Kerr winced as she was half carried across the lot, Beth under one arm and Jean under the other. Her chest hurt and her heart was still pounding in her ears. She felt the buzz of anger, fear, confusion all still ringing around her that was not her own and it was causing quite a migraine. It didn’t help that it sort of hurt to breathe.
Upon entering the tent she felt as the two women set her down on a bed and without much control she found herself laid back upon it. Laying down was definitely better than sitting up. A hand moved over her abdomen as she took in a breath, wincing again. She couldn’t tell if she’d broken a rib or just bruised. Hearing someone exit, she assumed they went to fetch the doc. Kerr was happy to just lay there, waiting for the pulsing to stop in her head.
With the help of Beth, Jean placed Kerr on the bed and sat by him. “I’m so sorry, he’s never done anything like that!” She said to him, and what would happen if he didn’t make it? Would they force her to get rid of King? She couldn’t do that, King was her kin. “The doctor’s gonna be here real soon, don’t you worry. He’ll stich you right up.” She replied, a soothing hand to his forehead. Her smile indicated that she wasn’t sure she believed it. She had never met this supposed doctor but it seemed like the type of injury that would take weeks to heal if he ended up healing at all.
She had noticed the influx of patrons hurrying by. Attempting to figure out what was going on, Beth stepped out of the tent and called over to a nearby worker who had about as much knowledge of what was going on as she did. Out of the corner of her eye she noticed Jean and Kerr making their way toward the tent; the boy looked to be in a sorry state. She motioned the two inside and helped lay Kerr down onto the bed. After some preliminary questions - What happened? What pain was he in? Where was the pain? - Beth quickly took her leave to grab Kieran and inform him about what was going on.
As usual Kieran was manning the Eli when Beth came running up to him to tell him of the animal attack which needed his immediate attention. Having just gotten the last child off the ride he ushered the ones in line out and closed down the ride for the time being. An animal attack was serious and if he wasn’t able to treat the patient quickly enough then they might not survive. He ran back to the tent as fast he could until he came to the bed where a young woman was sitting next to a young man who appeared to be in a lot of pain. “Excuse me, ma’am, if you please.” he said and watched as the woman stood to walk away from him.
“Hello, I’m Kieran, I’m going to feel to see if there’s been a broken rib, alright?” Gently, he lifted the bed secured it before lightly prodding Kerr with his fingers. He watched closely for his reaction but could feel that there had been a few that had broken. It didn’t seem as if the animal had slashed at him which was good but he’d have to get to healing him right away before it did any damage on his internal organs.
Kerr winced at the pressure. “Ah!” She gritted her teeth, breathing a bit erratic.
She tried to focus on something besides the pain, like why King had gone off the way he had. So many emotions and feelings she couldn’t consolidate as her own. He hadn’t been looking to hurt anyone- or only one? He had been angry but not in a… protective, he’d felt protective. “Don’t.” A hiss escaped from between her teeth as a tear fell from the corner of her eye at the pain.
He stopped and looked back at Beth. “Looks like a couple of ribs are broken, going to need to reset it. Bring me the scissors.” The man’s shirt was going to need to come off before he could heal him and it was too risky to take it off over his shoulders. “Don’t worry, I’ll set ye right.”
Still standing and watching, Jean crossed her arms over her chest and paced around the medical tent. If Kerr died from his injuries then she might lose King and King had become her kin. She still wanted to adapt his form too and if he was gone there was no way to do that. “Please be careful.” She said, as if he wouldn’t be.
With a nod of confirmation, Beth went to grab a pair of medical scissors from his medical kit. She handed the scissors iff to Kieran before offering Jean a reassuring smile. "He will be." She motioned toward a chair near the side of the tent. "Perhaps you should take a seat." Her nervous pacing was a tad distracting in such an enclosed space. "Do you need anything?" She asked her, knowing that keeping her calm was just as important as keeping the patient calm.
So distracted by what was going on, Jean didn’t realize she was being spoken to at first. When she was asked a question it took her a moment before she understood. Near the foot of the bed, Jean took a seat. “I’m fine.” She replied and watched intently at the procedure being done.
Taking the offered scissors Kieran began to cut Kerr’s shirt so that he could get a better angle to heal him with. As the material was being sliced open a bust bodice was underneath. He was actually a she. It didn’t matter much anyway, as long as he could be closer to the injury. His hands laid on her ribs and he looked down at her apologetically. “I’m so sorry, but this is going to hurt.” And that’s when he began to heal her.
Kerr tried to object to her shirt being undone, but it hurt too much to give any significant protest. The bodice she wore was simple and gave her the illusion of a flat chest, allowing her to pass as a boy. As Kieran laid his hands on her she grimaced at the pain and closed her eyes, trying to imagine she was somewhere else, somewhere peaceful.
Jean watched as Kerr’s shirt was cut open and her jaw dropped. She’d recognized that, knew what she had hiding under there and all of sudden everything made so much sense. Except Kerr didn’t want Jean and Jean wasn’t sure she was interested anymore either. “You’re a woman?” She asked, feeling a little bit cheated by not having known.
