Even though they shared a wagon, their individual jobs kept them apart most of the day. For days he’d noticed Jack's hair was getting long and often in the war he and his fellow soldiers would cut each other’s hair because the military didn’t have a barber on the field. When he finally made it back to the wagon that evening, Jack was drawing like he usually did. He stood at the door and leaned against the door frame for a while before he finally spoke. He loved to watch him draw, like he had completely separated from his body, felt and expressed through his fingers and hands. “Ye need a haircut.” He said and made his way further into their shared wagon.
Lately, the other bed had been used only to store clothing or boxes since Kieran spent most of his nights in Jacks bed. The nightmares and sudden jolts of pain hadn’t passed but it became easier for Kieran to help him when he was lying in the bed next to him.
“If ye want, I’ve got a pair of shears’ll do the trick.” He offered, finding himself sitting down on the bed they shared.
Jack looked up from his pad, he was still working on the finishing touches for the new banners, adding some color into the pieces. “Huh?” He said, looking up from the dramatic picture of ‘Iron Wells’ bending a beam around his shoulder. It was a pretty good likeness, though simplified as to transfer onto the fabric of the banner. “Oh… I guess it is.” Jack brushed his fingers through his hair, it was a bit long, and was starting to mop around his ears. He smiled softly as Kieran sat on the edge of the bed. While he was getting a lot more comfortable and confident about being with the other man (he did enjoy the experimenting to see what worked for them), in public he was still overly cautious.
But, in that moment it was just the two of them. “Okay…” Jack nodded, feeling a few butterflies at the idea of Kieran cutting his hair.
Kieran nodded at that, getting up to grab a pair of shears from his bag and a towel to drape over Jacks shoulders. Before he began to run his fingers through Jacks hair he leaned down a pressed a kiss to his cheek. He leaned in to whisper in his lovers ear. “Relax. I promise ye I won’t cut it all off.” He teased and began to section out the top of his hair to cut later. Sure this wasn’t a barber shop by any means but it was the best they could do without going into town.
“How are the banners going? Looks like ye’ve got some good looking designs there.” Kieran cared about how Jack thought of the things he did. He spent so much of his life afraid of what others thought of him and Kieran knew he deserved praise. The comb he’d had came through the hair as he let the shears snip the ends off his hair off and onto the floor. It wouldn’t take long, he didn’t need to do much for the younger man.
Jack shrugged slightly. “Thank you. Just tryin’ t’not do the same e’ry time.” He said. He knew the banners helped draw people to a show, so he wanted to make something that captured the audience but wasn’t too overwhelming and didn’t necessarily steal from another show. “Re-doin’all the ten-in-one’s. Some are a bit torn and worn. So figure I’ll give’em all a once over.”
He sat still for Kieran, trusting the man to do a good job.
After finishing the underneath, Kieran began to work along the top, connecting the layers from underneath to have a nice even look to everything. He wasn’t always this careful when he’d done it in the past but Jack wasn’t just another soldier going off to die, Jack was special. Something occurred to Kieran which never had before as he combed and cut the hair; he hadn’t confided in Jack, not like Jack had him, not really.
Besides just telling him that he was an angel, Jack didn’t know much about Kieran’s past. As he finished he came around to the front of his lover and kneeled to regard him in the eyes. “I know I’m a wee bit guarded and I want to change that. It’s been a long time since I’ve..” loved was the word he wanted to use but he didn’t think Jack would be ready for that.
He didn’t finish his sentence. “I was a medic during wartime.” Which war hardly mattered anymore since it seemed to be ongoing in this world. “I saw a lot of death and I saved a lot of lives as well. I’ve been on this earth, just like this for ninety six years. I had a life before that I can never remember.” This was probably too much information to spring on him at once so he’d stop there.
“Looks good.” He remarked before grabbing a small handheld mirror to hold up to Jack.
Jack frowned slightly and looked back to Kieran when he said he was done, instead of the mirror. “I’m sorry y’had t’go through that.” He said, placing his hand on the angel’s. “Least y’found y’r way here.”
Kieran’s hand came up to caress Jack’s cheek and shook his head. “The past is in the past for a reason, even if ye can manipulate it.” He replied, thankful that Jack cared. “I wouldn’t trade any of it if it meant I wouldn’t be here, right now with you.” He finished, leaning up from his knees to press a soft kiss to Jacks lips.
