Dance of the Gods Page 34

“Oh God, oh God!” Blair sprinted to him, reaching him a full stride before the others. “Wait, be careful. We have to see if he broke anything.”

She began to run her hands over him even as Glenna did the same. Then she felt the raw skin at the back of his neck, and slowly brushed his hair aside.

She stared up into Moira’s brimming eyes. “He’s been bitten.”

“Oh God, sweet God. But he’s not changed.” Moira lifted one of his limp hands to her lips. “He couldn’t be out in the sun if he’d been changed.”

“No, not changed. And not broken. Banged up pretty good. His pulse is really thready, Glenna.”

“Let’s get him inside.”

“He needs food.” Moira hurried ahead as Hoyt and Blair lifted Larkin. “It would be like one of us going without food for days. Food and liquids. I’ll get something.”

“The sofa in the parlor,” Glenna ordered. “I’ll go get what I need.”

Once they’d laid him on the sofa, Blair crouched by his head. He was white as death, and bruises were already gathering. “It’s okay, you’re home now. That’s what counts. You’re home.”

“Cian—Cian said to start with this.” Moira rushed in with a large glass of orange juice. “To get the fluids and the sugar into him.”

“Yeah, good. Gotta bring him around. Come on, flyboy.”

“Here, let me try this.” Glenna knelt at the side of the sofa. She dipped her thumb into a jar of balm, smeared it first on the center of his forehead. “On the chakras,” she explained as she worked. “A little chi balancing. Moira, take his other hand, push some of your strength out. You know how. Blair, talk to him again, the way I told you to when he was flying. It’ll reach him. Hoyt?”

“Yes.” Hoyt laid his hands on either side of Blair’s head. “Tell him to come back.”

“Come on, Larkin, you’ve got to wake up. Can’t just lie around all day. Besides, breakfast is ready. Please wake up now. I’ve been waiting for you.” She pressed his hand to her cheek. “Watching for you. His fingers moved! All the way out, Larkin, that’s enough damn drama for the day.”

His eyelids fluttered. “Why are women always nagging a man?”

“Guess that’s just what it takes,” she managed.

“Here we are now, here.” Moira moved around the couch to lift his head, to hold the glass to it.

He drank like a camel, then managed to smile at her. “There’s my sweetheart. Look at this, what a picture. Three beautiful faces. I’d give you all my worldly goods and a lifetime of devotion if you’d get me something to eat.”

It was Cian who stepped in, holding a small plate with two pieces of dry toast. “You’ll need to start slow.” He exchanged a look with Blair. She met it, then squeezed her eyes shut. Nodded.

“Don’t bolt it down,” she warned.

“Just bread. Can’t I have meat? I swear I could eat a whole side of venison. Or that lovely dish you make, Glenna, with the balls of meat and the noodles.”

“I’ll make it tonight.”

“You need to have just enough to take the edge off,” Blair began, “to get a little strength back. You eat a full meal, you’ll just boot it—vomit,” she explained, “when we’re taking care of the bite.”

“It was the little one, her boy. Little bastard. I was a wolf at the time, so it didn’t go as deep as it might have.”

“Glenna has balm. She used it on me when I was bitten.” Moira stroked Larkin’s hair. “It’s a terrible burn, I know, but the balm cools it.”

“You weren’t bitten,” Cian said flatly. “A scrape, not a puncture.”

“What difference does it make?”

“Quite a bit.” Blair straightened. “There’s infection, and there’s also considerable risk of the one who bit you having some control over you.”

“Aye.” Larkin frowned, closed his eyes. “I felt something working in me. But—”

“We’ll take care of it. It needs to be purified with holy water.”

“That’s fine. Then if I could have the lovely balm Moira spoke of, and a meal, I’d be good as new—but for the fact every bone of my body feels as if it’s been hit with a hammer.”

Straight truth, Blair thought. Straight, hard truth. “Do you know the burn you felt when it sank into you? The burn you’re feeling now?”

“I do.”

“This will be a lot worse. I’m sorry.” She walked out, hurried up the steps. And Moira rushed out behind her.

“There must be another way. How can we hurt him again? He’s still so weak, and already in pain. I can see the pain in his eyes.”

“You think I can’t?” She swung into her room. “There is no other way.”

“I know it says there isn’t in the books. I’ve read them. But with Glenna and Hoyt—”

Blair pulled a bottle of holy water from her kit, and her face was set when she whirled around. “There is no other way. He’s infected. That puts him and all of us at risk.” She shot out her arm, turned up her wrist to show the scar. “I know what it’s like. If there was another way, don’t you think I’d try it?”

Moira shuddered out a breath. “What can I do?”

“You can help hold him down.”

She took down towels, bandages. She made herself walk to Larkin, look straight into his eyes. “This is going to hurt.”

“It’s going to hurt,” Cian added, “like a motherfucker.”

“Oh well.” Larkin licked his lips. “That’s heartening.”

“I might be able to block some of the pain,” Glenna began.

“I don’t think you can, or should.” Blair shook her head. “It’s part of it. It’s the way it’s done. Here, we need to get him on the floor, facedown. Get those towels under him. Cian, you’d better take his feet. Wouldn’t want any to splash on you.”

Larkin winced as they shifted him. “What would he need to take my feet for?”

“We’re going to hold you down,” Blair told Larkin.

“I don’t need—”

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