Kieran was a Doctor, a healer and that was both his job and his passion but after finding Jack unconscious and seeing his beloved Eli torn down, Kieran found it extremely hard to stay optimistic. There were no injuries, at least nothing he couldn’t fix immediately, this sort of exhaustion could not even be touched by a doctor because it was from magic. Four days he watched Jack rest, whilst every other person rested, healed and returned to their places at Zion.
Jack had sent them into the future and not just the future but a century into the future. Most of the crew took advantage to explore a bit of the future but Kieran remained vigilantly by Jack's side. For the last four nights, no one slept in their wagon. He took little naps while Beth was around to help but he refused to leave Jack's side. The unconscious sips of water and soups told him that Jack was still fighting but all he could do was sit and wait while his heart was slowly beginning to break.
This day in particular had been quiet, the last of the other patients in the infirmary were let go just this morning and he had been left with only the sound of Jack's steady breathing.
He’d been in darkness, a warm hug of nothing. While it might sound terrifying, Jack felt no fear. He could feel magic around him, swirling through the void his consciousness swirled in as it floated back to his body.
Eyes clenched as his fingers formed into fists. He felt the warmth pull away and the darkness brighten. Slowly his eyes opened and squinted at the light. A groan escaped his lips and he slowly pushed himself up. As soon as he started to focus, the pain flooded in from his legs. He winced and grabbed his thigh with a startled yip.
Upon hearing the groan in the deafening silence, Kieran rushed over to Jack and watched as he grabbed his thigh in pain. Immediately his hand replaced Jack and he grabbed the laudanum to give to him. It had been days since he’d been conscious let alone touched any pain medicine so it was high time to allow him some after this entire ordeal. “Shh shh shh shh, ok, ok, here ye go. Ok there it is, ye got it.” He soothed, using his other hand to rub his lovers back.
Jack took the medication and followed it with a glass of water. His lips were a bit dry and his throat scratchy from being so still. He looked at Kieran and sort of leaned against him as he took a moment to just enjoy being near his lover. The fact that someone could come in at any time didn’t even register. “Kieran.” He said a whisper, his voice cracking slightly.
His mind felt a bit tangled as he tried to figure out where he was, or more accurately, how he’d gotten there. He remembered floating out of his body, time, a dark cloak… Edi?
Had anyone seen them it would not have been much of a story. Pain causes a variety of symptoms and his could easily be mistaken for weakness. Still, it felt good, to feel the way Jack relaxed in his arms, like he was meant to be there. “Yer alright Jack, ye gave us a bit of a scare.” He said softly against the top of his lover's head.
He didn’t want to bombard Jack with too many of the details yet, and he couldn’t really since he wasn’t quite sure what happened only where they ended up. “Can I get ye anything? Are ye hungry?” He knew he had some crackers he could give Jack if he needed the sustenance.
Hungry? He wasn’t sure yet. Yes? Maybe? Jack nodded slowly. “How long…?” He asked, knowing the last time was months… please don’t let it be months.
Kieran remembered those months, and they were hard but it felt much more difficult now that their feelings had come into play. “Only a few days. Seems ye might be getting stronger.” Well it was a few days for them but one hundred years for everyone. His hand came up to smooth any hair that may have fallen into his face.
Jack needed to orient himself before he got that sort of news, though it was evident that the air quality had changed dramatically. “How’s yer pain now?” It was a question he asked often but the answer never mattered as much as it did right now.
He nodded. “Better. Heads a bit twisted.” Jack commented, that wasn’t something the medication could help. “Like pieces outta order. We was attacked, right?” He remembered the woman’s cry for help. Kristoph calling out Edi’s name.
No one had ever met Edi. Some joked that she was a myth. But Kristoph insisted she was their electrician, no one saw her because she was shy and always working to keep things running. But Jack could have sworn he felt something, heard something, then seen lightning drawn into a jar. His brow furrowed, it didn’t make sense, but he’d seen it with his own eyes right before…
“Oh god.” He felt a wave of panic hit him as he started remembering what had happened. “I was tryin’ to… but then I got tangled and…” his heart started to race and breathing became almost a pant.
Seeing how his breathing sped up, Kieran took his wrist between his fingers and pressed his stethoscope to Jack's chest. He listened for a minute before tearing them out of his ears. “Jack yer about to experience a panic attack, we can stop this if you focus on yer breathing over anything else, aye?” He demanded Jack. Above anything else Kieran was still a doctor and panic could wear him down quickly.
He grabbed the back of Jack's neck and brought their foreheads together. “Focus, Jack, focus for me.” He pleaded.
He felt his eyes get heavy with tears as he tried to focus on Kieran. As his breathing slowly evened out, a tear fell from his eye. “What did I do?” He whispered.
