Scene: One of the many towns in the sidhe (fairy mound). Our male protagonist and his newly acquired tag-along...
With every drop of the liquid, his body relaxed further. Closing his eyes, he leaned his head back against the wall and let out a deep sigh. Peaceful, at last. Still, unjostled, quiet--
"Are you sure this is safe? I'm fine, I told you a million times." Despite its low, raspy quality, that voice somehow managed a pull of perkiness, too.
"You may be fine, but I'm not." He cleared his throat, voice clogged with dust and mucous and god-knew-what-else. Blood, probably. Opening his eyes a slit, he watched the girl, Vinita, hover her way around the small room. "Would you sit down?"
She dropped obediently into the other chair, crossed her leg and started jiggling her foot. Her hand fingered and twirled her unruly hair thoughtlessly as her huge dark eyes skipped around the room over and over.
"Are you sure we're not in trouble?" she asked. Payette clenched his teeth, grateful for the medical-strength ketal rushing through his veins. Keeping him sane.
"I told you, Vinita: it was self-defense."
"But she wasn't attacking you!"
"She was trying to kill you," he said, opening his eyes all the way. "Nobody would dispute it."
Vinita tugged harder on her hair, shaking her foot so hard it was a wonder she didn't vibrate right out of the seat.
"The family won't like it. They won't like it," she mumbled, eyes darting to him, then away again. Since she'd regained consciousness, she'd not held eye contact with him for longer than a few spare seconds. He'd seen plenty of humans who acted like this, like they couldn't contain their own essences. Jerky, bouncy, looking for suspicion in every corner--however, he didn't think that she was a junky, mostly because nahual metabolized everything too quickly for any sort of high to take place. That, and he was getting the feeling this girl hadn't been outside the sidhe, ever.
He closed his eyes again.
A soft voice woke him.
"Excuse me, sir?" His heart hammered and his hand flew for the gun in his pocket before he realized where he was, recognized the wizened face of the healer he'd sought out. Blinking rapidly to try and clear his vision, he lowered his hand from the weapon .
The healer smiled. "I have the results back. For both of you."
Vinita. Fear gripped him. Had she taken advantage of his sleep to slip out? He'd saved her life, but she didn't exactly seem comfortable with the outcome.
"What do they say? Good? Is it good?" There she was, sitting on the floor in the corner, thin arms wrapped around her knees. His jacket still bunched around her, hiding the swell of pregnancy that had been so obvious.
The healer bobbed his head. "Mr. Moreau, you've sustained three fractures to your ribs and some cranial contusions, but no concussion. Two more regular doses of ketal and plenty of rest, and you should be feeling back to normal in no time."
"What about the girl?" he said, shifting in the chair. His left leg had fallen asleep.
"No major injuries, and the child is unharmed as well. Your youth and vibrancy serve you well," he said, smiling at her. "You're a bit thin for child-bearing, but otherwise in fine condition."
Relief fluttered through his chest. "So we're free to go?"
"If you so desire, although I'd recommend resting a bit longer."
"I have things to do," Payette replied, and the healer nodded. "Can you get this thing out of me?"
Rubbing the spot where the IV had gone in, Payette ushered Vinita out of the clinic and into the deserted street.
"Keep your head down and walk fast," he said, then headed for the transport station. Vinita trailed behind him, humming something to herself. Frowning, he stopped and waited for her to join him, then grabbed her by the arm and pushed her up the steps to the station, other hand resting ready on the butt of the gun.
"You're hurting me," she whined.
"Be quiet," he snapped, then pressed her against the outside of the wall, holding her in place with his arm as he slipped the gun out. Wincing as his ribs twinged, he used the gun barrel to push the station door open, then peered around the edge. No movement, no scents, nothing to indicate anyone lurked inside. Glancing hard at Vinita, he pushed her firmly into the wall, then edged around the door, gun at the ready.
Satisfied that the station was truly empty, he stuck his head back out the door.
Frowning, Vinita hurried inside, tripping slightly on the raised threshold. He caught her arm and straightened her.
"I'm fine. Fine." She gawked at the station's interior, eyes widening as the took in the hand-carved runic circles. "What is this place?"
Payette laughed shortly. "You're kidding, right?"
"No, I'm not kidding," she said, sounding indignant. "What is this?"
"Transport station, Nita. You've used them before."
"No, I haven't," she insisted, following him to the teleporters. "How does it work?"
"Magic," he growled, then situated himself and pulled her against him. "Hold on."
NOTE: I seem to have lost the 1,000 words I wrote yesterday and am furious! I'm a compulsive saver; I KNOW I didn't just forget to save...