It wasn't time to pass around evening meal trays yet and since her presence agitated more of the ill than soothed them, Azkadellia headed into the communication room. Maybe DG wasn't too busy and could talk. Unfortunately, Miles stretched across the leather chaise inside the room derailed that plan. She smiled, even though his closed eyes wouldn't see it, and turned away to let him rest.
"Azkadellia?" He sat up and pulled wires out of his ears. "Is something wrong?"
"No, I just didn't know you were resting in here. Go back to sleep."
He swung his legs off the side of the chaise. "I wasn't asleep, just listening to music and trying to zone out." He shook his head. "I probably shouldn't have used that phrase."
She giggled. "It's okay, DG has explained that phrase before. But music?" She looked around curiously. "There's no gramophone or wireless gramophone in here."
"It's on my cell phone." He held up a black box that fit in the palm of his hand. "It's a good mp3 player in a pinch." He laughed. "You don't believe me, come here."
She sat down next to him on chaise and he slipped the ends of the wires into her ears. The hard knob at the end fit snuggly into her ear canal. The box the wires led to hand buttons, but Miles pressed them too quickly for her to follow. Melody and a singer filled her ears.
Clock strikes twelve and moondrops burst
Out at you from their hiding place
Like acid and oil on a madman's face
His reason tends to fly away
Like lesser birds on the four winds
Like silver scrapes in may
And now the sand's become a crust
Most of you have gone away
"It's beautiful," she said.
"It's Blue Oyster Cult. I've got some Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Hole, R.E.M.; those are names of the bands."
"The ones who make the music?"
When the song finished, she pulled the knobs from her ears. "Thank you for sharing your music. I should let you continue zoning out."
"I wasn't having much success," he admitted. "How are you feeling?"
She sighed. "I'm tired and I miss my sister and my mother."
"But you don't feel sick?" He laid his hand on her forehead. "No fever."
"Miles, I would tell you if I felt like I was catching anything. I'm taking all the pills you tell me to. Why do you think I'm lying?"
He sighed and stared at the floor. "We got called into a case in a small town where ten percent of the population came down with a mutated form of the flu. The town doctor was the third one to die, but his receptionist helped us with the case histories and the patients, all while she was getting sicker with the same thing. She didn't tell us she was feeling it until she couldn't hide the symptoms, and we ended up with a cure too late to save her."
He tried to keep his voice a flat concentration of facts, but Azkadellia still heard the pain and the guilt. "What was her name?"
"I'm not nearly as brave as Lily. I don't want to die with the witch's sins still on my soul." She picked up the hand that had rested on her forehead and squeezed it. "I promise to tell you as soon as I feel bad."
"But you don't." His eyebrows drew together. "You've been around the patients for how long and you haven't gotten sick?"
She counted in her head. "Fourteen days, I think. Maybe my magic is keeping me safe."
"And your father?" He frowned. "I don't think magic is the answer here."
The go-between instrument rang, and she answered it. "This is Eva. Are any of the doctors around?"
Azkadellia passed the receiver to Miles. "Burzee Suffocation? What are the symptoms?" He waited until Eva finished listing them. "It matches; do they list a treatment?" He gestured for Azkadellia to come closer. "Who was the consort in the annual 86 O.R.C.? Eva says the name was been redacted in the book she's reading."
"It was father, the banishment spell erased his old name. Why?"
Hope bloomed in his eyes. "The reference book says the consort and crown princess survived the Burzee Suffocation that hit Burzee in annual 86 O.R.C. Your sister may hold the key to healing everyone!"
She shook her head. "DG wasn't born until 90." She blinked. "The book is talking about me? It must be; I would have been three annuals old."
"Did we ever take a sample of your blood?" Miles asked. "Wait here while I get the supplies." He hung up the go-between instrument and left the wing. He hurried back with a medical kit and perched her in a chair. "Roll up the sleeve on your left arm. Antibodies, I can't believe we didn't test for them."
"Antibodies? Sometimes I think you and DG are just making up words." He tied a plastic scarf around her skin and felt her elbow for a blood vein. She looked at his face instead of the large syringe he moved closer to her arm.
"If this is true, I'll show you the antibodies." He finished filling the vial with her blood and pulled the needle out. He rushed out again with her blood but after bandaging her arm, so she waited again, pressing the gauze against the slight wound.