[This post is from Marin’s point of view.]
They weren’t that far away, so it only took a few seconds and about a dozen steps to reach them. Seamus leaned on Leinth, his complexion ashen, eyes sunken into even darker hollows. I swallowed hard, my throat getting tight. I’d never seen him look quite so bad, certainly not in this life and not in any part of the last one I could recall.
Still, I regretted the fact that the first words that escaped my mouth were, “You shouldn’t be up.”
He managed to smile. “Good morning to you, too, Marin.”
“I told him he didn’t have to,” Leinth said, shaking her head and smiling helplessly at me. “Do you think he listened?”
“Clearly not.” I started to move toward him, to help, but he waved me back. I saw Matt smile weakly behind him and shake his head almost imperceptibly. Phelan and Hecate both just looked worried.
“They tried to help, too,” Seamus said, waving a hand slightly toward my brother, Phelan, and Hecate. “I wouldn’t let them, either.”
“Can you blame us?” Phelan asked, casting a sideways look at his cousin. “You know what you look like?”
Seamus smiled, looking directly at him. “Yes, a stubborn bastard second only to the one to my left.”
He meant Phelan.
That made me smile. At least his sense of humor was still intact.
Small consolation, but still consolation.
A shiver crept down my spine and I glanced toward Matt. “The Hunt. What did–?”
“That’s why we’re coming back to the fire,” Matt said, his gaze drifting toward Seamus for a moment before returning to me. “Seamus knows more about what’s out there, he thinks, than what the Hunt was able to tell us.”
“What was the Hunt able to tell us?” I asked.
Seamus shook his head. “Everything all at once,” Seamus said, then gestured toward the fire ahead of us. “Let me sit down and get a mug of something hot in my hands and I’ll spill my guts.”
I winced at the analogy but nodded. “Okay,” I whispered, feeling sicker by the second. “If that’s what you want.”
“It is,” he said.
I wasn’t sure if I believed that it was what he wanted or if it was he needed. Then again, I wasn’t sure it mattered.
It probably didn’t. It never seemed to, anyway. Not anymore.
Maybe not ever.