Francis Mulcahy leaned against the doorway that led to Rosie’s for a long moment, watching the people inside. Taking a small step, he found himself fully inside the bar. It wasn’t like it was his first time, really. There was just something in the air that made him pause. A tinge of electricity made the hairs on the back of his neck rise. He could feel it in his bones- something would happen tonight. He trusted his instinct, and followed it.
“There’s a game in back, Father, but you didn’t hear it from me.” Rosie said with a nod and all-knowing smile. “American gentleman in back too, for a poker game.”
Hmm. Feeling a tug in his belly, Mulcahy followed his instinct, holding up a finger for Rosie to indicate he wanted his usual drink as he headed in the back room, finding Klinger playing cards with an handsome black-haired and blue-eyed man in a World War II trench coat. English, judging from the look of the coat, which looked practically brand-new.
“Father! Come on and join us. Captain Jack Harkness, Father Mulcahy.” Klinger said with a grin, nodding his head towards the empty chair that sat in the corner of the room. Mulcahy let out a small sigh and nodded, pulling up the seat.
“Do you have a name, Father Mulcahy, or is it something you like?” Captain Jack Harkness said with a saucy grin, making Mulcahy’s cheeks flush with more than just heat. My, he put Hawkeye to shame, thought Mulcahy as he stuttered slightly.
“I should have warned you- he makes Hawkeye look like a schoolboy.” Klinger said with a nod and boisterous laugh, as Rosie came by with Mulcahy’s beer. Mulcahy let out a sharp exhale and laugh, nodding in agreement with Klinger’s assessment of the new face at the table.
“Yes, actually- it’s Francis John Patrick Mulcahy.” Francis said with a nod as he picked up the cards.
“So... Francis-John, what brings a priest to our humble table? Other than the monetary benefits, of course.” Jack twinkled at Francis, his straight white teeth putting the grimy walls of the bar to shame. “I’ve got to pass some time, waiting on a friend who left me behind.” Jack replied with a bitter touch in his voice. “Back in Cardiff. He and Rose left me. Probably why I came here- to Rosie’s.” Jack said with a laugh, throwing down two cards for Klinger to replace. “The sign told me to come in.”
“I see. Well- well, I served in England, actually- at the tail end of ‘44 and went to Germany in ‘45 to help with the…prisoners.” Mulcahy trailed off, glancing at the coat and not wanting to remember the memories the coat brought out in him. It had been horrible, walking through those iron gates and seeing all of those people…Mulcahy shook the thoughts out of his head and smiled wanly, opting to take a large sip of his drink instead.
Four hands later and a round later, Mulcahy was feeling quite confident that this round would put him at over fifty dollars, a good amount to give to the Orphanage this month- far more than his usual small sum of roughly 10 or 15 dollars.
“Feeling lucky, Francis-John?” Jack murmured with a laugh, toying with his cards as he watched Klinger grunt in dislike with whatever his hand was. Mulcahy smiled a small smile, and let his eyes dart up to the ceiling in a silent answer. “Ah, I thought so. Man of the cloth and all that.” Jack replied with a small purr, placing his hand down as soon as Klinger was done with his hand.
“Why don’t you just pick one, Captain Harkness?” Mulcahy asked with a shake of his head as he threw down his cards, grinning gleefully as he watched the cards unfold. “Seeing that I just won the pot- I’ll allow you to pick my name for the consolation prize.” Mulcahy replied with a saucy wink, the drink starting to get to him. Not to mention the company , his traitorous brain remarked snidely in a voice that sounded strangely like Charles Winchester.
“Francis- You seem more like a Francis than a John. You’re something special.” Jack replied with a determined nod, picking up the deck and shuffling the cards. “You in, Klinger?”
“I”m out. I’m down to my last five dollars, and a pack of pantyhose. I’ve got to call it a night, Captain Jack.” Klinger grinned and winked, starting to rise from his seat.
What happened later, Mulcahy couldn’t recall- he only remembered bits and pieces- and even then, it was fuzzy and probably grossly inaccurate. He recalled a loud bang-
Mulcahy watched Jack rise from his seat as the projectile flew towards the trio.
“Oh crap, not again. I hate dying.” Jack muttered to himself as he grabbed Klinger and Mulcahy, throwing them to the ground. “Stay down, boys!”
“Jack!” Mulcahy shouted, half-rising from his prone position near the overturned table. Cards flew through the air, and he could see the broad back of the Captain blocking him and Klinger from the projectile, and light was everywhere-
“Francis, dammit, you should have stayed!” Jack screamed, blood streaming down his chest.
“You’re wounded- we’re a MASH-” Mulcahy found himself saying, crawling towards Jack, not noticing that he was hurt as well- there was a reason his ears were ringing and blood was starting to puddle at his knees.
Before Jack could reply, several doctors came running through the gaping hole of what used to be Rosie’s. The oldest one- a small man that Jack later learned was called Potter- shouted out orders for the wounded to be carried out.
“What happened?” a large balding man in a white doctor’s jacket asked, as another doctor swept by.
“The enemy decided to say hello, Charles. They wanted to see if we were home.” the doctor quipped as he checked over Klinger and Jack, his eyes wary as he eyed Jack, not sure what to make of him. Jack grinned warily, knowing his wounds looked near-fatal, but was managing to hold on to his new friend Francis.
