[This post is from Hecate’s point of view.]
No. No, I can’t let you take this burden on your shoulders all on your own. That’s not how this works, not anymore. Not for either one of us.
“I—could you guys keep an eye on the twins?”
Matt jerked and Hecate blinked, looking toward Tala. She nodded quickly. “Of course. Is something wrong?”
“Just remembered something, that’s all,” Tala said, then smiled weakly. “I’ll be back pretty quick, just need to take care of this.”
“Go ahead,” Matt murmured, staring into the fire. Hecate bit her lip.
Tala watched them both for a few seconds, then nodded. “Right. I’ll be back.”
Hecate watched her go, heart feeling like lead in her chest. She exhaled, looking toward Matt. “You know why she left.”
“Because she forgot something,” he said, his voice low, his gaze still on the flickering flames. Hecate’s heart gave a painful squeeze.
“She didn’t want to watch us fight,” Hecate said, her throat tightening. “I don’t want to fight, either, but I will if I have to. I love you too much to watch you beat yourself up over something that isn’t your fault.”
He took a deep breath and squeezed his eyes shut again. Hecate leaned against him again, biting her lip.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered. “I’m sorry, okay? It just—it’s hard. Maybe it’s in my blood. Mar’s got the same guilt issues I do.”
“I know it’s hard,” she whispered back, pressing a kiss to his jaw. “Everything’s hard. Someday it won’t be.”
A brief laugh wrested its way free from her throat. “I promise. I just don’t know when it’ll happen.”
“Someday,” Matt said, then looked at her with a weak smile.
Hecate nodded and kissed him again. “I love you.”
“I love you, too,” he said, then sighed. “I hope you’re wrong.”
He nodded, then pushed to his feet. “Yeah.”
“So do I,” Hecate said, watching as he moved around the edge of the fire to check on Tala’s twins. “I really, really do. I mean, I’ve been wrong before.”
“All of us have been.”
“Maybe this is one of my times.”
“Maybe,” Matt said quietly. “Maybe.”