Kimberly woke up at sunrise. I was sitting on the edge of my bed watching her, and the moment her eyes opened I jumped up and ran to her.
“Hey, baby girl," I said softly. “How do you feel?"
She looked up at me, her eyes bleary and unfocused, and said, “My head hurts." Her voice was rough, like she had a sore throat, and I nodded.
“I know," I told her. “You're going to be okay."
She stared blankly at me for a few seconds, and then croaked, “I feel dizzy."
I glanced at the swollen purple knot on her forehead. I had hoped it would go down before morning, but it hadn't. My stomach twisted in worry, but I tried to keep it off my face.
She's a werewolf, I told myself. If Tyler can shrug off a bullet to the spine, then a bump on Kimberly's head won't keep her down for long.
“What happened?" she asked.
“You… had an accident last night," I told her. How much did she remember? Did she remember how she'd tried to change? I sat there, waiting for her next question, until I realized that she probably hadn't even heard me. The look on her face told me not much was going on in her head, as did the little trail of spit running down her chin.
“Kimberly?" I asked tentatively. “Are… are you there?"
Slowly, her eyes turned to look at me, but she didn't answer. She raised her hand to her forehead, her movements sluggish, but I grabbed her before she could touch the bump.
“Don't touch it, okay?" I said, gently putting her hand down at her side again. “Just let it get better."
She stared at me again for a few seconds. “…kay."
Then her eyes closed, and she went back to sleep. I sighed, getting up pacing the room. My feet felt like they each weighed a ton, and they were only getting heavier with each step. Between chasing down Roy yesterday and being with Kimberly last night, I was exhausted. I couldn't go to sleep, though. Not with my little girl like this. What if she woke up again? What if she got worse while I was asleep? I wasn't a doctor, and I knew I wouldn't be able to do much if something happened, but… well, being awake was still better than sleeping through it, right?
My frustration suddenly spiked, and I began to beat my forehead with my fist. Stupid, stupid, stupid! How could I have let this happen? I was supposed to be helping her, but all I was doing was making things worse! I looked at her helpless little body lying there on the bed, and was forcibly reminded of how she'd looked in the funeral home. I'd put her in that funeral home. I'd put her in that bed. I had essentially picked up her life and shattered it on the ground— and now I was picking up the individual pieces, one by one, and throwing them on the ground all over again.
Groaning, I sat down on my bed and put my head in my hands. Maybe Kimberly would be better off without me. No, I immediately threw that idea out the window. As horrible as I felt right then, I wasn't about to abandon her to the Swag Pag. I was the only person she had, even if I was the worst person in the world for it. I had to figure out some way to help her. I had to…
But like I said, I wasn't a doctor.
There was only one thing I could think to do, then. I really didn't want to do it, but I didn't want to see Kimberly like this even more. I got up, feeling a little stupid, and went to stand in the middle of the room.
“Dex?" I said. “Ed? I need some help."
No answer came, and I wasn't exactly expecting one. But I was Majestic's big investment, right? There's no way Kimberly and I weren't being watched in here. It was something I'd tried my best not to think about, but now, maybe, it could work to my advantage.
“Kimberly got hurt," I went on. “It's… it's my fault." My voice broke, but I kept talking. “She's not healing, and I don't know what to do. I'm scared. Help her. Please, I don't care what you want in exchange. Just do something for her!"
And that was that. I couldn't think of anything else I could do. I just had to sit and wait, hoping Majestic would feel charitable enough to help a poor five year old girl.
She's doomed, I thought miserably, falling backwards so I was lying down on my bed. They'd only helped me before because they had benefited from it too. Who knew what they would want in return for this?
Maybe, I'm the one who's doomed.
But as I laid there, stewing over all the horrible things that might come of this, and the horrible things that might happen anyway, my brain chose that moment to shut down, and I gave in to my exhaustion.
The clock on my nightstand told me it was past noon when I finally woke up. I felt a lot better after getting some sleep, but that didn't stop me from having a panic attack when I realized I'd just gone over five hours without checking on Kimberly. I shot out of bed and to her side, and was relieved to see that she hadn't changed. Well, the bump on her head was still the same size, which wasn't particularly comforting, but at least she hadn't died or anything.
“You still asleep?" I whispered into her ear. She didn't respond, or even move, so I carefully adjusted the pillow behind her head and backed away. Until I got word from Majestic, if I got word from Majestic, I would just have to…
My foot came down on something slick, and I nearly tripped. I looked down, and saw that I was standing on a folded up piece of paper.
Another note, Tyler? I thought, annoyed. Get a clue. I don't care if you're sorry for what…
As I unfolded the paper, everything seemed to come to a halt. That wasn't Tyler's handwriting. It wasn't handwriting at all.
It was a photograph of Victor.
His mouth moved. “Hello, Amber."
I'll admit, I jumped a little when the picture spoke. It was far from the weirdest thing I'd ever seen, but I hadn't really been expecting it. His voice sounded a little muffled, like it was coming out of a TV, but it was definitely his.
“Before you start yammering, let me tell you that I cannot hear you," he went on in his usual bluntness. “This is a prerecorded message, and the paper will combust when it is over. I suggest you not have it in your hand when that happens.
“There is a doctor on the corner of Walnut Street who can give Kimberly the help she needs. She has not gone through her first change yet, so her healing abilities are not as strong as they should be. Bring her to him, and he will admit you. His name is Richard Munse."
“Hold on," I interrupted him, forgetting that he couldn't hear me, “why are you helping me?"
Victor kept talking. “Do not tell Dr. Munse that either of you are Silverbloods. Your existence is still classified. If he asks, you are to only say that you are werewolves, and Kimberly has yet to go through her first full moon."
I stared at the talking photo, almost unable to believe what I was hearing. I would have expected Ed or Dex or even Mr. Wrogan to help me, but Victor? The guy who wanted to keep both me and Kimberly as lab rats? The one who put us in the Swag Pag in the first place? I didn't believe for a minute that he actually had our best interests at heart. What was he up to?
Behind me, Kimberly moaned in her sleep, and instantly all of my doubts were chased away. I still didn't trust the creep— not by a long shot. But if there was a chance his advice could help Kimberly, then I'd take it.
“And another thing," Victor said, bringing my attention back to him. “I did not put you in that pack so you could sit around and be abused. Get your act together, you stupid girl!"
Before I even had a chance to wonder what he meant by that, the sheet of paper burst into flame, and I dropped it.
NEXT TIME: See? Victor's not such a bad guy! He's got a nice side to him, buried under all that snark and… evil. I bet he's secretly a department store Santa during the winter because he loves kids so much! But anyway… time for Kimmie to go to the doctor! Just FYI, I see absolutely nothing that can go wrong with this whatsoever. The doctor's office is a fun place full of smiles, rainbows, and needles. :D