172: Healer’s Orders

on March 7, 2008 in 06: A Period of Conflict

In Which Everybody Winds Up In Bed With Mackenzie

“Hi, Mack!” Two said.

“Hi, Two,” I said.

“Hey, hon,” Steff said.

“Hello, baby,” Amaranth said, coming over to the bed and leaning over to give me a hug.

“I’m feeling better now,” I said, returning the embrace with all my heart. If I had died… if I’d slipped away in my sleep… we’d have been separated forever. I didn’t know if immortal spirits like nymphs had an afterlife, but it sure wouldn’t be anywhere near where I was likely to end up. “Much better now that you’re here.”

“That’s good to hear,” Amaranth said. “Healer Lynette seemed to think you were in a bit of a grumpy mood.”

Grumpy? What was I, six or something? There was just something annoyingly maternal about the way she said it. She was my lover and my owner… not my mother.

“Don’t listen to anything she says,” I said. “She’s got it in for me, for some reason.”

“She’s looking out for you,” Amaranth said. “Oh, did Sooni come and visit you, too?” She bent over me and picked up the stupid high school comic I’d just finished.

“What? No,” I said. “I think Ian must have brought that.”

“I don’t think so,” Two said, shaking her head. She started sorting through them, holding up the Imperial titles. “He brought this one, and this one, and this one, and…”

“Oh, will you put a freaking sock in it?” I said. Every word was like a spike thrusting my ears straight into my brain.

“But he did,” Two said to Amaranth.

“She’s right, Mack,” Amaranth said. “Ian didn’t have any of these eastern-style ones with him.” She pointed to some symbols on the back. “These look like Yokanese.”

“Yokano,” I corrected. “And how do you know what Yokano writing looks like?”

“Well, I have done a lot of reading, you know,” she said.

“Why would Sooni visit me?” I asked, temporarily forgetting my theory that Sooni had brought over my logic homework. “To rub in the fact that she stomped me into the floor?”

“Maybe she wanted to make up with you?” she said.

I snorted.

“What?” Amaranth asked.

“Sooni’s not the sort of person who makes out with the people she beats up,” I said.

“Up,” Steff said, hiding half a smile behind her hand.

“What?”

“Makes up with the people she beats up,” Steff said.

“Well, what the hell did I say?” I asked.

“Makes out.”

I glared at her.

“I did not,” I said. Had I? I didn’t think so.

“Maybe we should just come back later, when you’re feeling better,” Amaranth said, moving away.

“No!” I said. I lunged sideways and threw my arms around her waist. “I want you to stay.”

“Then you can start acting like it,” Amaranth said. “I know you’ve had a rough time, and it must be very frightening to have come…”

“I’m not scared,” I said.

“You were dying, Mack.”

“Yeah, and I wasn’t even conscious for it,” I said. “From the moment I woke up last night I’ve felt nothing but fine except for the fact that I’m locked in a freezing room and being treated like a baby.”

A small, annoying voice piped up in my head to point out that I was acting like a baby, but I pushed it aside. I was hurt. I was sick. I was being confined against my will.

I was entitled.

“Oh, poor baby,” Amaranth said. She lifted up the covers and slid in beside me, pressing her front into my side. “Scoot over.”

“No,” Steff said, climbing on the other side of me and crawling up to the head of the bed. “Stay where you are.”

“I don’t think this bed was made for more than one person,” Two said, looking on with a mixture of horror and fascination in her big blue eyes.

She had a point. Steff and I might have been able to lay side-by-side, and maybe I could have spooned with Amaranth, but the three of us was pushing things.

“Things” in this case meaning me. I was definitely being squished… the part of my thigh that was lined up with Steff’s crotch more so than the rest of me.

I wasn’t complaining. I felt the impulse to, but it was no match for the competition.

“Sit down, Two,” Amaranth said, and Two started for one of the metal chairs set against the wall. “No, honey, on the bed.”

“But there are chairs for sitting on,” Two said.

“Come join us,” Steff said. “Be with your friends.”

Indecision played across Two’s face.

“Okay,” she said, nodding. She came over and sat down on the edge of the foot of the bed… very gingerly, as if she expected somebody to burst through the door at any moment and accuse her of mal-furniture-use.

Amaranth and Steff pressed in closer and, grabbed by simultaneous impulses, each kissed me on the cheek.

“We love you, baby,” Amaranth whispered.

“Love you, Mack,” Steff said.

“I love all of you… guys,” Two said.

“I love you all, too,” I said, and felt my eyes tearing up.

We remained like that for several minutes, Amaranth stroking my hair while I nuzzled my head against her, and Steff kissing the side of my face and neck. Her erection still pressed up against me, under the blankets, but she behaved herself.

Mostly. Her hands did a little exploring under my healing robe.

“What the hell are you wearing?”

I blushed.

