“Why didn’t you kiss me?” Dimitri asked and promptly passed out.
The question flustered me enough that I had to restart my healing spell. The gash on his arm closed up without a scar, but Dimitri didn’t wake up. Given the amount of blood on the ground and soaked into his clothes, my healing spell might not have been enough. I closed the wound but couldn’t replace the blood he’d lost. The muggers wouldn’t be getting back up anytime soon, but we still couldn’t hang around in the streets. I lifted Dimitri before I decided where to take him.
We’d been walking to his apartment, but I’d seen him lock up with a spell last time. I didn’t want to scare his neighbors by testing each enchantment in his watch until the door unlocked. On top of that, he might need a doctor. I turned around and headed for the warehouse. Daniel wouldn’t be there this late, but I didn’t think he’d approve of me bringing Dimitri to his home. We’d called a doctor to the warehouse before. I didn’t know what debt he needed to work off with his services, but I hoped Daniel would forgive some of that debt to help Dimitri.
Thankfully, the streets between the attack and the warehouse stayed empty the whole way. I wasn’t worried about more muggers as much as being caught carrying around an unconscious man covered in blood. I had to improvise my way into the warehouse without the keys to unlock any of the doors. The padlocks on the bay doors were cheaper and easier to replace. I went around the back of the building and set Dimitri down gently. Then I knelt down and used a shatter spell on the lock. Nothing happened. I tried again, and the base of the lock broke apart, leaving the shackle in place. I pulled the curved metal off the door and lifted the bay door. Once I got Dimitri inside, I rested him on a table with his jacket pillowed under his head. I found the pocket watches Greg hadn’t disenchanted yet and used one to tap into the communication spell. Daniel’s image appeared above the watch’s face.
“What’s wrong?” he asked. He knew I wouldn’t call this late unless I had an emergency.
“I need a doctor at the warehouse as soon as possible,” I said.
“I’ll make the call. See you soon,” he said and cut the communication.
With nothing else to do, I waited, watched Dimitri breathe, and thought about his question. I hadn’t kissed him because we’d both been drinking. I had to know that we both wanted it. If the urge had come from a mix of booze, hormones, and our entwined magic, one of us might regret it when we sobered up. Well, I wouldn’t. I knew I wanted him more than I’d wanted anyone before him. My answer to Dimitri’s question didn’t interest me as much as what the question implied. If he’d been wondering why since that night, that meant he wanted me too, didn’t it? He’d had time to sober up and still wished I’d leaned in for a kiss instead of walking away. I didn’t pray often, but I silently begged the first realm not to take him yet.
I heard the front door unlock, but I didn’t want to leave Dimitri’s side. It felt like if I lost sight of him for a second, I’d never see him again. I knew that wasn’t true. He’d been breathing steadily since I’d used my healing spell. But he hadn’t stirred once since losing consciousness and kept my worries firmly in the front of my mind. Daniel walked into the room with the doctor close behind him. They came straight to us, and the doctor started examining Dimitri immediately.
“What happened?” Daniel asked.
“Muggers jumped us on the way home from the bar. We fought, and one of them cut Dimitri’s arm. I healed the wound, but he lost a lot of blood before I got to him,” I explained.
“Was he conscious when you healed him?” the doctor asked.
“Yes,” I said, then corrected myself, “well, he blacked out in the middle, actually.”
“Do you know if he suffered any other damage? Did he hit his head at all?”
“I don’t think so. I didn’t have eyes on him the whole time, but he’d been awake and aware enough to get his jacket off and use it to apply pressure to the cut,” I answered.
“No seizures or other concerning behavior?”
“No, he’s been like this since he passed out,” I said. Dimitri might have looked peaceful if not for the gore marring his clothing. I noticed some blood on his face but couldn’t remember whether it had been there before I put the jacket under his head or not.
“I can’t do anything for him here. He could be fine and just need to sleep this off, or he could need a transfusion. You’d need to take him to the hospital to figure that out,” the doctor said.
“Thank you,” I said. I wanted to demand he do something more but knew it wouldn’t change his answer.
That left me with a decision I didn’t feel qualified to make. If our roles were reversed, I’d hope he’d know not to take me to the hospital. My documents would pass a casual inspection, but the hospital would ask too many questions. I couldn’t risk drawing more attention to myself than necessary. Dimitri didn’t have the same problems, though. As far as I knew, his custom watches were the only illegal thing he’d ever done. Making and using unauthorized spells would get him into a lot of trouble. But an injury from a mugging wouldn’t prompt an investigation likely to find out about that. They’d have no reason to suspect as long as I kept his watch hidden. Would they look into my background if I brought him in, though? Or would I be able to drop him off and walk away without worrying?
“We’ll take him to your house,” Daniel said.
“What?” I asked. Still trying to sort out what would be right for Dimitri.
“You could do the transfusion if you had the supplies, couldn’t you?”
“Yes,” the doctor said cautiously.
“I’ll sort that out. We’ll take him to your house, Jim. He can’t recover comfortably here,” Daniel ordered. It dawned on me that I hadn’t thought any of this through. What would Daniel expect in return for this kind of favor?
“Okay,” I said hesitantly. I couldn’t think of how to back out of it and still didn’t know for sure that the hospital was the right call, anyway.
“Bring him out front. I’ve got a carriage waiting,” Daniel said. I lifted Dimitri automatically. Even with my doubts, some part of me felt comforted by Daniel taking charge. He’d invested in Dimitri. He’d do what it took to see this through.