Morning came far too soon for David's liking. It seemed like he'd barely had time to close his eyes and then the room was full of light and the door was opening.
"These pictures should have been taken right after the incident!" A rather loud and irritated male voice was saying, accompanied by the sound of somewhat loud hard soled shoes walking into the room, followed by two sets of quieter shoes. "The attack was all over the morning paper. I'd rather get pictures of the wounds before I have to compete with the paparazzi! I'm not going to wait around all morning. Besides, the victim is comatose according to you, so I doubt I'm going to wake him!"
"Well it certainly wasn't this hospital that leaked news of the attack, and since the police were the only other ones who knew about it you can hardly blame us for the newspaper stories! And as far as my patients, the primary victim is comatose at the moment, yes." Julie's voice replied in a carefully calm tone, "But the other victim is not, and he needs his rest. It's only seven in the morning, which isn't even visiting hours yet, might I add."
"Well, I'm not a visitor, now am I?" He replied.
David blinked his eyes open, looking over in the direction of the voices. Julie and Justin were standing there with a tall, thin older looking man with short, grizzled gray hair. He had a slight English accent and was dressed in a somewhat old fashioned manner, reminding him uneasily of Horvath, but the man had a badge dangling from his belt and was holding a high tech looking digital camera, not to mention he had gotten this far, so hopefully that meant he was alright.
The man glanced over at him, "Ah. See, he's awake, so there's no problem. Can we get on with this now?"
Julie rolled her eyes in exasperation, but just sighed out a breath and waved him on.
"We should take care of David first since he's only got the one wound." Justin suggested.
"Very well." The man replied, heading for David.
David quickly sat up, then winced as his shoulder gave him a wicked ache. It hadn't really pained him much before, but he was beginning to suspect Balthazar had cast some kind of numbing spell on it or something. Obviously that was wearing off, because there was a bone deep ache in it at the moment. Either that or he'd just slept on it wrong.
"Careful, you're going to need some more meds soon." Julie said, noting the slight grimace on his face.
"It's fine." David muttered, feeling a bit embarrassed as he pulled off his shirt with Justin's help. After that he just turned a bit at Justin's prompting and let him remove the bandage. Once that was out of the way, Julie took over, gently swabbing the wounds with some rubbing alcohol to clean them. It stung the raw skin a bit, but wasn't too bad.
"Could you have him lay down on his stomach?" The man said as he dug in the small camera bag hanging at his side. "Most of the people I photograph are laying down as you can imagine, so that position works better for me."
"Hold up." Justin said quickly when he spotted the small metal ruler the man had just pulled out of his bag. "What are you planning on doing with that?"
"I use it to measure the wounds. I usually take some pictures with it beside them for scale. Haven't you ever seen one of those crime scene television shows?" The man drawled with a slightly condescending tone.
"Ya." Justin said, folding his arms over his chest, "I've seen those rulers in the pictures... laying on corpses, usually bloody ones at that."
The man rolled his eyes. "I washed it off."
Justin looked far from convinced, "That didn't come out of a sterile container. Even if you did do more than rinse it off, it's been rattling around in your bag with Lord knows what since then."
"It's fine!" The man sighed, then he pulled out a handkerchief from one of his inner jacket pockets and gave it a good rub with it, "There, see? Freshly polished."
"Oh Hell no!" Julie growled, obviously outraged, "These two young men have fresh wounds! That one over there was ripped six ways from Sunday! He's just barely been able to fighting off a fever so bad I'm actually shocked he's still alive. There is no way in Hell I'm going to let your diseased ridden little corpse stick change that! If you want to use that thing on these boys you're going to have to do a Hell of a lot better than a spit-shine!"
"Oh this is ridiculous!" The man sighed in exasperation, "Just give me an alcohol swab or something and let's be done with this already!"
"A swab isn't going to cut it either. That has numbers and lines etched into it that could hold germs a swab couldn't get to. Come along. I'll show you to a scrub station." She said imperiously, heading for the door.
The man looked over to Justin, obviously in disbelief that she was being serious.
"I wouldn't keep her waiting if I were you." Justin muttered helpfully under his breath, nodding towards his sister's retreating back, "She has no patience with people trying to endanger her patient's health."
The man gave a belabored sigh and followed her.
