"It should work," he muttered. "I've repaired the artery temporarily."
Dorian's neck was still seeping blood. "Why can't you finish it?" She lifted her backup gun and, holding it deathly tight, pressed it to his temple. "Do it."
He looked at her without any hint of fear. "I'm a field surgeon, an M-Psy with the capacity to seal certain injuries, hold others until the microsurgeons get there. In this case, the sealant will do a better job than I can."
She pressed the barrel harder into him. "You're a hack?"
"I'm the man who just saved your packmate's life. Look."
She glanced down and the Tk used the chance to try to shove her gun out of her hand. Her arm flew back but the gun remained in her grip. She didn't care. Because the M-Psy had been telling the truth. Dorian wasn't bleeding anymore. But that didn't mean he was out of harm's way. Ashaya's heartbeat was as sluggish as Dorian's. Mercy knew if one died, so would the other.
"He's lost too much blood," the surgeon said, his kit disappearing back into a pocket. "He needs his fluids replaced fast. I don't know what's wrong with the woman. I do physical injuries and she's undamaged."
"Can you do anything about the blood?" Mercy asked.
"Possibly." He looked over his shoulder. "Emergency saline kit. Storage unit 1B, left-hand side. Telepathing the image."
The supplies appeared in the Tk's hand almost before the M-Psy finished speaking. He handed them over. "We have thirty seconds before our absence is noted."
The M-Psy worked in furious silence. "This is field surgery at its roughest. The paramedics shouldn't be long." He shoved a strange-looking needle into Dorian's vein with dexterity that spoke of experience, then pulled it out, leaving behind some kind of a small port. Attaching the saline line directly to that port, he told Mercy to hold up the bag of liquid, twisted a valve to release it, and said, "Go."
Both men blinked out, taking their tools with them. Mercy looked down and saw the rough IV was functioning exactly as it should. "Thank God for arrogant surgeons." She knew it was still touch-and-go, but at least now these two had a shot. God, please, they had to have a shot. "Don't you f**king die on me, Blondie."
"Mercy." It was Yelena, her voice wobbly. "The call, it was Faith. She said she asked for help, wanted to tell me to tell you not to shoot them."
Mercy looked at the gun in her hand, then up at Yelena. "Our little secret?"
Giving a tearful laugh, Yelena went to take the saline bag.
"I've got it."
"No." A gentle hand on her arm. "You have to stay on guard... in case they come back."
But, as things fell out, the enemy didn't come back. The next to arrive were the paramedics, followed by a swarm of DarkRiver men and women led by a cold-eyed jaguar who rode guard on the two critically injured, then proceeded to lock down security in an entire wing of the hospital.
Vaughn bit out order after order until no one but Pack could get in. An oddly groggy Faith - her vision the reason Vaughn had arrived on the scene so quickly - took a seat in the corridor and told them she was scanning for psychic threats. Clay arrived over an hour later, having had to make the drive from Dorian's cabin. He brought a comatose Amara Aleine with him. "I left Jamie and Desiree in charge of the perimeter," he said, as he put Amara on a gurney and shoved a hand through his hair. "Sascha and Luc are on their way up. Sascha looks like hell." He frowned, eyes on Faith. "Like you."
Faith rubbed at her temples. "When Sascha realized what was happening, she shoved energy down Lucas's blood bond to Dorian. She took it from herself, Lucas, and me. Lucas probably doesn't look as bad because he's alpha - he's just stronger."
"Why not use the rest of us, too?" Mercy scowled.
"She had to take it from the people she knew would lower their shields in an instant. Even with her ability to get through changeling shields, it would've taken too long otherwise."
"Faith's right." Sascha's tired voice, as she came through the doors with Lucas's arm around her waist. "It only worked with Dorian because he was desperate to save Ashaya. When I shoved at his shields, he didn't hesitate to let me in."
Faith got up. "You saved their lives."
Sascha shook her head as they walked into the room where all three - Dorian, Ashaya, and Amara - lay. "It would've been too little too late if Ashaya hadn't held on for those first critical moments." She broke away to go to Dorian's side. Her fingers trembled as she brushed his hair off his forehead. "He came within a second of dying."
She's injured, extremely vulnerable, but we can't reach her. I'd suggest waiting - if the Council backs off, the changelings will drop their guard. We can take her then. If she dies, we move on. We still have the drug.
- E-mail from Internet cafe in San Francisco to server in Venice
"She wouldn't have let him," Lucas said, touching Ashaya's face with his palm. It was a gesture of acceptance, as well as an alpha's offer of protection. "Dorian's mate is a strong woman."
Sascha nodded but her heartbeat was ragged. Because lying there, Ashaya looked very small, her color faded, her body almost lifeless. "Tammy?" The changeling healer could do more than any medical doctor - for Dorian at least. But Ashaya was connected to him, so if he improved, so would she.
"Should be here soon," Vaughn answered from the doorway, having come in to hug Faith. "She and Nate were on their way to drop the cubs at playgroup when I called."