His eyes fluttered closed at the kiss. His heart pounded. Jack smiled as pulled back. “Can I ask… why’d y’settle here? I’m sure as a doc y’coulda gone anywhere and dun good things.” He wondered.
He thought back on the life he lived and remembered all the places he had been. “Well, suppose a lot of those places I’ve already been. And I don’t want to go back, painful memories.” Sometimes they landed close to those places and the memories came rushing back but it got easier the older he got.
“Seemed more like I’d fit in here. Lots of different people who didn’t have anywhere else to go. “ he pointed to himself. “That’s me.” And then to Jack “That was ye and yer mum.”
Jack shook his head, the smile slipping slightly. “She always believed in y’r ‘healing touch’.” Of course, at the time they hadn’t know how accurate that phrase had been. “An I think she knew I like ya ‘fore I even knew it. Wanna think her n’pa are okay with- this.” He gestured between them.
Kieran furrowed his brow at that last statement. “Are ye okay with us?” He asked him, honestly because he felt like Jack was still struggling to come to terms with it. He could understand he just wished he could help him along with it.
“And I knew yer mum wanted me to heal but I couldn’t. Damage was already done.” Which still hurt to this day to think that he couldn’t save Jack from a lifetime of pain.
“Yes.” Jack responded quickly. “I am. Just… them out there I’m none to sure ‘bout.” He said, nodding toward the world outside their wagon.
He placed a hand lovingly on Kieran’s hand, squeezing it gently. “I dun blame ya or nuthin.” He assured the older man. “For all I hate ‘bout it, I’m grateful for th’chair. It gets me outta lots o’roustie work.” He teased. “An I like t’think I can see things different. Like see what’s really important.” Like Kieran.
He smiled at Jack and sat down on the bed next to him so their knees touched. “It doesn’t matter what other people say. We can keep what we have here in private and not listen to anyone else.” Normally Kieran was great at giving advice but he felt like he was faltering at the moment. Flustered he felt his tongue tied and he buried his face in his hands. “That was less than elegant.” He added with a chuckle.
Jack reached up and gently pulled down Kieran’s hands. “Yea. Was.” He chuckled. “But it’s just us.” He leaned in and applied a kiss to the man’s lips. “Maybe we should do dinner in t’night.” He said. “Grab a couple plates and bring ‘em back. Like real courtin’ couples do?”
Kieran’s cheeks tinged with red smiled back at Jack. Even a simple touch like that was enough to make him feel better. “I think that sounds lovely.” He agreed and leaned forward to press a small kiss to Jack's cheek before standing up to grab his coat. It had been colder out there tonight and he wasn’t going to go anywhere without it.
“I’ll get things figured here. Tell Delia, not so much gravy on m’taters.” He smirked.
Once Kieran was gone, he pulled himself to the edge of his bed. Focusing on the table across the room, he worked the space between them, allowing him to reach out and pull the table close. The visual was quite strange, like a seam in space that his hand drew the table through. But it worked. It was similar to what he’d been working on to get into his wagon without going up the stairs- but moving his chair was a bit harder than a relatively small table. He did the same with a chair for Kieran to sit on, Jack would keep to the edge of the bed.
Reaching over, her grabbed two candle sticks from a shelf, each still had the remnants of a candle. He folded his fingers and twisted, the wax pulled back together and rose up as the candles reformed. He smiled, waiting to light them until he hear Kieran approaching.
Following Jacks thorough instructions about ‘not so much gravy on them taters’ Kieran carefully guided the food back to their tent. It was cold outside but if he was fast enough he could get it back without it getting too cold. Balancing the plates on one arm as he reached the wagon he climbed inside and found a table set up for the both of them. A smile came to his face to see the trouble Jack had gone through while he was picking up their food for them.
Carefully he placed them on the table in each side and then grabbed two scotch glasses that he kept tucked away for special occasions. They were old, almost a hundred years old but still in perfect condition. He poured each of them enough to fill the bottom of the glass and placed the bottle of scotch on the table next to them. Finally he sat down and regarded Jack. “First date with me. Ye nervous?” He teased.
The candles flickered between them as Jack chuckled. “Very.” He wasn’t, not really. He felt comfortable with Kieran. Sure, as they started things he was nervous over what Kieran would think of him, but now he was good.
Lifting his glass he regarded Kieran. “To th’future of us.” He smirked.