the god would be weakened.” I smirked. “Can’t imagine Poseidon signing up for that.”
The god’s eyes narrowed. “It’s more than just that, Seth. Or have you forgotten that Ares is dead, and therefore cannot unlock his son’s abilities?”
“I haven’t forgotten, but three fully charged demigods is better than one, right?”
“Right,” he agreed coolly. “Do you think I haven’t wished they’d follow my lead? Or that I haven’t asked?”
“I’ve given up on guessing what you may or may not do.”
“I have spoken to them,” Apollo responded.
And I knew without asking what their answers had been. “Then what do we do? Because what other options do we have? Or are you saying that entombing the Titans is hopeless? You do realize they just took over the community in Chicago? You guys do realize they are responsible for what happened there.”
“Yes. We are aware of it.”
“And that’s not enough for them to unlock the demigods? Do you know what they offered me?” Apollo’s jaw locked down, and I had no idea if he knew the deal I’d been offered. “Oceanus wants me to bring them Zeus’s head. I have until some festival at the end of July. If I don’t do it, they will destroy Chicago, and they won’t stop there.”