Turning to where she was staring, a strangled laugh crawled up my throat. Leave it to Alex to notice her nearly immediately. “Yeah, that is.”
“Huh.” Alex glanced at me, brows raised, and it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the giant leap she was making. “Interesting.”
Shouts calling for the fights to stop echoed through the quad. Guards and Sentinels rushed in, breaking up the remaining fights. Good to see they had such a sense of urgency in getting their asses over here. A lone Sentinel broke free though, his tall body going rigid.
“Dad!” Alex shrieked and then took off, running at full speed toward the man. He opened up his arms, and she all but tackled him. She face-planted his chest and the older man picked her up off her feet.
Seeing that, yeah, it got me in places I didn’t even know I had. I’d never met my father. Only knew that he was long since dead. Alex grew up thinking that her father had passed when she was a baby, but that hadn’t been the truth. He’d been hidden away at the main Council in the Catskills, and it was only right before Alex and I faced down Ares that she got to finally meet her father.
They had a lot of time to make up for, and I’m sure the last time they were topside hadn’t been enough.
Alex threw her head back and laughed as she grabbed her father’s hand. She all but dragged him over to where Aiden stood with Luke and Deacon. Then, unsurprisingly, Solos was suddenly with them. The whole gang was back together.
Except for all the ones who’d died and didn’t come back as demigods.
Gods, my skin was crawling and not in an unpleasant way, but in a familiar way I’d hoped I wouldn’t experience again, and that could only mean one thing.
Tucking her hair back behind one ear, she glanced over at me. Our eyes met, and I knew she was feeling it too. Oh yeah, that happy little buzz that tasted of aether was there. Shit on shit-covered bricks.
How had I not been paying attention to the time that had elapsed? Oh, right. My mind had been focused on a different girl. I should’ve been prepared for this. Prepared for the very real possibility that we’d . . .
That we’d still be connected.
Had it been too much to hope that wouldn’t be the case?
Scrubbing my hand through my hair, I turned and checked on a pure who was lying facedown. I knelt, checked for a pulse and found one. Pures were notoriously hard to kill, just like with halfs, but it wasn’t impossible. They could be seriously injured. I looked up, seeing the girl who’d been struck by the disc being carried off on a stretcher. A hard-enough knock to the head could still do some damage, just like it would to a mortal.
I rose and immediately my attention focused on Josie. She was still standing where she was, her arms wrapped around her waist as she watched Alex and Aiden. Slowly, her gaze trekked over to me. Her throat worked on a swallow as she pressed her lips together.
My feet were carrying me over to her before I even knew what I was doing. I stopped in front of her. “Are you okay?”
Josie nodded. Her gaze roamed over me and then drifted beyond my shoulder. Her voice was barely above a whisper. “That’s . . . that’s her, isn’t it?”
“Yeah.” I faced the happy little group. Alex was doing some kind of dance with Deacon. My lips twitched. “That’s her.”
She was quiet for a moment. “She’s so beautiful.”
I glanced at her sharply.
“I mean, not that I expected any less,” Josie was quick to add. “It’s just that I . . . I don’t know, I just didn’t know what she looked like. But look at how happy all of them are! It’s . . . I’m rambling, and God, wasn’t all of this just crazy? The fighting? It was like East Side versus West Side. Marcus really has his hands full.” She kept going, a mile a minute. “I hope that girl is okay. Do you think she will be? I mean, that would’ve killed a mortal. Like, dead on arrival kind of dead. And half of them didn’t even seem aware that a freaking door appeared out of nowhere and—”
“Whoa.” I touched her arm. Electricity danced from her skin to mine. I tried, and failed, to ignore it. “Slow down, Josie.”
Her gaze dropped to her arm and then flicked up. “I’m not going fast.”
I raised an eyebrow.
“Whatever.” She stepped to the side, and my arm fell back as she stared at the group again. “Shouldn’t you be over there?”
I coughed out a dry laugh. “Uh. No.”
“Why?” Her nose wrinkled. Cute. Dammit. Still so cute. “I’m sure they would like to, I don’t know, hug you and stuff. You did so much for them. You did everything for them. You—”
“I did what I had to do for them. What I shouldn’t have had to do in the first place,” I cut her off, unable to listen to her making me sound like I’d done something heroic. “They wouldn’t be where they are now if it hadn’t been for me.”
“You’re right.” She straightened out her arms and looked me head-on. “They wouldn’t be standing here, being all immortal and stuff if it hadn’t been for the sacrifice you made. And I hope, or at least I’m hoping, they recognize that. If they don’t, then they aren’t worth what you gave—”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” I snapped, uncomfortable with what she was suggesting, and uncomfortable with everything that was going down. Everything. “That’s the problem here, Josie. You only see what you want to see. You have no fucking clue what you’re talking about, especially when it comes to them—to her. So just drop it,” I said, slicing my hand through the air between us, “because it’s none of your business.”