Kieran watched the interaction unfold and tried to concentrate on the procedure until that lion tamer woman spoke. “Beth, I need ye to get her out of here.” He said and returned his concentration back to his patient. She was still healing and he needed to finish so that she could survive.
Beth's attempt to soothe Jean's nerves immediately ceased when she posed her question. A quick glance over to Kerr revealed the exposed bodice that had been hidden underneath her shirt. She had been pretending to be a man. Why, she didn't know, but it wasn't her place to question. What mattered was getting her healed. She approached Jean and rested a hand on her arm. "Let's go," she told her, voice soft but firm. "You should check on the lion, yes?"
“I-“ Kerr started, her eyes opening to look at Jean as Beth came up next to her. The doc has been right about the pain. She probably would have blacked out if it didn’t hurt.
Jean followed Beth, officially in shock and speechless. Jean was never speechless and yet here she was, couldn’t think of a word to say. It made sense why she felt so attracted to Kerr but even more questions came to her mind. “Yeah.” She finally said and standing to allow Beth to escort her out of the med tent. Before they were too far she turned around. “Get some rest!”
With the lion tamer out of the picture Kieran was finally able to finish the last little bit of healing. He wasn’t sure if Beth had seen him heal people like that before as he liked to be alone but he couldn’t wait for people to leave to heal Kerr. “I’m sorry, I’m sure ye didn’t want anybody knowing.” He said to Kerr, seeing the shock she herself had felt by being exposed as such.
She shook her head, looking away as the pain subsided slowly and embarrassment set in. “No… I-“ Kerr swallowed, feeling her eyes water a little as everything felt overwhelming to her. “Thank you… for…” her hand brushed over her side, it was easier to breathe now. She wouldn’t question how.
He offered her a sympathetic smile. “It’s alright. Yer secret is safe with me.” Kieran had seen a lot in his day and it was far beyond him to call out on those who had secrets. He’d had many himself and while he didn’t like them he understood that sometimes it was for the best. “Now ye still need to rest, at least for a day or two and then ye should be good as new.”
Kerr nodded. “Can… can you send Jean back in?” She asked. “And… is there a shirt I can…” she asked looking down at her cut one.
Jean was pacing around outside, speaking to herself about all that she had seen. “Of course she’s a girl, ain’t no man ever made me feel that way.” She whispered to herself as she waited to hear about how Kerr was doing.
Beth stood quietly near the tent’s entrance, keeping an ear out for any indication that her presence was needed. She could hear Jean mumbling to herself but said nothing, letting her come to terms with what she had just seen without interruption. Through all the whispering and excited chatter of the throes of carnival goers passing by the tent, Beth heard the question Kerr posed. That was her queue.
“How’s the patient?” She asked, sticking her head into the tent.
“Good, bring the girl back in.” He replied, standing from where he had kneeled by Kerr’s bedside. Quickly he found a shirt that was left behind by another roustabout her size and handed it to her. “Ye can keep that one. Don’t think anyone is coming back for it.” He offered her a smile, the glow of his eyes still there after the healing process.
Jean had overheard the doctor refer to her and she quickly ran inside to sit at Kerr’s bedside. A look of concern came to her face as she looked at the woman she once thought was a man in bed with her injuries. “Hey. I’m so sorry, I don’t know why King would do that.” She felt like the whole thing was somehow her fault and she wouldn’t blame Kerr if she never wanted to speak to her again.
Kerr sat up, sore but comparatively much better, and slipped the shirt on. As Jean entered, she found her fingers messing with the hem on the shirt a bit, brow furrowed as she considered what she’d say. Then, Jean spoke first. Shaking her head she spoke softly, “No, it wasn’t-” She’d had very little time to come to terms with what happened. While things seemed to have calmed, she could still remember the agitation and drive for protection. But why? “You didn’t do anything… something… happened? I think he… felt threatened, or that something was a threat.” She shook her head. “I don’t know. I should have stepped in front of him... “ It had been stupid, implulsive and she wasn’t sure why she thought she could do something to stop him, but she did. And it had worked, hadn’t it? That bit was a bit of a blur.
Her eyes softened as she listened to Kerr try to justify King. Jean had been at Zion for a month maybe and still hadn’t seen all there was to be seen with magic. All she knew was that she’d watched King nearly kill Kerr and she wasn’t willing to let either of them do that again. Her hand came to Kerr’s face, stroking it gently and she shook her head. “It don’t matter what should or shouldn’tve happened, all that matters now is that you heal, alright?”
“Doc’s healed me up.” Kerr replied. She really wanted to get up and check on the big animal. “I know he didn’t mean to hurt me. It was my fault.” That was something she knew for certain. King had not meant to hurt her, and he felt bad about it. But how did she know that? It wasn’t really something she could just chalk up to instinct anymore. Or her own emotions being put on the beast.
“And please don’t tell anyone- um… you know.” She added after a brief moment as her eyes looked away in shame.
She brought her hand that was on Kerr’s face to her chest. “Cross my heart. Your secret is safe with me.” She promised, a soft smile on her face. Didn’t seem like Kerr was interested in her but she was glad to have a friend.