The cell door slammed shut again with a reverberating thud. Whoever had just been thrown inside lay motionless on the floor in front of where Aida sat hugging her knees and cursing under her breath.
She could smell it already. Fuck.
That person was close to death.
Vehemently cursing the name of that idiot warlord who did this, as well as every god she could think of for getting her into these stupid situations in the first place, Aida waited until she was sure the guards had left and then slowly inched her way toward the figure in front of her.
Maybe it wasn’t actually that bad, she thought.
Like hell it wasn’t. Of course it was that bad. The smell of injuries that severe was never a matter of doubt. It was unmistakable, at least to Aida. Every cell in her body was screaming and humming with the urge to do something.
She carefully turned the figure over in order to examine the situation more closely. It was a young man, who probably wasn’t even 20. That was all Aida was able to make out under the blood. His hair and face were covered in it. His clothes were sticky with it, filthy and torn. He seemed to have several broken ribs, ALL of the fingers on his right hand were broken and several nails were missing. “Gods, what the hell did you do to piss someone up there off?” she muttered under her breath as she continued her examination. It’s a wonder he wasn’t dead from the head wound alone.
Her nose told her there were pretty severe internal injuries as well. If she was going to do something, she’d have to do it quickly.
She was about to make up her mind when he opened his eyes and made her heart leap straight into her throat. FUCK! How the hell was he even conscious??
Afraid he was going to start making noise that might attract attention, Aida placed her finger gently on his swollen mouth and softly hushed, willing him to understand. She bent her head until it was beside his ear and whispered.
“Keep quiet and listen if you would like to live to see the morning. I’m going to help heal you. Blink if you understand”
After a moment, his eyes closed and reopened.
“Wonderful. Listen carefully. Your wounds are going to start feeling very warm, and then you will feel extremely tired. Don’t fight it, just sleep. When you wake again, your pain will be gone and you will be as good as new. Do you understand that?”
He blinked again.
“Okay. Hold still and try to relax. Close your eyes if it helps you.”
With that, Aida lifted her head from his ear again. She took a deep breath and firmly kissed his lips.
Toma woke to a nasty headache and the feeling of water on his face. What the hell had happened last night? Had he gotten drunk?
No, that didn’t seem right.
He was still struggling against the fog that was clouding his brain when the wet feeling came back again. He wished it would stop. It was really annoying.
He gave some thought to opening his eyes to see where it was coming from, but decided that seemed like a terrible idea after a moment’s consideration. It would probably make his head hurt worse.
What HAD happened? If he hadn’t been drunk, then…
What was the last thing he remembered?
The vague impression of a woman’s face floated into his memory for an instant, but vanished again as soon as he tried to grasp at it.
That felt better. There had definitely been a woman. And she had…done…something?
Damn it, what was that wet feeling??? How was a man supposed to figure out anything with that irritating whatever-it-was distracting him all the time?
What was it doing anyway? It felt…what? Warm?
Groaning, Toma tried to escape the feeling, or failing that at least clear some of the fog from his mind.
Dimly, he realized there was something else there too.
A soft, husky, pretty sound.
“Hush.” It said. “Keep still.”
There was no other choice, he was going to need to open his eyes. He felt like it was somehow really important that he should find out where that voice was coming from.
Toma frowned to himself. Why was it important?
Well, he was sure he would figure that out eventually, right?
For the moment, the voice was back again.
“Try to stay quiet” it said “the guards might hear you.”
Guards? That didn’t make sense. Why would there be…
Oh. So not drunk, then. Arrested. That felt more like it.
Slowly, Toma willed his eyes to open and focus on what was in front of him. The source of the voice. The woman.
She was sitting on the ground with his head resting in her lap. She had a damp looking red rag in one hand. So that was where that damn wet feeling was coming from, Toma thought. Then his gaze traveled to her face, and he suddenly couldn’t breathe
This was, without question, the most beautiful woman he had ever seen in real life. There may have been some paintings of goddesses in temples that might entered the discussion, he thought, but it would have been debatable. Her hair was long and dark. Her skin was so pale it was almost transparent. And her eyes… damn. Those eyes defied all logic and language. He felt like he could easily drown in those eyes, and be blissfully happy about doing it.
He must have stared for longer than he realized, because the next thing he knew she was speaking again. (Thankfully for him, Toma’s detailed inspection of her face hadn’t made it to her mouth yet. In his current state, any prolonged thought on THAT subject might have killed him)
“Do you think you can sit up?” she asked, narrowing those eyes. Toma realized suddenly that this was the third time she had asked that question. He blinked up at her, nodded, and sat up. And regretted it immediately. A wave of dizziness and nausea hit him like a ton of bricks. Soft, strong arms wrapped around him, and were the only things that prevented him from landing hard on the stone floor.
“Hey! Take it easy, stupid! Do you have any idea how hard it was to put your head back together again? I won’t be happy if you go putting another hole in it by being an idiot!” The woman’s voice was still soft, but it was also tinged with annoyance and amusement. “Take a few deep breaths and give yourself a minute. Go slowly.”
Toma did as he was told, and eventually he was able to sit more or less upright. He was leaning against the wall, but he decided it still counted as a victory.
He fixed his eyes on the woman’s face again, and tried to decide which of his thousand questions he wanted to ask first. As it turned out, he didn’t get a chance to ask any of them, because the woman spoke again.
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