Zane lay curled up in a corner of the alley, bruised, bones broken in several places. How could he face Raquel? How could he? Gritting his teeth, Zane lifted his gun and shot into the air.
Raquel heard the gun shot and saw the burst of light. Breaking into a desperate run, she pounded the six blocks to where Zane had been attacked. Raquel turned down the alley, crashing to the ground where Zane lay under the street lamp.
"Zane!" Tears filled her eyes at the sight of her beloved crumpled into a helpless heap. Zane looked worse than he felt. His face had several purple welts on it. His arms covered in blood and several deep gashes. She could tell by his labored breathing that his lungs had been bruised. It was likely that he also had some broken ribs. His pants were torn on the right leg, revealing a gash that ran from his kneecap to the back of his middle calf muscle. "Zane, what happened?"
Raquel fell to her knees beside Zane, cradling him in her arms. He looked up at Raquel, his own eyes full of tears, "I..." he choked, "I don't know. We got ambushed...and..."
Raquel had begun to rip Zane's shirt off to expose any other wounds that might be more severe than what she saw on the outside. She stopped, "Wait, where's Niad?"
Zane hung his head, "There were so many. I had no cover. I'm...I'm..." He hid his face from Raquel and wept.
"Darn it, Zane, WHERE'S NIAD?"
Zane only shook his head, unable to tell Raquel what had happened. He still could not believe what had happened.
Raquel stood up slowly, her eyes wide in disbelief. Anger began to wash over her. "No! That filthy hell cat!" she screamed. She knelt again beside Zane, "How many were there?"
Zane thought for an agonizing moment, clenching his teeth, "I...think...it was thirty. There were only...unh...five to start with...but then...ahh...they started coming out of nowhere."
Raquel grabbed for her cell phone and dialed Keira's number.
Zane rolled onto his stomach, clutching at his chest, breathing hard. "Help me."
Raquel leaned over him, rubbing his back gently. "You're going to be fine, love." She was trying to stay calm, but on the inside-
"Keira! I need you and Nathan NOW in the alley behind the abandoned warehouse!"
"Should I bring back ups?"
"No! Just hurry! Bring the car." Raquel threw the phone down. Zane's body was beginning to go into shock. His sweat was cold and his breathing was irregular. Raquel had never encountered this before. Having no idea what to do, she drug Zane up into her lap, wrapping her arms tightly around him to try to keep him warm. "Stay awake, Zane! C'mon, baby, stay awake for me."
"I'm sorry, Raq. I'm sorry." came his hoarse whisper.
"Shh..baby, there was nothing you could have done. I love you, okay? I'm not mad, okay? I love you. Everything is going to be fine."
Zane's body was racked with pain. He gritted his teeth, but the pain was too much.
Raquel found herself becoming impatient. C'mon, Nathan, hurry up. Please, Jesus, help us.
The squeal of tires brought Raquel out of her prayers. Keira jumped out, running to Raquel's side, Nathan soon following behind. Zane was trying desperately to keep himself conscience, but he could feel his mind slipping away from him. Keira knelt beside them, while Nathan stood over to keep watch, praying silently for his best friend. Raquel grabbed for Zane's bloody hand, letting him squeeze it hard, "I'm not going anywhere, Zane, and neither are you! Hang in there, baby! I love you."
Zane nodded slowly. "I love you, too, Raquel. I love you with all of my heart." He felt so weak, but he knew that he could not give up now. Raquel leaned down and kissed him tenderly on the lips. He smiled. That was all of the strength that he needed.
Keira laid delicate fingers over Zane's chest, praying softly. Raquel followed suit in her prayer language. Within a few minutes, Zane's face began to relax as the pain began to lessen under Keira's warm hands. Another one of Keira's many gifts was that of Faith, which produced Healing...all under the blood of Jesus. Zane felt his pulse grow stronger, felt his lungs relax. He took in a deep breath. His wounds were still bleeding, but at least he knew that the life threatening part was over. "I'm okay," he whispered. Raquel's tears left her eyes unfettered. He reached up and kissed Raquel. "You and Keira need to go alert the hosts that Niad has been...They need to know right away. We cannot afford to...not have Niad with us right now."
Nathan stepped over to the group, reaching out and pulling Zane slowly to his feet. Raquel supported Zane and they all walked slowly to the car.
The three stretched Zane out in the back seat. Raquel climbed in, leaning over Zane, "Please, let's send Keira and Nathan. I want to be with you. I want to take care of you." Her eyes were full of concern and tears. Zane could not refuse her, but...what if Luce went to the lake in search of Raquel, who was now more vunerable than ever. Keira was not a warrior and although Nathan was well trained, the group did yet have enough prayer cover to defeat the Demon Lord and his mercenaries.
He touched Raquel's face, "Baby, I want you to be safe. You will be safe in the City. Please don't be stubborn about this."
Raquel scrunched her face up in defiance.
Chuckling, Zane took a strand of her curls and kissed them, "You are so cute when you're stubborn, though."
Nathan poked his face through the front window, "Raquel, listen to Zane. He's right, it's way to dangerous for you to be here right now. Go with Keira. I may not be much of a nurse, but I think I can handle him."
Zane looked up at Raquel. She knew that she could not disobey him. She gave a sigh, "Okay, Keira and I will go. We need to go now."
"Thank you, honey. I will rest better knowing that you are safe, okay? I will be fine."
Raq nodded. She kissed him once more, feeling the love surge through his body and out of his lips. Pulling herself away, she found herself dizzy from his passion. "I love you, Zane."
"I love you, too, Raq. Take care, my jewel."
Raquel climbed out, slamming the door shut, and stepping away.
Nathan rested a hand on her shoulder, "I'll take care of him, I promise."
"You'd better, or I'll kick your butt!" She growled.
Nathan shot a loving look towards Keira. "Could you give us a minute, Raquel?"
"Uhh...yeah...sure," she replied, feeling a little awkward. She climbed back into the front seat. She didn't mind. It meant a little extra time with Zane, anyways.