Good day to all'ye Lassies and Lads! I just gotta disclaimer today! J

DISCLAIMER: Any and all subject matter that may or may not be coincidentially already copywrited to someone else already that is in this composition belongs and is copyrighted to me. If there is any resemblance to any real already copyrighted material, than that is simply a coincidence, and was not meant to be Plagiarized in any way. My profuse and sincere apologies and gratitude to all. Thank you! J

Chapter Twelve: "Withdrawal"

That night after the concert, they all got separate bedrooms. Small, yes, but separate. Que hadn't had any kind of alcoholic substances since Kerri threw away his last bottle of Spirits. That was a long time, comparatively. During the concert, he was glad he only had to play the drums, because he had gotten a sore throat just as they had started to play their song. Later, when they were done, the cheering and clapping echoed in his head. His ears were ringing and his head ached unbearably. He denied any feeling of sickness when asked, but he wasn't good at lying. They suspected something was wrong.

He didn't sleep well either. He jolted awake, shaking and sweating, from a horrific nightmare that he couldn't even remember. His eyes stung badly, as though he had burst several blood vessels in them. His knuckles were white from the tight grip he had had on his sheets and pillow. A cry that dared to be let out was on the tip of his tongue, but he swallowed it, and then it hit him. A fierce wave of nausea hit him hard, like a smack in the face. Or a punch in the stomach, rather. He hoped beyond hope that the bathroom is where he thinks it is, and close. He runs out of his room as fast as his tired legs can carry him and to the end of the hall where he barely has time to lock the door before he's spilling his guts into the toilet. Wave after wave of nausea rushes into his body all at once, and he doesn't even have time to breathe. As soon as one rush ends, another comes bursting out. The ordeal leaves him exhausted and gasping for breath. The cool surface of the bathroom tile is his only comfort, and the room spins before his eyes like a bad science fiction movie. He sees blurs swimming in front of his eyes, and closes them to try to stop the nauseating movement.

It seemed like forever, but at the same time only a moment, before he heard Kerri's worried voice at the bathroom door. She sounded tired, worried, and anxious at the same time.

"Que?" She said questioningly. "Are you okay? I felt a bad energy wave coming from here, you've been in there for hours. Are you sick or something? Can I get you anything?"

How did she know he was sick? He forced himself to stand up, slowly, and unlocked and opened the bathroom door only to see a drawn-faced Kerri looking up at him. She slightly flinched at the sight of him. He was a mess. He was shaking all over and his hanging hair wouldn't stay out of his face. Cold beads of sweat rolled from his forehead, and the taste of bile still lingered in his mouth. His face was pale and his breath smelled of vomit, as did the bathroom.

He had nothing left to throw-up, but the sudden amount of movement, however, gave him a nauseating dizzy spell. And he dropped to his hands and knees. Kerri was automatically beside him.

"What's wrong with you?" She asked.

"Nothing, I'm fine…" Que was stubborn when he was forced to show weakness.

"Nonsense," Kerri could match him in stubborn attitudes. "Look at me." She pushed his bangs away from his face and felt his forehead. He was burning up and probably needed to lie down. Kerri knew only too well as a healer that Que was going to be going through some fierce withdrawal symptoms, and this was only the first stage of three. With some bed-rest and regular checking, he would be alright in a matter of days. Each stage usually took no more than 1½ days to be complete and then the ailing person usually moved on to the next stage. He might be left quite weak for a-bit, but he was also a strong boy, unusually so even, for his age at least…

Kerri might even be able to help him personally. If she wished it, she could absorb some of a person's disease and suffering into her own body, where it would dissipate eventually through a gradual natural filter system. The sickness taken from the 'patient' takes some health out of the healer, and that health is given to the patient. This will gradually heal the person completely. The only problem with the healing is that for a period of time, Kerri would be as useless as the person being healed. This drawback didn't stop Kerri though, she did what was needed in-order to help. Besides, she was only left sick for a short period of time… comparatively.

In the morning, Que was still in a feverish state, but was in stage two and for the most part, unresponsive. The most he did was blink or whimper, and occasionally squeeze you hand when you asked him to. For the most part it was like he was in another world and unaware of the things going on around him. The people around him had no idea that it was really a living hell for him. Every sound, every flash of light, every simple movement disturbed him dreadfully. His whole body ached for just a drop of his old friend, for a simple taste of the one thing that used to take it all away, just one drop…

Kerri had concluded that he had really brought it on himself, that it was his fault that he was lying unresponsive on an uncomfortable cot in a off-white muggy room with but one light to see by. She thought about this, but even as she concluded, her thoughts just as abruptly changed. What if older men who lived near the places he lived started his habit. What if it was their fault? A rage filled her and she felt the need to help him, badly. They all left the 'Inn of Music' with their breakfast in bags and their various instruments tucked under their arms or in piles on the floor. Que's drum set was taken into the ship on the second trip. Que was carried in and placed in the small medicinal-type room in Sirius and watched closely by Kerri, Zargon, and Remme, who were the only ones who knew why Que was 'sick'.

