Take Flight Part 24
The dark hid them as Sayer flew for the veil. Birch clung to him, wishing he could fly beside Sayer. He shivered in the cold air.
“Hang on, Birch. We’ll be there soon!”
“I’m trying.” Birch struggled to stay conscious. He was so tired. His head sank against Sayer’s chest, and he closed his eyes.
The panic in Sayer’s voice scared Birch. He forced his eyes to open. “Yeah?”
“You need to stay awake.”
“Mmhmm.” The chill faded. Birch blinked. His eyelids felt like they weighed a thousand pounds.
“Please stay awake.”
Sayer risked himself to rescue Birch. All he wanted was for Birch to stay awake, but he couldn’t do it.
Birch roused from his lethargy briefly.
“Let him sleep.”
“But I have to go to the human realm. I don’t want him to wake up when I’m not here.” Sayer was speaking to someone.
“We’ll watch over him for you.” The man’s voice wasn’t familiar. “He’s recovering nicely, Haverlseen said. He needs rest, and you should stop hovering.”
Sayer sighed. “Fine. I won’t be gone long. I need to do some research on Grigori, and meet with that man.”
Birch didn’t want to be left behind while Sayer was meeting with his lunatic boss. He struggled to speak, to object to Sayer putting himself in harm’s way.
He failed as the darkness overtook him again.
The second time Birch woke up someone sat on the edge of the bed. It dipped under their weight. “Time for you to wake up, Birch.”
A trickle of power flowed into him. Birch gasped. His eyes flew open, and he sat up.
“What?” The healer glanced over his shoulder. “I didn’t hurt him.”
“That’s not a very nice way to wake someone up, though.”
A woman glided toward the bed. Her long hair hung, raven-black, to her waist. Her exquisite face was drawn down into a frown. “He would have woken naturally soon.”
“Well I have other patients to see to.”
“What’s going on? Where’s Sayer?” Birch coughed, his throat and mouth dry.
“I’ll get him some water.” The woman slipped away silently.
“Sayer will be back shortly. In the meantime, let’s see how you’re holding up. You know, you really should stop getting hurt so much. It takes a lot of energy to heal.” Haverlseen sniffed.
“I’m sorry,” Birch said automatically.
“Nevermind. Like before, I want you to focus within. See your inner light.”
Birch closed his eyes. “I see it.” It pulsed, not bright, not dim, but quiet. A red light imbued the space he imagined as the center of his power.
“Good, good. You’re healing nicely.”
A tingle ran down Birch’s leg. “What are you doing?” he asked.
“Checking the mending I did on your leg. Again.” Haverlseen stopped running his hand through the air over Birch’s leg, and then stood up. “You’ll be a bit stiff and you should rest for a few more days to fully recover your strength. There were no adverse effects I can detect from handling that cross the others mentioned. I’ll let Sayer know when he gets back.”
Haverlseen nodded. The woman came back with a goblet of water. He took it from her and motioned toward the soft chair pulled up beside the head of the bed. “You should sit down too, my lady.”
The healer snorted. “Yes, well, who’s responsible for that?”
She sighed. “You.”
“Exactly. So, unless you believe I would ask you to rest and not have a sound reason, you should sit down. Your recovery could last weeks, not days, my lady. Don’t hinder it.”
The woman smoothed her skirt and sat down regally.
“Thank you, my lady.”
Birch watched their interaction with interest, but he wanted that water. His tongue felt like it was stuck to the roof of his mouth.
“Can I have the drink?”
“What? Oh!” Haverlseen flushed. “Yes, of course. Sip it slowly.” He handed Birch the goblet. “I’ll be back later.”
He swept out of the room without a look back. Birch groaned when he finally got a drink.
The woman in the chair laughed. The throaty sound was at odds with her ethereal appearance and the dainty way she sat with her hands folded in her lap.
“I bet you’re really confused.” She smiled at Birch.
“Yes.” Birch wanted Sayer. The last few days were jumbled.
“First, introductions.” She held out her hand. “I’m Sayer’s mother, Lady Celeste.”
Sayer’s mother wasn’t dead? But… Birch didn’t know if he should kiss her hand or shake it. He sat up to take her hand and the covers slithered down to rest in his lap, exposing his bare chest.
“Oh my god.” Birch gasped. Would he ever learn? He clutched at the blankets, glad they hadn’t gone down any farther. Heat prickled up his neck and face. He stared at the rich colors on the goblet’s mistletoe design, sure his face was as red as the berries against the deep green leaves.
Lady Celeste laughed again. She covered her mouth. “I’m sorry! I wasn’t laughing at you, truly. You just look so embarrassed, and your face turned so red. Don’t worry, invoking the Christian Lord’s name won’t bring harm, but you should probably avoid it.”
Birch sagged against the pillows. “Thank go-goodness,” he said. “I’m sorry.”
She waved his apology away. “Don’t trouble yourself about it. Old habits are very hard to break, I know.” She looked sad. “Our realm is healing, because of you.”
“I didn’t do anything.” Birch gestured toward his leg. “Except get hurt, again.”
“Stuff and nonsense. Croll filled us in on everything that has happened since we…,” she faltered. “Well, everything. Without you, the son of the Grigori who tainted our magic and used you as bait would have destroyed us. No one here could have done what you did, without thinking of the consequences to yourself. My husband and I owe you a great debt. All fae do.”TBC
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