Justin pretended to be examining the wounds, keeping a subtle eye on the door until the man was gone and there was no one in sight, then waved his hand at door, shutting it. "Glad I spotted that ruler." Justin said, moving over to Drake, "I was afraid I wouldn't find a reason to get you two alone for a few minutes. You need to fix him up quick."
David felt a flutter of embarrassment as he realized what Justin wanted him to do.
"Come on." Justin said encouragingly as David hesitated, "He hasn't worked up a dangerous charge yet, but it's enough for me to feel from a good foot away. That guy has a digital camera. This charge might be relatively low, but at close range it might be enough to mess up an electronic device like that. Not to mention if he gets close enough for the power to jump it'll probably fry the camera."
"Ya... ya... right." David muttered in resignation, nodding and getting up. He hurried over, then looked hesitantly down at Drake. He looked a bit odd in a plain, pale blue hospital gown, his multi-colored hair hanging limp, obviously having been matted down by sweat and lack of hair products. It was rather hard to reconcile the man he saw before him with the ostentation clothes horse he'd met before. Well, how he looked didn't really matter at the moment. At least he showed no signs of waking any time soon. That was bad, of course... but less embarrassing. He wished he could put it off, but he could see the necessity of it and that man might be back any minute.
"Here, I'll uncover some of the exposed silver. I'll be having to take the bandages off for the photos anyway." Justin said, looking around for the gloves.
"It's ok, I got it." David quickly muttered, "You just... um... go make sure they don't come back."
"You got it." Justin replied, heading over to the door.
David glanced over his shoulder to make sure the young man's attention was on what was outside the room, then took a deep breath and reached over, gently prying open the side of the bandage on the back of Drake's neck. Little crackles of power arched over to his fingers as he worked it open, tickling his skin. Not letting himself procrastinate, he gently slipped his fingers in as soon as he had the side of the bandage open.
The second his fingers touched the little silver contact near the base of Drake's skull he felt a sudden jolt of power go through him. It wasn't anywhere near the lightning bolt that'd gone through him earlier, but it was strong enough to speed up his heart and make his eyes slide shut as pleasure flowed through him. It was soft, the flow steady, but slow. Well compared to before anyway. It was like a sedate stream trickling through him... as opposed to a dam breaking and deluging him all at once like the first time.
He could feel Drake's heart against his other hand, beating reassuringly strong in his chest. David wasn't sure when he'd put his hand on Drake's chest or why, but that's where it was. The slight pulsing of his heartbeat and the gentle rise and fall of his chest seemed somehow in tune with the flow of power, though the power flowed smoothly and without any discernable tempo. It was just something David felt, but wasn't sure exactly why. David sensed something within Drake... but couldn't really think of any way to describe it or quantify it. It was like a melody... but without sound precisely... something he felt, but not in a way he could understand. It was like sensing something with a sense he'd never possessed before, something completely beyond his comprehension. Before he could dwell on it, the sense faded and disappeared as the last of the power ebbed out of Drake.
David opened his eyes and looked down at the man before him. There had been a slight tension in Drake's face before, but it had disappeared, leaving him looking peaceful once more.
"We should get the bandage off his arm." Justin said, turning his head from the crack in the door, "There aren't any easily discernible wounds to explain away why that arm needs bandaged." He gave the hallway one last look, then closed the door and hurried over. "We can't exactly say he has some kind of implant in the arm as well without any incisions in it."
"Right." David said, quickly moving his hand off Drake's chest before Justin got close enough to see. He found the end of the bandage and started unwrapping it. The arm it revealed was covered in tattoos, but unmarred by the ugly blue marks.
"Good, those marks are gone." Justin said, noting this as well. "We were a bit worried about how to explain those away. The marks didn't look like any naturally occurring symptom that either of us have ever seen." He took the bandage once David was done freeing it. "By the way, you don't really have to worry too much about infection." He added reassuringly, "Your wounds are sealed. As long as you take your antibiotics and keep the wounds covered you'll be fine. In fact, you won't even have to cover them in a couple of days once the skin isn't so raw."
"Well, that's reassuring. Thanks." David said, glancing at the ends of the cuts on his shoulder, barely within his range of vision. They looked a somewhat angry red, as he would expect, but they didn't feel nearly as bad as they should, really. He'd had significantly smaller cuts that'd felt much worse. The aching he could do without though.
