The hotel windows exploded. Thankfully, away from us.
Then he was there. “What…”
“Next time,” Thruor said grimly. “Next time your wife needs a vacation, let her have one. In peace.”
I had moved so I was a good bit away from Enitan, expecting what happened next…him literally sweeping her off of her feet.
They both now had a certain amount of gender ambiguity about them. “Aso, Aso…”
“Maybe we should leave them to it?” I murmured. “I mean, we can’t tell them to get a room.”
“Ask him,” Thruor said, then grabbed our bags and headed for the door. “No, so we’ll get one.”
I felt it like a shudder as they embraced, although I didn’t hear her ask him. Or maybe I did. She’d said something, anyway. It wasn’t in English, it wasn’t in any language I knew.
I knew…I knew it was over. He had his wife back and I wanted my girlfriend back, just thinking about that. But at least I knew where she was. And at least I knew she wasn’t about to ask for time away, time apart.
Gods taking vacations. Probably why Freya liked to ride with the valkyries.
“The artifact. Give us the artifact,” I demanded.
“You have her back. Now stop breaking the cycle.”
After a moment, he tossed it to me. It felt very cold. Then we were out the door.
“First thing in the morning,” I told Thruor. “We’re going home.”
I wasn’t about to ask her to drive in the dark after what she’d said, but I was more than ready to start at dawn. This place was beautiful and it had a future, and it wasn’t the empty, poverty-stricken wasteland I’d expected.
But it wasn’t for me. I didn’t belong here, and for a moment I wondered if that meant I didn’t belong with Kanesha.
No, a voice said in my mind that might have been Odin’s, or merely my own conscience. Mortals could choose. Mortals had that freedom.
We defined our natures and then walked within them. She had chosen me, and I had the right and responsibility to let her do just that. Something those who believed people should all follow the gods of their ancestors didn’t understand.
We aren’t allowed to interfere with human free will.
I didn’t sleep that night. I had too much to think about, but by the time we got up a morning paper told us the crisis was over, over and soon to be forgotten. I hoped. It felt like a crack in the veil between our world and theirs, something that could be papered over, but not fixed.
Something that could not be repaired, and I worried about that. Were we about to return to the time when heroes openly walked alongside the gods?
Kanesha walked at my side.
Did that make her a hero?