"No, you cannot. I shall have my way with this, now come." Emma pulled him to the bed and before he could protest again, she gently pushed him down upon it, lifting his legs so his head was forced down. She had to smile, she knew that now that he was laying down, he wouldn't have the strength to get up.
Gently, she pulled off his shoes and tucked him under the blanket. Rubbing his head, she whispered, "You have a full stomach, and so tired. Sleep now, and by morning, I promise you will feel so much better." Kissing his forehead, she quietly left the room, closing the door behind her.
Emma continued in the kitchen for an extra thirty minutes before her parents arrived looking tired and haggard. They had worked an extra hour in the fields, but their efforts made it possible for them to bring home a large basket of food, which was a welcomed sight. As her parents freshened up, she quickly put the food on the table with the place settings. One for each of them. The pie, she left on the hearth to keep warm. Her parents arrived at the table just as she had finished pouring them milk from a pitcher she always kept the fresh milk in.
Sitting down herself, she waiting for them to serve themselves first before getting her own food. As she did, her father looked across the table at her, "Seems everyone is talking about you, Emma. Care to explain?" Emma cringed, she had hoped to explain Leon to her parents before anyone else had gotten to them, but she guessed it was just too good to hold in. Putting her spoon down, she slowly looked up at her parents. "His name is Leon, I found him in the wood earlier this afternoon while looking for berries."
Her mother glanced at her father with a sigh, then back to her, "How many times have we told you not to go deep into the woods, Emma? When are you going to take the threat seriously?" Her father just continued to look at his daughter. "But why did you bring him home, Emma?" He asked frustrated. "Didn't you even think about the risk to the village?" Emma looked at both her parents, "Of course, I thought of the risk, but, Father, there is no evil inside him, and he saved my life when a man attacked me. I owed it to him." She said softly. "I brought him here because he is hurt and very ill. I can help him, you know I can." She looked from one to the other. "I couldn't just leave him there. And after he saved my life, I knew I wanted to do all I could to help him."
Emma waited for her parent's reaction. Even with the concern and frustration in their eyes, she knew they would accept this. Hadn't they taught her to use her gifts for the good of their people? How could she change her ways now, just because he was from the outside. "He's in my room.." she said softly, "and tonight I will lay with him and heal him." Her father just shook his head and looked down at the food. It was her mother that spoke first, "Emma, is he really that seriously ill? You have to be careful, child, don't waste your gifts on unworthy strangers." Even though her mother spoke the words, in her heart, she knew Emma had already made up her mind. Emma had always been open to anyone that needed help. She was like an untouched lamb that never saw the bad in people. Then her father looked up at his only child. "Then....so be it. And I wish him good health. May your instincts be right, my child."
They continued their meal in silence until the pie was brought to the table. Not many in the village could make deserts like Emma could, practically out nothing. So they smiled and talked about their day until time for bed. As her parents said goodnight, giving her a kiss on her forehead, and a worried last look, they retired to their room. Emma cleaned up, put things away and stoked the fire in the fireplace, adding a few logs before going to her room.
Slipping inside, she softly closed the door behind her. Walking over to the bed, Leon was in a deep sleep. She smiled, he would probably not wake up until late morning. That was good. It would give her plenty of time. Slipping out of her apron, dress and shoes, she snatched up an extra blanket, placing it over Leon and the rest of the bed. It would be a cool night and as he heals, she knew he would go from hot to cold throughout the night. It would be a long one for her, but nothing she hadn't done before.
Carefully, she slipped under the blankets and sheet, her body facing his, as she put her arm around him and began to feel what was wrong. As each pain entered her, she dealt with them one by one. Sometimes the pain was excruciating, others more bearable. But what she hadn't expected, was the pain that had nothing to with his injuries. It was hard to separate them from the physical healing, and she had never encountered this before. But she held on throughout the night. And by the crow of the rooster at dawn, she was wet with sweat, exhausted and fell back on her side of the bed unable to stay awake any longer. Now she would sleep and the last of the painful images would be slowly removed from her nervous system.