The words turned from a plea into a sob, and as I sobbed, a small tingle of energy finally flowed through my feet. It crawled its way slowly up my legs, through my body, and into my fingertips.

Thank the Goddess. I pushed my fingers deep into his wound. I didn't need to say the next word. Instead, it seemed to resound from the very depths of me. Heal. As the word grew louder in my mind and took root in my body, the small bit of energy I had summoned flowed through me and into Luke. Time stood still, and for a long moment nothing existed but the sound of his shallow breathing.

I felt something graze my cheek. I opened my eyes and realized I was lying on the ground. Luke kneeled over me, one hand held against his side. Darla was by his side, tears streaming down her face. Red slowly dripped from between Luke's fingers. It all rushed back to me. "Are you okay?" he asked.

The rain had stopped. I pushed myself off the ground.

"I thought you were no longer a healer." He took away his hand and looked down at his side.

He was bleeding, but not like before. I had stopped the gushing river of blood. He wouldn't bleed to death in front of me.

Relief filled my body. I resisted the urge to slump back in exhaustion. "I'm not. You're still bleeding."

"Yeah, but I'm alive and kicking, and that's only because of you." His voice sounded weak.

"What happened?" I whispered.

"The woman...she had a knife," he said, a grim expression on his face.

I couldn't believe what I was hearing. "She stabbed you? But you were trying to save her."

"Life throws you curveballs sometimes." He stood up and then reached down to help me to my feet. "We better get out of here before those guys decide to come back—Darla, stop crying. I'm okay."

But he wasn't. He slumped forward as he moved. Darla reached out and slid her body under his arm, but his weight was too much for her. I scrambled around to his other side and lifted his arm around my shoulder.

We staggered out of the alley and to the front entrance of the shop.

"Anyone think to bring keys?" Not bothering to wait for a response, Luke pushed away from us and supported himself against the door. He leaned over, picked up a nearby rock, and broke a pane of glass before reaching in and unlocking it. I waited for him to move, but he slumped to the ground again.

Darla and I, as if on cue, moved to either side of him and propped him up once more. Darla pushed the door open, and we made our way inside. I kicked the door shut behind me, but the broken pane provided little protection. Anyone could follow us into the store.

"We need something to block that broken window pane." I was exhausted, and helping Luke inside had taken most of my energy. We eased him down to the floor.

"Worried someone might steal something? Normally our reputation keeps people at bay." His voice was laced with pain.

Sometimes a reputation was a double-edged sword. Hatred toward death dealers was widespread. He'd almost been killed a few minutes ago because of it—the very nature of his powers horrified the woman he'd tried to rescue so much that she'd actually stabbed her savior.

"We need a board or something to cover the opening," I said. I wasn't worried about thieves taking advantage of the broken window; I was worried about any wandering gang members returning for payback.

Darla unwound her braid and started to wring out her hair. She was drenched, and I realized she wasn't the only one. I was shivering and goose bumps covered my arms. We were all soaked, and it was a chilly night.

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