In all the activity, they'd had no time to take off for the 'Hybrid' two-sided planet of Mercury, which was the nearest planet to the Sun, 'Nova', and made of fire and ice at the same time. The inhabitants were of a strange type too, half being of 'fire', and half being of 'ice'. It was thought that since the 'fire' side of mercury was only covered with the 'fire-people', they must have come long ago from the core of the sun. This was simply a legend of course, but was it true?

Meanwhile, an inhabitant of the Inn was curious. Could these people help her? Would they take her to Mercury? Were they even headed there in the first place? The pale girl watched the ship closely to make sure it didn't leave without her.

Kerri paced back and forth beside Que's bed. Zargon and Remme watched helplessly. The poor Makotian boy was still only in the second stage of his withdrawal, not a good sign after a whole of three days. He should be nearly all healthy by now, but he was far from it. Kerri decided that there was nothing more to do but… She lent beside Que and kissed him gently on the forehead before smoothing the bangs from his face.

"Are you going to try to—" Zargon couldn't finish, Kerri interrupted.

"No, I'm not going to try, dearest Zargon. I'm going to…" Kerri replied.

"Don't go too far. I'll stay and keep an eye on you both." Zargon and Remme shared this opinion.

"I know my limits, Zargon. But, thanks anyway, I appreciate your concern." Kerri said as she tied her shining lilac hair behind her head. "Alright, you two stay quiet and dare not to stir. If you break my concentration, it won't work."

Kerri placed her right hand over Que's eyes, and her left hand over his stomach. She began to recite an ancient sounding verse, one in an old Kerugian dialect that the other two couldn't understand. It was almost like an ancient chant, a mystic spell summoning energy and flowing into the whole room, filling each person with a drowsy sense of calm and joy.

"S'dn alremmus eht mor'f. H'tla her uo y'nia'g. S'dn-a hymn itse r'that. Eb t'aht sre'wop eht'yb. Ni yawr u'oy dni fe vol. Ni yawr u'oy dni f'ht gnert's. Ni yawr u'oy dni f'ht la'eh. Ni yawr u'oy dni f'ht mra'w. Eb telt ser neht, el t'tila yln'o fi. Em ot nipe esh t'aed r'uoy y'am. La ogru oy h'ca er, h'tla ehr uoy d'n'if. Luo s'dna tra ehd ni M', Evo'l ym, la'eh."

A lilac-tinted light appeared at Kerri's hands and around Que's body. The light was warm and forgiving in the dimly lit room. It's glow was beautiful, but the effects on Kerri did not look fun.

Her lilac hair lost it's luster and shine and was dullend. Her sparkling eyes lost their happy twinkle, and the color leeched from her face. The transfer of life-energy for sickness had begun.

Suddenly, Que's mouth opened, and a thin gray mist flowed from him to Kerri by way of mouth. She stopped the transfer, the lights from her hands fading, and she was still. Zargon seemed to wake from a dream and noticed that some of the color to Que's cheeks had returned, while Kerri's had a lack thereof.

"It's done." Kerri finally said. "I have only a short while before headache, dizziness, and nausea hits full-on. It will subside within the next dawn, whenever that is on Artemis. Now Que is in stage three and can get some much-deserved rest. Three is the recovery stage, and—oh, Goddess, I'm gonna' be sick, now…" She ran into the bathroom and threw-up into the toilet. Zargon came in to hold her hair and comfort her as much as was possible until the fit or vomiting calmed. Remme busied himself with checking the vitals (pulse, etc.) of Que.

Somewhere outside the ship. A girl native to Artemis watched, wondered, and waited for the right time for confrontation…

~*~*~*~ PS: all of the Kerugian Language stuff belongs to me too! Haha… J

I might tell yeh what her chant is later on if you're lucky! Now don't go tryin' to fiure it out now, because it's in a top-secret code that I made up me-self. Thanx for REVIEWING! **hint-hint** haha, just joking, if you don't review, that's ok, but I'll be very disappointed in you! Haha. J Have a good day!

~Lornie