But at the end of the cord, I saw Seth and I wept.
I knew in an instant that the distance between us had meant nothing when it came to our bond. It may have diminished our ability to feel each other, but it couldn’t prevent this. Not with the four marks, not when he had pulled on my own power. And I also knew Seth had planned this… just in case I fled.
A pulse of light went through my cord and I felt it—felt him—breaking through my shields, filling me, becoming a part of me. It took just a second—a second and I was surrounded by him. I was him. There was no me in here, there was no room. It was all about him, always had been.
I couldn’t breathe anymore. He was there, under my skin, his heart beating next to mine. His thoughts were mixing with my own until all I could hear was him.
He opened his eyes. A light that had never been there before glowed from behind them.
Light crackled and flashed, and the world fell away.
I was shaking—no. I was being shaken. The pain receded slowly, leaving behind a raw stinging that covered every inch of my body. That, too, faded as my body was rocked back and forth. There were voices droning in the background, overshadowing the soothing words being whispered.
I inhaled deeply, breathing for what felt like the first time. There was so much in the air around me. The heavy scent of pine tainted the edges. I tasted spice and sea salt on the tip of my tongue.
“Agapi mou, open your eyes and talk to me.”
My eyes fluttered open. Everything… everything looked different—sharper and magnified. Lights dazzled, and colors shimmered in amber. I focused on the man cradling me. Eyes the color of heated silver stared down at me. They widened, pupils dilating. Shock shot across his striking features.
“No.” That one word sounded like it had been torn from the depths of Aiden’s soul.
A popping sound filled the room. Footsteps encroached upon us. Shapes came into focus, one burning brighter than the other.
Apollo peered over Aiden’s shoulder and swore. “Let her go, Aiden.”
His arms tightened around me instead, holding me close to his chest. To the end, I thought… foolishly brave and loyal to the end…
“Let her go now.” A door slammed shut somewhere behind the shining god. “She’s connected with the First.”
The First—my whole purpose for existing. Mine. My other half. He was here, waiting. Already inside me, seeing what I was seeing, whispering to me, promising me that he was coming. Seth. Mine.
And they all were going to die.