Chapter Eight-Knock Knock
The knock on the door the next morning came too soon. Azkedelia groaned and got up, walking to the door. Instead of Donia, Merlin was standing there, holding a tray with gauze, bandages, herbs, and a pestle.
He held the tray forwards. "Nurse's orders."
Azkedelia stepped back and let him in. "You're going to have to do it. I can't dress it myself."
Merlin nodded and set the tray on her bed. "Sit."
Azkedelia sat on the edge of the bed and pulled her hair over her right shoulder. She pulled the left side of her top down a bit more, exposing the full wound.
Merlin inhaled sharply. "All that's from Pyro?"
Azkedelia nodded. "That and almost every bruise all over."
Merlin gently pushed Azkedelia's top to the right. His fingertips gently ran over the bruises. "Az, I know this is going to be awkward, but…"
"Can I put on something that covers less? Only as long as you keep your mind and fingers in check."
Merlin gritted his teeth. "Right now I'm too mad at Pyro to think of anything else."
Azkedelia walked into the bathroom. "Then maybe you should just worry about the scratches."
Merlin shook his head. "I want to help as much of it as I can."
Azkedelia walked back out of the bathroom in a black robe with a winding flame that started on the bottom left and worked its way up across to her right sleeve. She sat back on the bed and pulled the top down, exposing her upper back. Merlin sharply inhaled again.
"Merlin, please don't do anything rash. This is nothing compared to what usually happens during a phoenix fight for dominance."
Merlin put a long, thin, green leaf in the pestle and started grinding. "This is nothing?"
Azkedelia nodded. "If Pyro and I both had wanted to fight, then I would be covered in marks from his talons and beak."
Merlin nodded as he added more herbs to the mixture in the pestal. He grabbed a square of muslin and pressed it against the mouth of a glass bottle. Merlin tilted the glass upside down and then set it back on the tray after putting the lid back on it. Gently, he wiped the scratches. Azkedelia knew he was doing his best not to hurt her, even though she still winced every time the fabric ran across her skin.
"Does it hurt?"
Azkedelia grimaced. "Well it doesn't feel too good."
Merlin smiled. "Still a sense of humor even through pain."
"Only because it keeps me from crying out in pain."
Merlin grabbed a soft towel from the tray. "It hurts that bad?"
Azkedelia nodded. "Pyro's talons were sharp."
Merlin gently put his thumb and forefinger on her shoulder. "It's rather deep. It'll probably take a long time to heal."
"Even with the faster phoenix healing in mind?"
Merlin nodded and dipped two fingers in the poultice in the pestle. Azkedelia gasped as Merlin gently rubbed the cool liquid across her shoulder.
"Az, you might want to hold on to something for this."
Azkedelia nodded and grabbed the black wooden headboard. Merlin wrapped gauze around her shoulder and then pulled it tight and tied it.
Merlin leaned forwards and kissed the bandage. "A kiss to help it heal."
Azkedelia smiled. "Well if that's how you're going to be, I split my lip last night."
Merlin laughed. "I'm sure you did, Az." Merlin grabbed Azkedelia's sling off her bed and helped settle her arm into it.
"I don't see why I have to wear this."
Merlin wiped his fingers off on a towel. "So you won't stress your shoulder while it heals."
Azkedelia nodded. "So is that it?"
Merlin shook his head. "No. I haven't started on all the bruises yet."
Azkedelia groaned in mock protest. "But that's going to take forever!"
Merlin laughed. "You're first class isn't until ten."
"And when's your first class?"
Merlin pulled the back of Azkedelia's robe down farther. "This is it. I work in the infirmary for my first class."
Azkedelia smiled. "So I'm your assignment in this class?"
Merlin laughed. "Just until you're healed."
Azkedelia laughed. "Then maybe I should get hurt more often."
"Now why do that when you'll see me anyway?" Merlin lightly ran his fingers over her back, looking over all the bruises. He picked up some small white flowers and mixed those with the poultice. He dipped two fingers in the mixture and gently wiped it across Azkedelia's bruised back.
She shivered. "That feels better already."
Merlin smiled. "So I am a good healer?"
Merlin dipped his fingers back in the poultice. "Good."
Azkedelia smiled. "Almost done?"
Merlin nodded. "Yes." His eyes fell on a scar that started in the middle of her back. Merlin brushed her hair to the side. "Az, what's this?"
Merlin gently traced the crooked scars. "What are these from?"
Azkedelia closed her eyes. "From Atlantis' first change into a wulfen. I didn't know what was going on and I was standing too close. She apologizes every time she sees it now. I don't think she's ever forgiven herself for it."
Merlin nodded and moved his hand, letting Azkedelia's long curls fall back into place. "All done."
Azkedelia started pulling her robe back up. Merlin helped her get it over the bandage. He gathered everything up and put it back on the tray. Azkedelia turned around and looked at Merlin.
He looked up and laughed. "What?"
Azkedelia cocked her head. "Just wondering how you made it to my room unscathed."
"Ah, that." Merlin moved the tray from her bed to the table. "The nurse wrote me a note saying I was to treat you and Donia let me through."
Azkedelia nodded and continued to watch him.
Merlin looked at her. "Is there something you wanted?"
Azkedelia pulled her legs closer. "Maybe there is, maybe there isn't. That's for me to know and you to find out."
Merlin walked back to the bed and put one hand on Azkedelia's hip.
Azkedelia reached out and pulled Merlin closer. "Kiss me."
Merlin's lips were almost to hers. "As if you needed to ask." Merlin closed the last few centimeters between their lips. Azkedelia pulled Merlin closer until he was pressed against the edge of the bed. Merlin deepened the kiss. His hand on Azkedelia's hip slid around to her back, pressing her against him.
Merlin slowly pulled back and brushed his lips across her jaw. "Get dressed and I'll walk you to your class."