“Two’s pajamas,” I said.

“Did you like them?” Two asked. “They’re so pretty.”

It wasn’t hard at all to resist the urge to wipe the smile off her face.

“I find my own more comfortable,” I said. True, not overly negative, but also not likely to lead to more opportunities to swap jammies. “If they make me stay another night, will you bring me my own?”

I watched Two think about this for a few seconds. Her eyes looked at me for a cue, then at Amaranth. I looked at Amaranth and saw her lip trembling. She was torn. I wanted her to give Two directions if she started to get upset, but no sooner. Would she manage that?

Then, Two made up her mind.

“Yes,” she said. “I will.”

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

“And how’s our special guest doing?” Lynette said, coming into the room. “Oh, no way is this going down,” she said. “Everybody who is not a patient, out of bed.”

Two stood up like somebody had bit her on the butt, and Amaranth likewise slid out from under the covers without further prompting, but Steff stayed where she was, running her hands over me in a very visible way while she spoke to Lynette.

“I could be your patient,” Steff said. Her voice still held a bit of flatness, but there were playful notes, like rays of sun peaking through the clouds. “I’ve got this horrific swelling I’d like you to take a look at…”

“We have all seen your swelling, Steff,” Lynette said. “Out of bed, before I kick you and your friends out of the room.”

Steff climbed out of bed, making no effort to conceal her very obvious state of arousal. How had I missed that for so long? I guess I’d seen what I expected to see.

“Why don’t you go take care of that?” Lynette said.

“Sorry,” Steff said, not sounding very sorry at all. “I’m not permitted to do that right now.”

“I was hoping you could kill two birds with one stone,” Lynette said. “The ladies’ room is still sanctified from the other day.”

“Still?” I asked.

“We don’t really do ‘unholy’ around here,” Lynette said. “It’s not like an enchantment you can just dissolve. Well, maybe you could. On a related subject, Candace is pulling the overnight tonight.”

“Oh, I am so out of here before then,” I said.

“Who’s Candace?” Amaranth asked.

“You know those icons the dogmatics have in their temples?” Steff said. “Candace is like that: holy as all get out, but with a head full of marble.”

“I’d like nothing more than for you to be gone before she gets in,” Lynette said. “But I’m having a diviner come down to measure your energy levels in the evening and I can’t really make a decision before then.”

“Why can’t you check now?” I asked.

“You want me to decide based on your levels now or after another ten or twelve hours of recovery time?” Lynette said. “Don’t worry, she’s been given a verbal reprimand and a reminder of university policies and her oaths.”

“That’s going to be a big comfort when she starts blessing my room,” I said.

“I’ll make sure to get you your supper and a sleeping potion before she comes on,” Lynette said. “You won’t even have to see her. Just be glad you don’t have more in the way of physical needs.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“She could do a lot of damage with a blessed bed pan.”

“Hey… speaking of which,” Amaranth said, in a forced casual tone. “Is there any possibility I could borrow one of those and one of these robe things?” She giggled. “It’s for purely spiritual purposes, of course.”

“I’m sorry,” Lynette said, with a wry smile. “If I let you conduct religious rites with our equipment, I’d have to let Candace do the same.”

“Oh, fooey,” Amaranth said, scrunching up her lips.

“Maybe it’s none of my business… you know, never mind,” Lynette said to Amaranth. “Forget I said anything.”

“No, please,” Amaranth replied. “I believe in open, honest communication.”

“Well, how do you think your goddess would feel about you… dating, or whatever you’re doing… somebody of her race?” Lynette asked.

“Oh, we’ve… we’ve talked about it,” Amaranth said.

“You’ve actually spoken with her?”

“Yes,” Amaranth said. She reached up and tugged at the skin of her lip. “She’s… okay with it. I mean, she hasn’t told me no, so…”

She shrugged.

“Interesting,” Lynette said.

“What is?” I asked.

“Nothing,” Lynette said. “I’m not trying to offend anybody… I definitely don’t want you getting excited or upset, in your state. I’m just curious, I guess. I probably shouldn’t have asked.”

“It’s fine,” Amaranth said. “We’ve always been very open about our relationship.”

Steff snorted. “That’s an understatement.”

“It’s none of my business,” Lynette said. “Really, I just came in here to make sure you’d drunk the tea… which I can see you didn’t.”

“I wanted…”

“Lemonade,” Lynette said. “I remember. But if you don’t drink the tea, your energy’s not going to recover as fast. I thought you wanted to get out of here?”

I sighed and picked up the cup.

“It’s cold,” I said.

“It wouldn’t be if you’d taken it when I brought it in,” Lynette said. “I can warm it up for you.”

“I can do that,” Two said.

“That’s fine,” I said. “But I can actually…”

“No!” Lynette and Amaranth said at the same time.

