With the bathroom door closed behind her, Aileen gazed at Kay and the large tub which held him; and judged the tub big enough to accomodate the both of them without crowding. The hotel room was apparently designed for newlyweds.

Stepping to the tub, Aileen looked at the towels which covered Kay. They more floated over him in the water then touch him, which was good considering his condition.

Silently she debated whether the towels were a good thing. Disturbing the water could cause his towels and hers to rub against his now very tender flesh. Deciding it was for the best, Aileen let her towel drop to the floor and then carefully lifted Kay's towels out of the water and placed them to drain in the sink. Wringing them out would cause too much noise under the circumstances.

Carefully, to disturb the water as little as possible, Aileen stepped into the tub and laid down beside Kay, her body just short of touching his.

The telepathic priest had informed her that Kay had been set up as The Receiver, since he had been led to believe Kay would have the mind of a female. It was therefore required of Aileen to be The Giver in this first forming of their mindlink.

Aileen searched Kay's face with sad concern. His eyes stared unseeing with a haunted expression.

Carefully she reached over and closed his eyes with a light touch and smoothed some of his hair back into place; then she tenderly kissed each of his eyelids, one of the few places that were uninjured.

Taking a deep breath, she pressed her forehead to his and began.

* * * * *

The first thing Aileen noticed upon approaching Kay's mind was a growing blizzard. It became colder and colder as she walked but she was warm and snug in a volumous cloak that was lined inside and out with a very soft and thick fur-like material.

As she continued on her way through the growing snow and winds the cloak grew ever more volumious and furry. A sure sign she was nearing Kay's mind.

Then she saw the unmistakable outline of a man's body in the snow and knew it represented Kay's mind exposed to the elements even as his body was.

The cloak expanded and extended as though a living part of her, swiftly gathering up Kay's body-mind and enfolding him like the wings of a great bird sheltering its young; giving protection to Kay's mind from the cutting sensations buffeting his senses.

* * * * *

THE WISHFUL 26

Pain, cold and fear. That was all Kay knew.

Painful blistering cold assailed his tender, naked body and it seemed like he had known fear for a very long time, ever since that dark presense had penetrated him for the first time. He could sense it approaching yet again. Knowing it was futile, he turned and ran anyway, since there was simply nothing else he could do.

Desparately his bare body floundered through the stinging snow as the presense came ever closer. He cried out in mournful despair as it came like a great bird and caught him up.

Kay steeled himself, waiting for the worst, but surprisingly it didn't happen. It was not the cold leatherly wings of his tormentor that held him, but the warm soft wings of an angel.

Cautiously, he dared a look at who was holding him, and his eyes beheld not his doom, but his salvation.

"Aileen...!" he breathed joyously, like a drowning man taking a precious breath.

Kay spoke in both mind and body as he woke to behold Aileen beside him

He had found a port in the storm.

He was safely home at last.

* * * * *