"We do have to be more careful with Stone, of course. We're not sure how well the skin is sealed around that protruding metal. It's not like it's something we've ever seen before. With luck it will seal up there as well, but until we're sure it's safe we'll be taking extra precautions with him. That's yet another reason I should save the rest of the unwrapping for when that guy gets back. As a matter of fact, I need to go get a couple of fresh sets of thick gloves for the little 'unveiling'. I have no doubt she's making a big deal about cleaning that ruler, so even if infection weren't a real concern we'd look pretty hypocritical if we used gloves that had just been laying around. And be sure to remember to favor that arm when he's around. Just keep it pretty still and don't extend it if possible."
"Oh, I don't think I'll be forgetting that." David said, rolling the shoulder in question gingerly and feeling it pull and ache. "Feels like that thing tried to cut through the bone!"
"It didn't score too deep. Didn't even hit the marrow, but it might ache for a while. Bone heals a bit slower than flesh, even with magic. Still, couple of days and you'll be fine." Justin reassured him.
David looked over at him, his eyes going wide. "It actually cut into the bone?"
"Not too much." Justin replied with a little shrug, wadding the bandage up and heading for the door. "Why don't you just sit back down and wait. I'm gonna go grab those gloves and once this guy is gone I'll be sure to numb your shoulder back up before I leave, alright?"
"Ya... sure..." David said softly, though the door was already drifting shut behind the fast paced young man.
David just stood there, staring sightlessly. It had scored the bone! How insanely easy would it have been for that thing to rip him apart? His hands started shaking again as it truly dawned on him for the first time how very close he'd come to dying. Yes, he'd known theoretically that he could have died, but saying that and actually comprehending its reality were two entirely different things. When you're young, such thoughts were just hypothetical things. Even when death had touched his life, the thought that it could really happen to him... that everything, his entire existence could all just suddenly and with finality end had never really registered in his head... his body felt suddenly cold as full comprehension of his disturbingly fragile mortality crashed around him.
His eyes refocused as he gazed down at Drake. What would have happened if Drake hadn't knocked that thing off of him? Well, the answer to that was as simple as it was terrifyingly certain. There's no way on Earth he would have been able to fight both demons off. They would have torn him apart. Quite literally. Instead, Drake had interceded. He knew Drake wasn't naïve enough to think he stood any real chance of surviving a wrestling match with a demon, and with no magic no less! He'd had a split second to make a decision, and he'd chosen to sacrifice his own life to save David's.
"It can't come to that." David whispered, his eyes going rather blurry. He quickly closed his eyes, trying to deny the tears that crowded them. "You can't die. Not for me." He found his hand clutching Drake's arm. What if Drake's wounds got infected? He'd nearly died just a few hours ago, and had only been saved by a wild fluke. He might seem ok for the moment, but then he'd seemed fine just after Veronica first healed him... then he'd seemed fine after she'd mended his spine with that silver. Each time David had felt so sure they were out of the woods and Drake would just get up and walk away, good as new. Or good enough anyway. What would it be that popped up next to try to kill off the man who'd selflessly saved his life? "I don't want anyone to die for me." He muttered achingly. He felt tears dripping from his eyes and he knew it was stupid to be standing there talking to a guy in a coma and sobbing like a wimp, but he couldn't seem to stop the tears. "You have to keep getting better. You have to get through this. Just... just wake up already!" He said with growing frustration, blinking his eyes open. "Wake up and open your eyes and..." David's words caught in his throat as his vision cleared and he saw two dark eyes gazing up at him.
"Drake?" David said, his heart suddenly pounding in his chest.
Drake's eyes drifted back shut.
"No no no!" David said quickly. "Stay awake! Come on! Drake! Drake?" He said, fighting the urge to shake him. Drake's wounds had been quite grievous. Even with magic numbing spells, shaking him would undoubtedly cause pain, and that's the last thing he wanted to do.
"What's the matter?" Julie said suddenly from the door, hurrying over.
"He opened his eyes!" David said quickly. "It was just for a moment, but they were open, I swear!"
