Dinner with Leo had been… Interesting. Educational, Luke decided, like every visit to the Ran- to Boom’s place. Wherever Boom’s places were.
For one thing, it had taught him that he needed to visit Howard, or maybe talk Shira into doing so.
For another, it had taught him he owed Apollo an apology. So, sitting in Cynara’s living room while Cynara and Leo made small talk about their students, he looked Apollo in the eye. “I shouldn’t have split your crew up. I’m sorry.”
There was a pause while Apollo processed that. Then, “Yeah. No biggie, I guess.” Apollo tugged on his collar and looked away.
Luke coughed. That. “I’m not going to apologize for asking jae’Red Doomsday to Keep you.”
Apollo glanced at him sideways. “Why not?”
“Because you needed it. Because being here is good for you.” He could see Apollo readying a scoff. He kept talking. “I failed you as a Mentor. But I’ve seen what Cyna- Cya can do as a Keeper.”
“Yeah? Have you seen her collar collection?”
Luke snorted. “I’ve watched her pick her Kept for the last sixty years. If I were Regine I could tell you their survival percentages…”
“Please don’t,” Cynara murmured. When Luke glanced over, she was once again chatting to Leo about something one of their Students had done.
“…I can’t. I’m not that good at numbers. But I’d bet you anything it’s higher than that of the rest of the Addergoole grads.”
“Anything?” Apollo leaned forward, a fierce twist of an expression on his face. “Would you bet a year under this collar yourself?”
Cynara and Leo stopped talking. For a moment, it seemed to Luke that the entire city stopped talking.
It was a fair question. He glanced over at Cynara, only to see that she was studiously watching a patch of wall over Leofric’s shoulder.
“Well,” he started to hedge, “there’s the problem of my teaching job…” No. He needed to give the kid a fair answer. “Yeah. Yeah, I’d be willing to gamble that.” Mike would kill him. Slowly. But it wasn’t like there was much danger of it. “But are you sure jae’Doomsday is interested in being gambled with?”
Apollo glanced guiltily back at his Keeper. “Um. Well. She Keeps someone every year. You said it.”
“All students just out of Addergoole, all of them. Hell,” he added with some frustration, “there was a good chance she would have picked you up without my intervention.” The boy certainly had the look, and that was something Luke wasn’t going to say out loud in front of any of the three of them. “I’m not exactly her type.”
“She doesn’t need a ‘type’,” Apollo retorted with some frustration. “She has Leo and Howard.”
Oh. Well. Luke coughed. “Anyway. Yes. I’d be willing to gamble on that if jae’Doomsday would be willing to be gambled with.”
And the dead gods help him if he was wrong.
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