Awkward Silences (Part 1 of 2)
Location: Wizard Island Facility, Infirmary
Timeline: March 23rd, 2010
When Abby had come to the Tower, she'd been broken, body and spirit, unable to even shift back to her human form because of the injuries she'd suffered. She'd spent her first 24 hours living in a tank in the infirmary while Timo carefully removed the large pieces of glass and stitched her up. Jax had watched from his post beside Bryan's bed as Abby slowly put herself back together. He'd lent his strength when it came time to lift her from the tank and dry her off but she hadn't been able to meet his eyes.
Over the few days he hadn't been able to keep from watching the young woman. Within hours of being removed from the tank she'd been on her feet, an hour later she'd been in scrubs and familiarizing herself with the infirmary. She'd worked until she collapsed every day, her and Timo quickly becoming a well oiled machine in their new infirmary.
He'd been the one to notice how little she ate, only to realize he'd been just as bad, her bad behavior changing his. For the last two days he'd managed to leave Bryan's side long enough to get them both at least one good meal then made her sit and talk to him so he could make sure she actually ate. For the most part they'd talked about nothing, just light everyday conversations about the weather and day to day life. That is until today.
Today was the first day off Timo had taken in weeks both before and after the move, letting Abby watch the infirmary while he spent the whole day with Brook. But he'd been called back to watch over the place when Abby collapsed while checking Bryan's IV. She'd spent so much time in the water while in Nexus custody, then trapped there when she couldn't shift back due to her injuries, that she'd avoided it almost completely, avoiding even showers preferring to wash her hair in the sink and bathe with a washcloth.
"That's a problem," Timo explained as he checked her over with his golden eyes, "Even though she looks completely human on the outside other than the hair, inside she's not. Her body needs water, more than the rest of us, she's just dehydrated but like you and I she absorbs most of the water she needs through her skin, or her gills when she's underwater. I'll take her to the washroom and get her into a shower, that should help."
"No," Jax said quickly, "You stay with Bryan and D." Yes, he liked the idea of getting Abby into a shower, but his suggestion was more because he didn't like the idea of Bryan being in the infirmary alone without a medical professional. "I'll take her," he continued, and then when he saw Timo's skeptical eyebrow, hurried to add, "she and I have gotten to know each other over the last couple days. It'll be okay, I just don't want to leave Bryan here without one of the two of you around."
Timo laughed, "Alright, but just remember, Cam will flay us both if there is even a hint of impropriety. Or at least unwelcome impropriety."
Jax nodded, bending first to kiss Bryan gently on the lips, then turned and lifted the unconscious Abby into his arms and carry her to the showers.
Abby gasped awake minutes later when she found herself in one of the private showers, cradled against a very warm, and very naked chest as water poured over them both.
"It's okay," Jax said softly, he'd actually been dozing against the wall, the warm water and lack of sleep overwhelming him, "You passed out from dehydration, Timo said it was this or dumping you in the lake. And he was afraid you wouldn't shift if you were unconscious."
Abby blinked, the clear membrane staying in place as the water ran over her eyes and she processed what he said.
"How ironic would that be? A mermaid drowning?" Abby asked her tone only a little bitter as she moved slowly out of his lap. She was only wearing her simple cotton bra and panties, though the water had made them nearly see through, a fact she realized only after she'd taken stock of just how clingy and see through Jax' boxers had become. She took a deep breath and forced herself to to look down, as she'd feared her arms, legs and belly held the iridescent shimmer of tiny scales, slashed with the still healing wounds from her ordeal.
Jax didn't laugh, though he did smile, "Terribly, but that's why I brought you in here."
Abby pushed her hair off her face then crossed her hands over her middle, "Sorry you have to see me like this."
Jax raised an eyebrow in skeptically, "Like what? Half naked in the shower?"
"No," Abby said, shaking her head, and looked down not able to meet his eyes, "Like this, my skin changes to scales when I get wet and I'm still all cut up."
"Abby," Jax said, sitting forward and tilting her head up to look at him, "You are beautiful. All of you."
Abby turned her head away, shaking it in denial.
"Uh-uh," Jax said, turning her back to face him with both hands, "I've seen it all Abby. I watched Timo pull shards of glass bigger than my hand from you. I heard him worrying aloud because he didn't know how to safely sedate you since aquatic creatures are so much more fragile when it comes to drugs. I watched you put yourself back together these last few days all the while keeping me from going bat shit about Bryan."
Carefully he drew her to her feet and held her at arms length, deliberately raking his eyes over her body taking in every inch of her, "You're stunning, scales and all." He whispered it, but let her see in his eyes that he meant it.
Abby had read his file, actually she'd read all their files. Sleep was not something that came easily to her, and when it did the nightmares interrupted any hope of rest she might get, so she'd studied them all. The more she knew about the students here, the better she could help care for them. She knew from his sexual history that Jax didn't really have a preference of men to women so his flirtation was genuine, or at least not mocking. A small smile flitted across her lips as she remembered the quote Timo had written, 'I'm an equal opportunity flirt.'
She hiccuped, she'd been fighting tears already, but this had pushed her over. Her mutation had cost her someone, he'd shunned her and broken her heart. To know that someone found her attractive, liked her for who she was not who she had been, was more healing than any medicine. Unfortunately her new body came without tears, or at least gave them up very unwillingly, so she skipped straight past sobs to hiccups.
Jax laughed softly, pulling her in against his body and just holding her while the water washed over them. He had to focus all his concentration on not reacting to the feel of her soft warm body pressed against his, he had a feeling a hard-on would ruin the moment.
Only when minutes had passed and her hiccups subsided, did he brush back her soaking hair with one hand. He was pretty sure she'd noticed his resolve slipping as she calmed and his body rebelled against the shackles he'd placed on it. If they stayed in the shower any longer he was liable to make his interest known in a rather large and undeniable way. "However much fun this is," he said smiling, "I should probably get back to the infirmary, I have to be there when he wakes up... And if I stay in here with you any longer I'll probably end up making a pass which would totally ruin the moment."
Abby smiled a little shyly but nodded as she let him lead her out of the shower. As they dried off and she put a hand on his arm, "Thank you, Jax."
"For what?" Jax asked with a twinkle in his eye, "Stripping down and taking a shower with a pretty girl?"
Abby just laughed, "Go on, I'll bring you dry clothes when I come back to relieve Timo, I'm pretty sure I interrupted his date when I fainted."
"Yeah but you've also been staying out of the water, and your body needs it," Jax said seriously, "I could almost see the water absorbing into your skin when we got in there. Even if you don't want to fully shift, which I totally get by the way, there are times when I just don't want to be fuzzy, you still need to get your skin wet or you'll kill yourself."
Abby sighed as she toweled off her hair, "I know, I just..." she shook her head, "I just couldn't stand to see it and I can't really shower with my eyes closed."
Jax gave a heavy mock sigh, "Then I guess you will need someone to help you."
"Go!" Abby laughed, pointing at the door.
Jax retreated, hands up in surrender, but it was a strategic withdrawal, he wasn't done with her, not by a long shot.