"I believe you." She said with a relieved smile, "You scared me!" She pulled a sealed bag out of her pocket and removed a fresh pair of gloves from it. She pulled them on, then carefully checked Drake, even prying open one of his eyes and playing a small light over it. There was an odd glint of silver as the light hit the eye, but the pupil almost instantly shot down practically to the size of a pinhole. From her expression, even Julie was surprised by the speed of the reaction... not to mention the fine spiderweb of silver filigree that now traced through his dark iris. She shifted the light away and watched the iris adjust slightly, but the pupil remained rather small. She put away the light and released his eye, which slid back shut. "Well, if he was awake, he's back out now. His eyes are reacting to light, which is good. Veronica said he was blind before the procedure. His eyes are registering visual stimulation, so it's just a matter of if the signal is getting from the eyes to the brain properly, but the odds are looking good that he will regain his sight." She glanced over, noticing David's anxious stare and the way he was trying to surreptitiously wipe away some tears. "It's ok. It's quite common for coma patients to drift in and out. That he's starting to stir is a very encouraging sign. You just have to have some patience." She said as she pulled off the gloves.
David just nodded his head mutely, though he didn't feel nearly as reassured as he pretended to be. He'd thought Drake was awake, damn it! He'd thought for one brief moment that it was finally over and he could stop worrying and...
"You're shaking." She said softly, taking his hand.
"I'm fine." He said quickly, pulling his hand out of her grasp.
"No, you're not. Let's get these photos taken and then I'm going to give you something for your nerves." She said firmly, nudging him back towards his own bed.
"No!" He said quickly, afraid that if she drug him he wouldn't be able to take care of Drake. "No... I... I mean I don't want to sleep again. Balthazar is coming, and..."
"Don't worry." Justin said soothingly, having slipped into the room without his noticing. Not that that was difficult with as focused as he'd been on Drake. "It'll just relax you. You might sleep some, but probably not more than a couple of hours or so, and we'll be able to wake you if we need to." He said, obviously implying if anything happened with Drake.
"Oh... um... ok then I guess..." David muttered softly. He knew he needed to calm down, but in truth he wasn't sure it was going to happen without medication.
"Might want to go ahead and medicate him now." The photographer said softly from a few paces away. "Wouldn't do to have blurry pictures because he was trembling like a leaf."
David might have been irritated by a comment like that, but it was said in an almost gentle voice. He glanced over and saw the slightly uncomfortable, but at the same time somewhat concerned look on the man's face. It was obvious the man really wasn't used to working with live people, and was finding working with someone in a delicate emotional state a bit disconcerting.
David just quickly nodded his head. He sat down on his bed and stared studiously down at his hands while Julie prepared the shot. When she pulled his arm over and started swabbing it with alcohol he clenched his eyes shut so she wouldn't have to bother trying to distract him. Not that it would have worked anyway now that she'd already done that once. He felt a little pressure, but once again it didn't hurt. He shifted around a bit at their direction to lay on his stomach. He felt the cold metal of the little ruler as it was laid on him, saw the slight strobe of the camera flash through his eyelids, but he was losing interest. Cold alcohol swabbed his wounds once more, then he was nudged around a bit as they gently placed a new bandage on him. A thin blanket was pulled up to cover him.
He heard the divider curtain moving and opened his eyes just in time to catch one last glimpse of Drake before it blocked his view. He vaguely noticed Justin as the young medic sat down on the bed beside him.
"He's going to be ok." Justin said softly, placing his hand over David's new bandage.
David let out a little sigh of relief as the low ache in his shoulder faded away. Once that was done, Justin nudged the blanket up to cover his shoulders as well, then shifted his hand over and gently stroked David's hair. "Julie won't let anything happen to Stone. You get some more rest now." He said soothingly.
David wasn't sure if Justin was using magic, or if his touch was just oddly reassuring. It reminded him of when his mother used to stroke his hair when he was upset. His eyes slid shut as he remembered it, a feeling of contentment settling over him.
- 0 – 0 – 0 -
David tossed his head to the other side, trying to ward off waking for a bit longer, but the low, tense voices outside in the hall were bothersome.
"I know very well what's at risk here." a female voice said a bit irritably. David groggily realized that it sounded like Julie.
"I'm not sure you do. If you did, you wouldn't be so stubborn about this." A voice growled back.
David blinked his eyes open, all thoughts of sleep fleeing as he recognized his Master's voice. The room was only dimly lit around him, which alarmed him for a moment, but a glance over at the window revealed they'd just shut the blinds and the drapes. Bright little slivers of sunlight showed here and there around the edges.
"I know all too well your 'get back up in the saddle' mentality, but he's not ready yet!" Julie hissed back.
