Archangel's Prophecy (Page 32)
Elena waved at him. He waved back, his eyes like small moons in his face.
“You should take a photo or no one will believe you!” she yelled over.
Scrambling for his phone, he managed a shot before the light changed and they roared off. She could feel Ransom’s shoulders shaking as he laughed. Whooping, she enjoyed the ride with a friend she’d known since she was sixteen. It was only as Ransom brought the bike to a stop by the Tower that she remembered the cuts on her arm.
Yeah, she probably shouldn’t be acting the hooligan on a motorcycle without a helmet. “Thanks.” Getting off, she exchanged high fives with Ransom before he roared off to pick up Nyree from a book club meeting.
Elena went directly to her and Raphael’s Tower suite to eat two loaded sandwiches and drink more of Nisia’s mix. After which she found the healer to ask about immortal ringworms.
Though Nisia was seated while Elena was standing, she managed to look down her nose at Elena. “You don’t have worms.”
“Did you check?” Immortals had a way of assuming certain things, and what if she did have a very normal mortal problem? “I’m not fully immortal. They could survive in my gut.”
“Ringworm isn’t caused by worms. It’s a fungus. Which you also don’t have. Your skin didn’t fluoresce under black light when I ran it over you as part of my tests.”
Elena stared at her. “You keep up with modern medicine?”
“No, I prefer to treat my patients with bucketloads of leeches.” A stern pursing of the lips. “Now go away so I can continue to study the results of your various tests. Though . . .”
That sounded ominous. “Though what?”
“I didn’t check for a parasite of another kind.”
Elena’s heart raced as Nisia walked over and put her hands on Elena’s abdomen. “Not a flicker of power,” she announced, “and considering the other genetic donor, it’d be a conflagration.”
“What?” Elena demanded again.
Raising an eyebrow, Nisia said, “If you were pregnant.”
“Christ, Nisia, you can’t just say things like that!”
Back at her chair now, Nisia waved off Elena’s shock. “You’re not with child, so stop panicking.”
“I’m not panicking,” she squeaked out; she was so not ready for a baby.
“Yes, of course not.” Dry words. “You’re far too young anyway. But with the Cascade”—Nisia shrugged—“I thought better to check.”
“Right.” Elena’s head spun madly at even the idea of it. “Wait a minute. Did you call the possible baby a parasite?”
“The basic definition of a parasite is an organism that lives on or inside a host and feeds off that host. Therefore all fetuses are technically parasites. A fetus with DNA from an archangel will be a super-parasite,” she added cheerfully. “It’ll suck you dry of energy, so you’d better be really old and strong before you start thinking about the flitter-flutter of tiny wings.”
Elena slitted her eyes and pointed. “You’re having fun making my future offspring”—and jeez, she was never going to be ready for those—“sound like energy-draining horrors.”
Nisia smiled beatifically. “Strange how that happens when you question a four-thousand-year-old healer about immortal worms.”
“It was just a question!” Elena protested but decided to haul a*s before Nisia got in the mood to put more nightmare images in her head. “Parasites,” she muttered under her breath. “No wonder she’s not in angelic obstetrics.” Keir was the expert in that, and she bet he didn’t take pleasure in terrifying poor hunters who had perfectly legitimate questions about ringworms.
And why was it called ringworm when there were no worms involved? That wasn’t playing fair.
Also, maybe she should talk to Keir about contraception. He’d said it was unnecessary because she could not fall pregnant. She wasn’t immortal enough yet, quite literally a different and biologically incompatible species from Raphael. But with the Cascade going on . . .
Then again, she appeared to be becoming even more mortal these days.
Chastened and ringworm-less, Elena made her way to Vivek’s domain. “Where’s V?” she asked a passing vamp when she couldn’t spot the other hunter.
“Being tortured by a physiotherapist. Sadists even check to make sure he’s not wearing an earpiece. Man’s totally cut off from comms.” A shudder at the idea.
“I guess he finally got on their last nerve.” Vivek had a way of interrupting sessions to follow up on incoming pieces of information.
“Whatever.” The vampire wasn’t buying it. “Anyway, he’s out for an hour. You need help?”
“No, I think I can handle it.” With that, she made her way to the area at the back that was set aside for Tower residents who needed computers but didn’t have an office. Elena could’ve had an office, but she preferred working here or in Raphael’s office. Today, bones heavy with missing her archangel, she wanted to be around the buzz of life in the tech center.
She’d just sat down when she sensed a current of power in the air. Turning, she scowled at Illium. “Are you following me?” She wouldn’t put it past Bluebell—he was very protective of his people.
“You wound me, Ellie.” A hand pressed to his chest, golden eyes wide in innocence. “I was visiting my friends.” He indicated a couple of angels hunched over the computers, their wings flowing gracefully to the carpet.
That sight always took her a moment or two to process even though she knew full well that part of the reason Raphael’s Tower ran so well was that he’d changed with the times—and he had Illium. The blue-winged angel handled a phone with the same ease he did the sword he wore in a spine sheath.
“What are you doing?” He leaned over the back of her chair, his scent familiar and as welcome as the heat coming off his body.
Elena was so cold deep inside.
Shrugging off the odd sensation and telling herself she’d be fine once she could wrap her arms around Raphael for a long embrace, she logged onto the computer. “Looking at security footage from near Beth’s place.”
Illium stayed where he was, watching along with her. “I heard about Harrison.”
First, she replayed the section she’d watched at Al and Anita’s house. But no matter how many times she ran the footage, the camera just hadn’t caught enough of the assailant.
“Now comes the boring part,” she murmured. “We have no idea how long Harrison’s attacker was lying in wait, so I’m going to cue it up to the time of the incident and go backward at speed from there. Even then, it’ll take time.” She dug out an energy bar to eat while they watched.
Illium’s stomach rumbled.
Elena blinked and paused the footage to look up at him. “Seriously? You haven’t eaten for so long that your stomach is actually rumbling?” Angels didn’t need to eat as often as mortals, which meant Illium had skipped a serious number of meals.
“I’ve been busy.” He rubbed his stomach, the blue-tipped black of his eyelashes lowered.
Rising from the chair, Elena thrust half the energy bar at him. “Proper food for both of us, I think.” Her body had already digested the sandwiches, and that wasn’t scary at all. “We can eat as we watch.”