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Later that afternoon, Dom sat at Kel's bedside writing the reports on their mission. Candles burned, shining through the cold and dark that the rainy skies had created. The rest of the infirmary was silent save for the sounds of an apprentice healer counting inventory. Dom had volunteered to stay and watch over her so that the Duke could get some proper rest in his own bed. Neal had been awoken and escorted to his rooms by Tobe not long after he had seen Kel. Dom had given a report to his squad on her condition before informing them they had the next few days to rest after their journey.
As for Kel, her condition had not changed. The sound of her raspy breath concerned the sergeant, but his uncle had reassured him that it was from the fever and coughing. Dom was just finishing with a report for Lord Raoul when a knock sounded at the door. Frowning, the blue eye man stood and quietly opened it. The man who he was writing to stood on the other side, Buri right behind him.
"My lord? Aren't you supposed to be on your honeymoon?" he asked softly, not wanting to wake Kel. The man gave a small smile.
"Ah Sergeant, do you really think I would be able to rest knowing that my former squire is here at the palace injured? Besides, Minthros knows what you and the men been up to." This brought a smile to Dom's face and he ushered the pair in. Buri gasped at the sight of the girl. Raoul let out a low growl, his smile vanishing from his face.
"I trust whoever did this was taken care of?"
"I did so personal sir."
"Good," the response came from man and wife. Buri stroked Kel's cheek.
"She is very warm."
"She caught a fever on the ride here from the cold and rain. She woke up earlier and just the act of taking a drink and speaking wore her out entirely. Duke Baird says that it will be at least a week or two before her bones heal, but the main concern is her temperature."
Raoul stepped up to Kel as Dom explained this. His large hand gently brushed her sweaty hair from her forehead. Noticing that the cooling cloth on her forehead was warm, he removed it and dunked it in the basin that sat on the bedside table. He wrung it out and replaced it back where it had been. Buri and Dom exchanged a look.
"Sir, would you mind staying with her while I fetch something to eat? I had not realized it was so late…"
"And I must report to Thayet that we have returned." When the man nodded, they left to give him some privacy to the pair.
Raoul just stared at the girl before him. How was it possible for her to be like this? It wasn't normal to see her like this, all sick and hurt. HE knew Alanna was probably furious at the men who had done this, but Dom had said he had taken care of the men who did it. Dom. His sergeant had looked exhausted from worry. It was not hard for him to see that the pair loved each other, even if they themselves had no idea. Kel gave a deep, painful cough, startling him from his thoughts. Raoul quietly shushed her, rubbing her cheek with his fingertips in an attempt to calm her. His hand froze as she cracked open her hazel eyes. They were blurry and unfocused with sleep as well as fever. The lady knight blinked and looked at him.
"M'lord…" she croaked, coughing once more. The knight took the glass of water that sat on the night table and held it too her lips, his left hand cradling her head so she could drink.
"Take it easy Kel," he spoke tenderly. When she finished he laid her back and return the glass to its place.
"Buri…you're supposed…honeymoon," she breathed, her breath coming short with the effort to talk.
"Shh, that's nonsense Kel. We couldn't be on leave knowing that you were here injured. We left a bell after Jon contacted us with the message." A frown crossed her features. She couldn't remember anything except for a few flashes of Neal and Dom's faces. The big man chuckled at her expression.
"Don't worry Mindelan. You didn't miss much. Is there anything I can get you?" She shook her head weakly. It was then that he felt a trembling from the bed.
"Are you alright Kel? You're shaking," he asked, voice full of concern.
"Cold…" she mumbled fighting to remain awake.
The man stood and went to the door. He poked his head out and asked for another blanket from the apprentice. The boy gave him a plush fleece cloth and Raoul gave his thanks. Gently he spread the blanket over Kel. A knock sounded at the door. Puzzled, Raoul stood and opened to the faces of Kel's parents.
"Raoul is Kel in here," asked Ilane. He stepped aside so they could enter. The woman burst into tears at the sight of the youngest child.
"Mama? Papa?" she croaked, holding out her uninjured hand. The older woman grasped it and kissed her daughter's cheek. Piers clapped Raoul on the shoulder in silent thanks for watching her. The knight bid his leave and left the family. Ilane cupped her daughter's cheek in her hand, giving her a watery smile.
"You just can't stay out of trouble, can you?" Her husband scoffed.
"That is an understatement my dear." Kel softly smiled at the pair. They began to fill her in on all the news from home. Kel was half asleep when Dom returned with Neal in tow. The later greeted her parents and Dom gave a nod of hello. Politely excusing himself, Neal moved to where Ilane stood. He rested a glowing green hand on Kel's forehead.
"Your fever is still present and you need rest. I will be right back with something to try to bring down the fever. Oh and Yuki says hello." He left the four standing there in silence until Ilane spoke.
"I do not believe we have met…"
"Oh! I apologize. I am Sergeant Domitian of Masbolle of the Third Company in the King's Own. I rode with Kel during her squire years and with her during this past mission. Neal is my younger cousin."
"I thought you two looked alike." Dom gave a sad sigh and nodded gravely.
"I heard that," drawled Neal as he entered with a nasty looking beverage. Dom opened his mouth to reply, but Kel shook her head smiling. "Drink this Kel, all of it."
She gave a look of disgust, but let her mother help her sit up anyway. Neal held the glass to her lips and she forced half of it down before she pushed him away weakly.
"Come now Mother, you must drink all of it," scolded Neal.
"This is payback for the vegetables isn't it?" she croaked. He gave a wicked grin and held the glass to her lips once more. She managed to swallow the rest and Dom handed Neal a fresh glass of water. When that was gone Neal turned to Kel's parents and Dom.
"I apologize, but I must ask you to leave the room while I check her injuries and then she must rest. You may come back later tonight." They all nodded and bid Kel goodbye. Neal gave her a stern look.
"Now I need to know in complete honesty how must you hurt right now."
"Bad," she whispered, exhaustion finally showing in her voice. She had put up a strong face for her parents, but it was just them now. He nodded and his hand rested on her head.
"Rest Kel." And she did.