Much later, I wake up. My body is sore but my arm doesn't hurt anymore. It's quiet in my room and I see that I am back in the infirmary in my Library. In front of me is Mr. Gryphon sitting slumped in a chair, asleep. The chair can barely hold him. I wonder why he didn't request a more comfortable one. There are white curtains at the head of the bed even though this is a room for just one person. The window is cracked open and I can just smell the sea. I can see orange shafts of the sunset slipping through the partially curtained windows. I watch him breathing for while. It's been a long time since I've seen him sleep. I sit up slowly, looking at the tubes in my arms. Dr. Patel bustles in waking up Mr. Gryphon. He sits up quickly.
“You...” he starts, seeing that I'm awake.
“Miss Turtle, so glad to see you're awake now. How do you feel?” says Dr. Patel stepping in front of him. The sight of her is reassuring.
“I'm all right. I feel tired but not bad. What are the extend of my injuries?” I say as I reach for a glass and the water pitcher on the table next to me. Mr. Gryphon grabs it first and pours me a glass. My voice is a little rough.
“You have no injuries. You were healed at the Source, all shiny and new,” she smiles at me. I accept the water from Mr. Gryphon and take a sip. The water is cold and tastes wonderful,
“Really?” even though I shouldn't be I am a little surprised. Dr. Patel moves around my bed, checking my pulse, checking my eyes. I look at Mr. Gryphon and we smile at each other. I feel a closeness and a love that I've never felt for him before. Dr. Patel finishes her quick examination.
“You'll do. Now I'll leave you two alone,” she says closing the room door on the way out. She is smiling.
He sits back in the chair, just looking at me. We don't move. We don't move until I see that tears are coursing down his face. He makes a noise, a whimper, and then a small hollow cry, then I am in his arms are we are crying together. There is no need to speak.
Later, we are eating dinner together. Everyone has come by to visit, everyone except for April. Mr. Gryphon told me she was the traitor in our midst, that she let Ravelle into my neighborhood. When she became whole again she fled out of the Garden, only to be confronted by the new angel Guardian who attacked her with his flaming sword. He knows this because he had hauled himself out of the pond and was lying on its edge when it all happened.
“Why do you suppose April turned like that?” I ask. This turn of events bothers me and I don't even know if it's the right direction for the story.
“I don't know. Being obliterated and then made whole again is a traumatic experience," he says quietly.
I push my food tray away. Mr. Gryphon takes it and puts it on the side table for the staff. He comes back, checks my covers then sits back down again in the chair by my hospital bed.
“Obliteration doesn't explain it. She smelled like Ravelle, made me nauseous, made me throw up. And I don't understand why she flaked away like that. Why didn't she disintegrate? All the angels and demons have.”
“I don't know. Maybe because she's an aspect of you,” my friend says.
I sigh. "She's always been so angry. I thought we'd finally come to a good place but I guess I was wrong."
"She did kill you not once but twice in that first story. And don't forget how we first met her: in one of your nightmares in the burned out landscape completely hell bent on destroying you," he said.
"I guess things haven't changed. Do you know in that first story she and I ended up in some blacked out purgatory-type place after she killed me and she was still trying to destroy me, even after death."
"Well, she's persistent. I'll give her that," he says. He reaches for my hand. His hand feels warm and fuzzy. It's lovely. I could tell him for the hundredth time that I love him and thank him for saving us but I decide not to. Instead, I hold out my arms and we hug each other.