Sam poked her head in the bedroom door. "Amy, what did I say about keeping warm when you're sick? At least cover your feet."

Amy lay on her stomach, her beaming face half-buried in a pillow. She had the full cheeks of a ten-year-old, but insisted that her stylish bob haircut made her look at least twelve.

"I'm not cold," she protested, the rasp of bronchitis still present.

Leo sat on the floor, his back against the bed. He turned to her. "Your heard your mom, Squirt. I'll finish the story later. Time to rest."

"Finish it now. Pleeeze?"

He smiled. "OK. Well, once we climbed out from the avalanche, we stumbled into a high-altitude magical valley where everything was perfect. Everything except·" He stopped in a dramatic pause.

"Except what?" she cried. "Except WHAT?"

"Except· I'll tell you tomorrow!" He rolled over on his knees and stood up, grimacing.

"You cheater!" Amy playfully swatted at him, coughing, as he walked to the bedroom door. Then she lay back in the bed.

"Sleep!" he commanded. He snapped on the ventilator, stepped into the hallway, and closed the bedroom door. His face was drawn and tired.

"You should rest too," Sam said. "You've only been home for a day." Leo opened his arms and she walked into them. He relaxed, drawing strength from her love.

Then something behind Sam began to shimmer. Jesus, here it comes again.

He stepped back. "Have you seen my pills?"

"Uh, yeah. They're on the kitchen counter where you left them. Next to your notebook."

Leo hurried into the kitchen and grabbed the bottle of capsules. He snapped open the lid and poured four pills into his hand.

Sam couldn't hide her concern. "Aren't you supposed to take only two of those every four hours?"

Leo hesitated, looking at the pills in the hand. Then he flipped open the notebook and stared at the scribbled drawing he showed Dr. Simms. His hands trembled. "They're wearing off sooner" he muttered, and tossed the pills down his throat.