"You act like it's a choice." Balthazar replied, "Sooner or later he's going to have to face what's waiting for him out there, and if he's going to have any chance of surviving, he's going to have to train!"
"I'm not refuting that, but whatever's coming, it's not coming right this second. Give him a little breathing room, a little time to deal with what's happened. It's obvious he's not used to life and death situations, and having to deal with two major ones within hours of each other is going to have some emotional repercussions. Especially if Stone doesn't stop being so damn stubborn." Her voice dropped a bit lower and David had to hold his breath to hear her, "He's starting to run a low grade fever again. There's no way he's going to survive a second bout if it gets nearly as bad it did last night."
David quickly and quietly pulled the blankets off and hurried over to Drake's bed. It was obvious he'd been out a lot longer than Justin had predicted. He vaguely remembered getting up and visiting the bathroom, but then he'd crawled right back into bed. He didn't fault Justin's math... he'd felt exhausted even before they gave him that shot, so he had no doubt he'd needed the sleep. He just hoped that neglecting Drake hadn't set his recovery back.
He was worried about the possibility of Drake's wounds getting infected if he went sticking his fingers in the bandages on a regular basis, so he decided to just try using his right arm. They hadn't rewrapped it yet, and with the silver running all through it because of the nerve damage he'd suffered in that arm, he could feel the power humming off it before he even got close.
As soon as he got a hold of the arm his grip locked as a jolt of power darted through him. It felt much more urgent than it had been when he'd done this before the photographer took pictures of him, but it was manageable. He wished it would hurry up a bit, though. The connection wasn't nearly as good through the arm as it was through the contacts along his spine, so the flow was almost sluggish, despite the strong need he felt in Drake to purge the power from his body.
"I know I'm the one who asked you to take him in the first place," Balthazar's voice said a bit impatiently, and David realized they were still out there arguing, "But maybe it would be best for everyone involved."
"You really think anyone else would take him?" Julie whispered back, "Despite the possible notoriety they'd get if he survived, no other hospital would touch him with a ten foot pole with some completely unknown implants in him and with as delicate as his health's been. They'd be too afraid he'd die and they'd have a very public black mark on their reputation, even if it wasn't their fault. I haven't even been able to get the x-rays taken that I need because I'm too afraid even that short of a trip would detriment his health!"
"Fine." Balthazar replied, "I guess I can't begrudge Stone what is most likely his best chance at surviving this in good conscience anyway. I'll just have to get David out of here."
He heard Julie let out a soft, exasperated sigh, "I'm telling you, David has far too much emotionally invested in Stone to be separated from him right now."
"David gets emotionally invested in anyone who's around him for very long. It's one of his strengths, but it's also an even bigger weakness. If there's any chance Stone is going to die, that's all the more reason to distance David from him before that happens."
David clenched his eyes shut, trying not to think on the possibility. He forced the thought away. No. Drake wasn't going to die, and he wasn't going to let Balthazar take him away 'for his own good'! He appreciated that Balthazar was worried about him and trying to protect him, but he wasn't a little kid, and he'd be damned if he was going to let someone else make his life decisions for him! Before he had a chance to lose his newfound resolve, he quickly turned towards the door, intent on telling Balthazar just that right to his face.
A hand grabbed his arm.
David spun around, his eyes darting down to the hand, then up to Drake's face. Even in the very dim light he could see that his eyes were open again!
Drake gasped, his face contorted into a grimace of pain. He shifted over onto his side a bit, curling in on himself. "What's wrong with me?" He gasped, his voice no more than a tight whisper filled with pain. He let go of David's hand and started clawing at the bandage on the back of his neck.
"What are you doing? Don't do that!" David said worriedly. He reached out to stop him, but Drake seized his hand once more and pulled it over, pressing it forcefully against the contact at the base of his skull.
Power lanced through David, the flow quick and clean.
Drake let out a soft moan of pleasure, closing his eyes, some of the tension easing from his face, though his grip on David's wrist never loosened. David felt a bit awkward doing this while Drake was awake, but the blissful flow of power distracted him for a few minutes until every last trace of it had been drawn out. Once it was gone, Drake's grip finally loosened and released him as Drake sagged back against the bed, sighing in relief.
"Drake?" David asked softly as he pulled his hand away. Drake didn't respond. "Drake?" he said a bit more urgently.
"Don't piss on my bonfire, mate." Drake muttered, eyes still closed.
