The After Effects

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Feverish Thoughts

Thanks to my father's "welcoming home", I was unconscious before I could even regret making a deal with him.

When I woke up, I found myself in my old dungeon cell. It hadn't changed at all, the same smells and sights greeted me when I had woken up laying on my familiar filthy old cot.

The guard had placed me on my stomach, thankfully. So I was careful as too not move, considering my back was shredded and exposed for all to see. My back was still bleeding, that much was evident thanks to the fresh blood coating the cot beside me.

A groan rumbled from my throat whenever I took a deep breath, the action too much for my poor back. On top of the agony of my back, my chest also hurt. I was surprised at the feelings the chest pain caused on my heart, I felt as if I was missing something due to Rorek's distance from me.

Not much I can do about it now, I groaned, shifting slightly before passing back out. My dreams consisted of my family and I was not surprised to feel tears running down my face when I awoke a couple of hours later.

For three days, I laid on my stomach while my back screamed with every breath. The bleeding had stopped around the second day, meaning I spent my time sleeping in hopes of gaining back all the blood I had lost. The black spots dancing in my vision stopped by the third day, and I knew I had made it out of the woods, hopefully.

Something that was bittersweet for me.

Bitter, because I was still alive and had to go through with my deal with the King of the North.

Sweet, because I felt a slight hope at seeing my family again someday.

Guards brought me water every six hours if the counting in my head was correct and they brought me stale bread every twelve. Though none of them offered anything for my back, which although it was no longer bleeding, it was getting worse if the smell surrounding me was any sign.

By the fourth day, the cold dungeon was no longer cold. In fact, I spent most of the day covered in sweat and having trouble breathing, a clear sign of infection.

By the fifth day, the black spots came back, along with figments of my imagination. I had started seeing things that weren't there, that much was clear due to the bewildered looks the guards gave me whenever I pointed something out. My body had also started shaking

And by the sixth day, sepsis was very much present in me. I knew that, if not treated, I would die within three days. My thoughts and plotting had slowed significantly and the pain on my back had reached an all-time high.

On the seventh day, after passing out for what felt like the tenth time, I awoke to the sounds of disorder around me. I was unable to care when I heard guards shouting at somebody and somebody shouting back to them. Instead, I tried to drift off back to sleep, hoping that it was my last time.

In my self-proclaimed pity party and period of near-death, I had failed to notice that the pain in my chest had severely lessened, thanks to the big distraction of the burning hell on my back.

"Holland, if you don't let us through, I will have him release the shifter." A voice threatened the guards. Ha, that's funny, I know a shifter and my one guard's name is Holland. "He gave us permission to see her and the shifter will not hesitate to kill you if you continue to deny him the right to see his mate." Ha, that's even funnier, I'm the mate of a shifter. Peeling my crusted eyes open, I looked around the dungeon in the other cells to see who else also was the mate of a shifter.

What my sepsis-clouded-brain failed to realize was that the dungeon was empty, except for me, and that the man threatening my guards was in fact, my spitfire brother.

"Holy Sh-" A male cursed as footsteps approached my cell. That male sounds like the snotty prince I know. I stupidly thought to myself.

A deep rumble followed behind the two males that currently stared down at me. Cool hands suddenly contrasted my feverish skin as I registered that the door to my cell was no longer on its hinges.

Looking up into eyes that briefly registered as familiar, I croaked to the male. "Have you come to bring me more water and stale bread?" A stupid smile crossed my face before my head collapsed back into my crossed arms
"She's not thinking clearly," Someone pointed out.

"Duh," I mumbled to whoever stupidly pointed that out. "I'm dying of sepsis, in fact, I could've sworn I just heard my brother speak." Turning my head so I could look at the three males standing in my small cell, my cloudy vision focused on one of the males. "Hah, that's funny you look just like him too."

Cool hands ghosted up my side, being cautious to avoid my horrendous back as I heard someone suck in a sharp breath.

"Hey handsy," I spoke to whoever was touching me, "Imma need you to not make my back any worse than it is. Now could you all please leave so I can die in peace?" My voice was weak, just like the rest of my body as I tried to muster up some sass to the guards gawking at me.

A low growl followed my words. "Little Dove," A deep voice rumbled as one of the guards crouched in front of me. "I'm going to make you all better, but you have to trust me."

"Whatever you say, big guy," I said, noticing that the guard was unusually large, even for a Viking.

The guard reached into his boot and pulled out a dagger. Watching as he brought the dagger to his upper arm, he cut a deep cut along his elbow. Then he brought his arm to my face while his free hand gently wrapped around my tangled hair.

"Drink," He instructed, his voice soft and trustworthy for some odd reason.

"Weirdo," I mumbled as he guided my head to his arm. His blood, oddly cool when it touched my lips, fell into my mouth.

Like an addict finding their high, I latched on to his arm, going as far as too wrap my arms around his muscled arm. The action pulled at my back, causing me to whimper in pain, but I ignored it in favor of the intoxicating liquid currently sliding down my parched throat.

Sucking and licking, I engorged myself on the guard's blood, greedily and hungrily. I felt as if I hadn't had a drink in years and someone offered me a cool glass of water.

A deep chuckle rumbled from whoever I was drinking from and I blushed. Who's blood am I drinking? I thought. When the blood dried up, the wound healed, I finally unlatched from the heavily muscled arm and turned to its owner.

Amethyst eyes searched my emerald green ones, as my clouded thoughts suddenly retreated and I recognized the dragon shifter staring at me as if I was his whole world.

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