Josie bit down on her lip. “Well . . .”
“She was going to the cafeteria to get something to eat,” the guy said, standing. He took one look at my face and moved behind the bench, like that would help him if I wanted to do something to him. “I was heading back to my dorm when I saw her. Alone. And with everything going on, I didn’t think it was safe for her to be out here and I . . .” He trailed off, swallowing hard.
“I don’t think I asked you.”
Josie sighed. “Seth.”
“Why don’t you just piss around her?” Solos suggested.
Raising a hand, I flipped him off without looking back at him. “I’m also not talking to you.”
Standing, Josie punched me lightly on the arm. “Knock it off. It’s not a big deal. These two guys were being jerks and one of them threw a ball of fire at Colin.”
“He missed me,” Colin added.
My eyes narrowed.
Josie continued as she grabbed hold of her hair and started twisting it in a thick rope. “Anyway, the one guy started to throw the ball of fire again, and I sort of didn’t think, you know? I kind of just acted.”
And now I knew where this was heading.
“She used the air element,” Marcus explained. “They know she’s not a mortal anymore.”
A muscle began to tick alongside my temple. “Who are they? Besides this guy over here?”
“The two pure-bloods, who Colin was able to identify, have been rounded up, and they will be dealt with for instigating violence,” Marcus stated, his voice even. “You do not need to know who they were.”
I twisted toward him. “Is that so? I’m going to have to disagree.”
“Doesn’t matter what you agree with, Seth.” Marcus paused. “I remember what happened to Jackson after he took training too far. This is my call.”
My lips thinned as the blast from the past slammed into me. I hadn’t thought about Jackson for a long time. Had no idea if that overconfident jackass was even still alive. He had not been a fan of Alex, and during training one day he literally stomped her in the ribs. I’d paid him back for that. Ten-fold.
“Jackson?” murmured Josie.
I shook my head. That wasn’t something she needed to know about me. Hell, she already knew enough bad shit about me.
My gaze met Colin’s. He held it for a moment and then lowered his. He knew who the two punks were, and I had a feeling he’d be more than happy to tell me. I was going to have a little chat with him later. “So, they know you’re a demigod then?”
She nodded. “Sorry?”
“You don’t need to apologize.” I curled my hand around the nape of her neck and squeezed gently. “You defended yourself. You did the right thing.”
“Agreed,” Marcus stated. “No one was injured. If anything, she scared the two boys.”
Her lips twitched at that.
“It’s going to get out, probably very fast.” Marcus shifted his weight as he lifted his chin. “This was bound to happen, and I don’t think it’s going to cause many problems. If anything, it will keep the foolish ones away from her.”
That much was true, but that did mean she would be treated like some kind of prized pony, where everyone would be staring at her. I didn’t want that for her.
“Well, it really isn’t a big deal then?” Solos ran a hand over his head, straightening the knot of hair he’d pulled back from his face. “Here I was thinking she set someone on fire.”
Josie’s lips pursed. “I only almost did that once.”
Behind the bench, Colin’s eyes widened. Good. Josie was hot. Literally. After a few moments, with promises from Colin that he wasn’t going to say anything, everyone split off. Solos went with Marcus to inform him of our scouting, which wasn’t much of anything. There’d been no daimons nearby, but the strangest damn thing was the absolute absence of any animal or bird. That wasn’t exactly normal and we didn’t really know what the hell that meant.
I walked Josie back into her room, and once inside I stripped off the Covenant daggers and the titanium-loaded Glock, placing them on her coffee table.
“Are you really okay?” I asked her, tugging my shirt out of the tactical pants. “And not pretending like something else didn’t happen?”
“I wouldn’t pretend that something didn’t happen.”
Bullshit. Since I woke up in the infirmary after her demigod powers had unlocked, she’d been telling me that she really didn’t remember her time with Hyperion, and I knew that was a lie.
Her nightmares confirmed that.
“Are you okay?” she asked, walking into the bedroom.
She sat down on the bed and toed her shoes off. “Are you okay?” she repeated as she pulled her sweatshirt off, tossing it on the floor.
“Yeah.” I leaned against the doorframe. “Why are you asking that?”
She raised a shoulder. “You were just kind of . . . distant during training and whatnot. Just making sure you’re fine.”
My gaze dipped to where she wiggled her toes. Last night I’d slept in my own room, needing the space to clear my head and get the residual anger out. It hadn’t felt right being with her when I knew I really didn’t care if I killed that kid or not.
Didn’t feel right being here right now.
But this was where I was at, and I didn’t plan on changing that at the moment. Leaving was what a decent person would’ve done.