“Baby, no,” Amaranth said, in a sultry tone I’d rather she hadn’t employed in front of anybody outside our immediate circle. “You’re supposed to be resting. No magic at all.”

“But fire’s my strongest suit,” I said. “Surely I could…”

She cut me off with an over-the-glasses glare.

“Listen to the healer,” she said. “And let Two heat up your tea. You know she’s happy to do it.”

I sighed, defeated, and handed the mug to Amaranth, who passed it to Two without looking. Two did a small chant over it and handed it back. Under Amaranth’s watchful eyes, I drained the mug of the slightly bitter liquid.

“Do I need to be naked in order to get that kind of obedience?” Lynette asked.

“There’s really only one way to find out,” Steff said.

Amaranth kept her eyes focused on me.

“I don’t think you’re going to have any further troubles from my Mack,” she said, continuing in the same sexy purr. “I think she’s going to be nothing but perfectly obedient for the rest of her stay, no matter how long that is. Isn’t that right, baby?”

“Yes, ma’am,” I mumbled, ducking my head.

“What’s that?”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said louder.

“She’s going to follow all instructions and say ‘please’ when she asks for something and ‘thank you’ when she gets it,” Amaranth continued. “Right?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“And she’s going to wear pretty pajamas to bed,” Two said.

Amaranth sputtered a laugh.

“Two, I’ve told you, you’re not in charge of her sleepwear,” she said. “But… hmm… I think maybe some small punishment is in order for your recent behavior. Mack, remove your robe.”

“Whoa,” Lynette said. “Hold on now. This is…”

Amaranth held up a hand. “Don’t worry,” she said. “She’s got something on beneath it. What are you waiting for, baby? If you want to make me say it a second time, we can put Two in charge of your sleepwear.”

Glowing red from head to toe, I pulled off the flimsy robe and handed it to Amaranth who handed it to Lynette.

“Now you’re dressed for bed!” Two said, beaming. After a few seconds, she added “Pretty! Isn’t she pretty, Steff?”

“Yes, she is,” Steff said. “Pretty as a picture.”

Amaranth sighed.

“I think we’ve probably got to get going,” she said. “Classes. Can we come back over lunch?” she asked Lynette.

“Sure,” Lynette said. “You can bring her food, if you want.”

“We can have a picnic,” Two said. “It’s okay to eat without a table if you’re having a picnic,” she explained, as though for Lynette’s benefit. “Though I’d rather have a table than a picnic.”

“I, uh, see,” Lynette said. “Well, I’ll clear out for a bit so you can say your goodbyes. I’ll be back in a few minutes with another mug of tea, though.”

“Goodbye,” Two said to her as she left. “Bye, Mack.”

“We’re not leaving just yet, sweetie,” Amaranth said.

“Can you see if Ian will come?” I asked Amaranth.

“Sure, baby,” Amaranth said. “Do you want us to bring Dee and Celia, too?”

I shook my head.

“Just you guys,” I said.

“Okay,” Amaranth said.

“Can I bring my friend Hazel?” Two asked. “She likes picnics.”

“No, Two, not today,” Amaranth said.

“But…”

“Mack’s not feeling well enough for visitors,” Amaranth said. “Except for us, because we’re like family.”

“Oh,” Two said. “Okay.”

“Oh, that reminds me,” I said, and I explained to Amaranth my decisions about the emergency contact form. “Is that okay?”

“Well… you do want to talk to Ian about it,” she said. “But I can’t imagine he’ll mind. Though… um…”

“What?”

“Are you sure you want to cut your grandmother out like that?” she asked.

I nodded.

“Don’t you have any other family, though?”

“Not really,” I said. “Aunts and uncles I didn’t see very often before I turned, and not at all after.”

“Well, maybe this is the time to get re-acqua…”

I shook my head, and the expression on my face convinced her.

“Well, okay,” Amaranth said. “I wish you felt differently, though.”

“But you’re not going to order me to?” I asked.

“No,” she said. “I wouldn’t do that.” She came closer and leaned over, kissing me. “Feel better, okay, baby?”

“I’ll try,” I said.

“We’ll see you later, hon,” Steff said.

“Bye, Mack!”

“Bye, Two.”


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5 Responses to “172: Healer’s Orders”

  1. pedestrian says:

    oops, shouldn’t Mackenzie have asked TWO if she was willing to be a contact?

    Current score: 3
  2. Arakano says:

    I don’t think I’d have to ask my sister first before putting her as my emergency contact…

    Current score: 2
    • Pamela says:

      I probably would. Of course, half the time I don’t have a current phone number for her… or know in what state she lives….

      Current score: 3
  3. nobody says:

    I would need an old enough sister and a stronger survival instinct to even consider it.

    Current score: 2
    • nobody says:

      To clarify I am not suicidal, I simply have no strong desire to avoid dying.

      Current score: 2