"Excuse me?" David said, wondering if he was just muttering gibberish.
"Can't a bloke enjoy the afterglow for a mo?" Drake muttered. He cracked his eyes open when David didn't respond, "Don't try to tell me it wasn't good for you, too." He added with a little mischievous grin, glancing down at the definite tenting in David's pants.
David blushed bright red when he saw what Drake was indicating, quickly pulling his t-shirt down to help hide it. At least he hadn't made a mess in his pants this time, but that was small consolation in the face of being caught 'at attention'.
Drake didn't appear to be dwelling on David's predicament though. He started shifting around uncomfortably, then wedged himself up shakily into a sitting position. Once he'd mastered that, he started yanking on his bandages again.
"Don't do that! You need those bandages! You don't want to get your wounds infected!" David said worriedly, though he was still a bit too embarrassed to try to stop him.
"I feel like I'm bloody well suffocating!" Drake muttered in frustration. The bandages were much harder to remove further down where it widened to cover his whole back where the claw marks crossed. He yanked, but the bandages wouldn't budge any further.
"Um... why... why did you do that?" David asked softly, lifting his hand and flexing it a bit so Drake would know what he was referring to.
Drake looked at him for a long moment, then let go of the loose bandage . "Dunno." He admitted. "It's the only thing that makes the pain stop." He said in a slightly haunted voice, then forced a smile, making his voice cheerful once more, "Dunno how you do that magic touch, love, but it's priceless! Feel free to grope me any day!"
"Um... but how did you know that would work?" David muttered, perplexed.
Drake gave a slight shrug, then winced. He reached over, examining his previously injured arm, flexing the fingers, "Worked the last two times, now dinnit? It was pure Hell afore that. If I coulda moved I'd've snuffed meself just to make it stop!"
David blinked, stunned, "You... you remember that? But you weren't awake!"
Drake gave a little snort, "Jus 'cause I wasn't movin about doesn't mean I wasn't aware. How long's it been?"
David felt more than a little mortified, praying he hadn't really been aware of everything. He glanced around, spotting a clock. "Um... about a day and a half."
Drake looked over at him, his eyes widening, "Really? Is that all? Bloody 'ell, seems like it's been yonks. Where's Bob?"
"Um... Bob?" David asked uncertainly.
"Ya. Bob." Drake said, scrubbing his fingers through his hair, trying in vain to get it to perk up. "Kinda shorter bloke, bald, tattoos. Can't miss 'im. Surprised he innit 'ere." He said, looking around at the guest chairs for any sign that the man had visited.
"Oh..." David said, "Um... I'm not sure they notified anyone of where you were."
Drake's eyes darted over to him. "What?" He asked, obviously shocked and horrified, "He'll be straight round the twist by now, not knowing where I am!"
"Well, I think they were just trying to keep anyone from finding out you were here." David said reasonably. "From what the police photographer said this morning, the attack is all over the newspapers. If where you are leaked to the press..."
"So they know I was attacked an they don't even know I'm bloody well alive? What kind of bloody barbarians are running this place?" Drake growled, obviously furious. He yanked off the covers and quickly got out of the bed.
David barely managed to grab him as his legs buckled the minute he put weight on them. "Julie!" David called out urgently, hoping she was still nearby. He lowered Drake to the floor, not strong enough to lift him up onto the bed.
There was a pause of barely a moment before the door whisked open and the lights were turned on.
Drake let out a pained cry as light flooded the room, quickly clenching his eyes shut and ducking his head down.
"You're awake!" Julie said, obviously please by that, though concerned over the way he was currently sitting on the floor, pressing his forearm to his eyes. "How are you feeling? Can you see?"
"Could see jus fine afor you went an turned the bloody spotlights on me!" Drake growled.
"Get the lights." She called back over her shoulder.
Vicky, who was standing just inside the door beside Balthazar, reached over, shutting the lights back off, then slipped quickly out of the room.
"Is that better?" Julie asked.
Drake cautiously lowered his arm and squinted his eyes open. "Still a mite bright, but livable." He muttered, rubbing his eyes.
She blinked in surprise. There was a little light coming in from the hallway through the partially open door, making the room just light enough to see things dimly, but it wasn't even light enough to see much more than his vague shape in the shadow of the bed. "Ok..." she said, adding some eye exams to her mental checklist of tests they would have to do now that he was awake. "How are you feeling?"