Bringing a hand up to his face, Kieran wiped away the tear as it fell down his face. A smile and quick huff of air came from his mouth. “Ye brought us to a new time, a time worth exploring.” He tried to explain. Yes Kristoph was dead, yes they were stuck in the future but they were all still alive and who knew what sort of grand adventures laid ahead.
“I wasn’-“ Jack started as he was trying to wrap his mind around everything. “I was… they were tryin t’...” his brow furrowed at Kieran. “Edi… they took ‘er.”
His eyes softened at Jack and shook his head. “Shh, we can figure this out together, I promise but ye need to regain yer strength first.” He tried to appeal to Jack as best as he could but he knew that what he was experiencing wasn’t going to stop any time soon.
He’d cried many tears in his time on earth but he couldn’t do that now, not while Jack needed him to be strong. “Ye tried to help, and no one blames ye for anything.” Perhaps if he addressed it with him it could let him move past it.
Jack curled against Kieran, his eyes closed. “I wan’t’go home. Get outta here.” He said weakly. Maybe if he were in his own bed he’d feel better. He doubted it.
He felt overwhelmed with the guilt that he’d messed up the teleportation spell and that he’d not been able to save Edi.
“Okay.” He said softly into Jack's ear. The wheelchair could be grabbed later since Jack still needed his rest but he could easily keep an eye on Jack there while Beth took over at the med tent. Positioning his arms underneath Jack's knee, Kieran used the force of his knee to the ground to hoist him up.
He didn’t like seeing Jack like this, so afraid, so unhappy. He felt like he needed to shield him from all this pain but when it came down to it he didn’t know how. Carefully he carried Jack back to their wagon and once inside put him down onto the bed.
“Better?” He asked, his voice still soft in case he had any residual headaches.
Jack held onto Kieran as he was carried, head resting on the man’s shoulder. Once in bed he let out a breath, trying to relax. It was hard, but he felt more comfortable. “Yea.” He nodded. “Sorry if I scared ya.” He said, squeezing Kieran’s hand.
Kneeling down next to the bed, Kieran shook his head. “I’m a doctor remember? Ye didn’t scare me one wee bit.” He offered, hoping it might elicit a lighthearted laugh. Smoothing his hand over Jacks face he leaned forward and pressed a long, much needed kiss to Jacks lips. Four days never seemed like a lot until he couldn’t speak to him for that long.
Jack returned the kiss with a small hum. He sighed once the kiss broke and he rested his head against Kieran’s. He wasn’t sure how he was going to be able to face everyone. How many knew he was responsible for their plight? “It’s a bit funny. I just woke up, but I feel tired.” Granted he hadn’t really been asleep in the classic sense as much as adrift. “Will y’hold me till I drop off?”
Kieran offered him a sympathetic smile and nodded his head as he stood up to climb into the bed next to Jack. “Gladly.” He replied and wrapped his arms around his lover, offering as much comfort as he could in his fragile state. Kieran could see the war that was happening behind Jacks eyes, knew what it felt like to be his in position, so to speak and he’d never wish that feeling on his worst enemy.
His hand came to the back of Jack's head and gently stroked the hair there to ease him into a blissful sleep. The pain meds were probably kicking in now and since he’d been off them a while they were bound to make him drowsy. “Don’t remember my mum for a good one but a friend of mine used to tell me this story.” He cleared his throat and began to soothingly speak. “Once there was a man. This man had all the magic in the world. He could destroy cities or build them up, he could take life or give it, he could rise to the top of a mountain with ease. There was only one problem.” A beat.
“He was afraid.”
Jack smiled as he curled into Kieran. He hadn’t planned on hearing a story, but he’d try to stay awake as long as possible to hear it.
Using his other hand to stroke Jack’s back he leaned his head against the other man and continued. “The truth of the matter was that he was afraid he would make the wrong choice and that others would suffer if he chose unwisely. For years he kept the magic to himself until it built up so strong in his body that it exploded.” It wasn’t the happiest of stories but at least it was relevant.
“And ye know what happened? Nothing, no one was sad, no one was angry, because there was no one left.” He sighed as he told the story he’d heard so long ago. “Sometimes fear of what happened or what could happen can be our greatest enemy, especially when there are those who love us just the way we are.” He finished, pressing a kiss atop Jack's head.
Jack’s eyes had closed as his breathing steadied, sleep taking him away. He was pleased he wasn’t afraid of his powers, just what could happen if he wasn’t practiced.
His dreams were distant memories turned into fantasies. His mother and father with him and accepting of the man he’d become. His mentor impressed of how powerful and skilled he’d become- nothing about the mistake he’d just made, though it would likely have been looked at as proof of his connection to time. And Kieran and those friends he’d grown up with, playing a game of cards while sharing stories.