"It's early days." He muttered, "Legs are on the blink."
"Well, that was kind of expected." Julie said with a nod, "You'll need a bit of physical therapy to reteach your brain how to use your legs. You're using entirely new pathways, so it will just take a bit of getting used to. You appear to have the basic use of your arm, but I'll wager that will also require some work to get back the full use of your fine motor skills."
"But I will get it back, right?" Drake asked softly, wriggling his fingers again. They all moved, but the movement did seem a bit jerky.
"This is as new to me as it is to you, but we have no reason to believe you won't make a full recovery with time and patience." Julie reassured him. "But for now, perhaps you'd feel more comfortable on your bed?"
Drake sighed, then nodded. With David and Julie working together they got Drake back up on the bed easily enough.
"I need to see Bob straight away." Drake said the moment he was settled back on the bed.
"Who's Bob? Your publicist?" Julie asked.
Drake gave a little snort. "Manager, but 'e's me best mate first."
"Is he a sorcerer?" Julie asked shrewdly.
"'A course 'e is." Drake muttered, scrubbing his fingers through his limp hair. "All my people are. Well, the important ones anyway. I dunno as they're class sorcerers, mind you, since none of 'em got trained up formal like, but they've all got the spark if ya know what I mean."
"I'm going to take a wild stab and guess they aren't exactly Merlineans." Julie ventured.
Drake gave a little amused snort. "Not exactly." He replied.
"Well, in that case, I'm afraid we're going to have to put off the reunion until you're fit to travel. I will send someone over to notify them of your condition, and if you can work a phone without frying it, you can call them. I would, however, prefer you didn't tell them where you are. It'd start getting pretty obvious where you are if a mob of your groupies started forming at the gate and..." She trailed off, noting that Drake didn't seem to be paying attention anymore. His head had shifted over towards the wall with the window. The lighting was dim, but it looked as if he seemed to be concentrating on something. The oddest part was that his eyes weren't trained on the window itself, but rather the wall several feet to the right of it.
"Drake?" David asked tentatively.
"Hmm?" Drake said distractedly, then his head shifted a bit, indicating he was paying attention again, though the direction of his gaze didn't change. "Oh... sure. Whatever, love. Don't bother. Jacob's almost here. They must've been searching for me."
Balthazar went over to the window and pulled open the edge of the shade a bit to peek outside.
"Bloody 'ell!" Drake snapped in a pained voice, jerking almost as if struck and clapping his hand over his eyes.
Balthazar realized his mistake and quickly replaced the shade. "Sorry." He said apologetically.
Vicky flitted back into the room and hurried up to the bed, offering a pair of very dark glasses to Drake.
They looked bulky and completely without his usual class, but the wrap around fit appeared more than adequate to block out light, so he took them and put them on anyway. "Thanks, Love." he said appreciatively.
Vicky beamed. "Those are some of the ones they give to people who've had their eyes dilated, so you shouldn't have any more problems with the light." She said quickly, her barely contained excitement rather obvious. "You're awesome!" She let out in a little, excited voice that bordered on a squeal, bouncing a bit on her toes.
He treated her to a warm smile. "It's nice to see not everyone 'ere hates me."
"Jacob?" Balthazar prompted, obviously hoping Drake would elaborate.
"One of the birds named 'im that on a bit of a lark. I'm not a fan meself, mind you, but it seems to suit 'im, so..." He finished with a shrug, followed by a slight grimace. He rolled his shoulders a bit, then winced and desisted.
"Who exactly is 'Jacob', and how can he track you?" Julie asked with concern, folding her arms over her chest.
"Never you mind, love." Drake replied with a little smile, "Just mind you stay outta 'is way."
They turned and looked towards the door as a startled shriek sounded somewhere in the building. Drake's grin widened as the screams came closer, accompanied by the sounds of things crashing to the ground and people scrambling out of the way.
"Just what did you set loose in my hospital?" Julie asked fearfully.
Drake chuckled softly, "The question is, what did you set loose? You really should have told 'em where I was." He looked over, seeming to track something through the wall, "Atta boy, Jacob." Drake purred expectantly, "Come to daddy."
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A/N – I know, short and a little bit of a cliffy, but I've had most of this sitting around for ages, and I just wanted to give you an update. Not to mention I wanted to wipe the page clean and start fresh in hopes that it would help get the muse going, you know? Anyhow, please review.