“I think Francis here needs you more than I do.”
“THAT is Father Mulcahy?!” the thin comedian of a physician gasped, turning to Francis, whose glasses and cross had been blown off, and glass crunched under his boots. “God- Francis- Get a litter here, now! He needs to go in OR immediately. Then him- Klinger might be okay, he’s got a broken leg and probably ringing ears.” Jack could hear the dark-haired physician’s voice crack, a plaintive cry of pain shuddered in his voice.
“Hawkeye- we’ve got him.” Potter replied with a nod, as Hawkeye turned to eye Jack one last time before following after the jeep that sped down to the MASH unit, with Francis. “That boy.” Potter murmured as he followed Jack’s jeep, watching the byplay with experienced eyes. “You’ll go in, Charles has you.”
“Pleasure.” Charles murmured, eyeing the bandages that had been placed on Jack’s chest. Jack wasn’t sure what to think, but allowed the anesthesia to take him under, turning ever so slightly to see Francis’s tousled and bloodied hair next to him, and listening to the surgeon Hawkeye sharply requesting tools from a wide-eyed blonde nurse next to him.
“Don’t take Margaret’s head off, Hawkeye. Father Mulcahy will be just fine, you’re on it.” Charles replied snidely, frowning down at Jack as he watched the young man’s eyes slowly drift closed. The only sound that filled the OR was requests for tools, everyone’s mind was on the friendly Father Mulcahy, the nurses and doctors hardly able to believe he had been a victim of a mortar shell being blasted into Rosie’s- “I can’t imagine this could happen to someone like that sweet man, what ever did he do?” a nurse murmured to the dark-haired surgeon, who shook his head and murmured - Francis dammit stay with me- I can’t do this- Jack vaguely heard as he went down under the anesthesia administered by a doctor with a thick, luxurious mustache.
Several hours had passed for Jack until his eyes opened to the sight of a recovery room. Or what passed for one in the 1950s , thought Jack warily as he watched his surroundings quietly. He wanted to be sure he was in a good place, before bringing any attention to the fact he was awake. He had learned the hard way back when he had been with Rose and the Doctor.
“Good morning, sunshine!” A blonde-haired nurse replied with a wide grin, reminding him of Rose Tyler- or perhaps Jackie Tyler would be more fitting. “I’m your nurse, Major Margaret Houlihan. You did such a wonderful, brave, and stupid thing- saving Father Mulcahy and Klinger like that.”
“Francis- is he all right?” Jack asked breathlessly, looking around for a second until he caught sight of a familiar blond head a bed or two away from him, the dark-haired comedian hovering over the bed.
“ Father Mulcahy will be all right- he’s got quite a recovery ahead for him.” Margaret replied briskly, her hands busying themselves with taking care of Jack’s vitals and his bedding. The balding surgeon approached Jack’s bedside- Charles , Jack recalled.
“I see you’re up. Well, we had to dig out quite a bit from you, and.. well, you seem quite- healthy.” Charles remarked with a hint of surprise. “That mortar that hit you must have been quite faulty, but enough to cause some trouble for each one of you.” cool blue eyes studied Jack for a long moment. “Local boy, are you?”
“RAF, actually.” Jack replied softly, hoping no one had gone through his things quite yet. He wasn’t sure what exactly he had on him, but he was sure at least he still could pull the RAF card and Captain Jack Harkness had been long gone for at least a decade. The coat still did help, he thought as he remembered Francis’s sad gaze at the coat. “Look, how are the boys? I tried to keep ‘em from the blast, but I know Francis didn’t listen…”
“I can see that. ” Charles replied dryly as he moved from his position at the end of Jack’s bed, a hand going into his jacket pocket as he gave Jack one last look-over before moving to another bed. The comedian- Hawkeye- moved up from Francis’s bed to Jack’s.
“Thank you.” Hawkeye replied softly, his blue eyes tired and full of weariness. Jack could tell there was something more there, but he didn’t want to say much in front of Margaret, given he didn’t know the nature of things here. But what he DID know was that the surgeon Hawkeye cared very, very much for Francis John, perhaps more than what was needed for comradeship during wartime. He had felt the same way about Angelo the minute he saw him in Ellis Island, way back when.
“Why?” Jack asked, slightly puzzled. “I did what any decent human being would do for your - Francis.” Jack replied with a shrug as he watched Hawkeye. “He’s a really good poker player, and gave Klinger and I a run for our money.”
“That he does.” Hawkeye said with a nod. “He has special help.” A small grin toyed at the edges of Hawkeye’s mouth. “Now, what are you doing here?”
“I specialize in matchmaking. I was called here, you know. It’s a war on and all.” A dry chuckle came from the surgeon, when he realized Jack’s humor was quite risque. “You know, I can get you a good deal with Francis here- he’s a keeper, one of the rarest ones on the market, so I have heard. I’m pretty sure I heard that you need someone like him around.”
“I doubt he’s in the market for an agnostic surgeon.” Hawkeye shook his head with good humor, patting Jack’s knee as he moved away. “Although, you are free to try, you know, if there’s something in the air.” Hawkeye poked fun at Jack, not realizing to Jack, a challenge had been handed to him. “I’ve tried, but I don’t think he can take a hint.”
“Well, you didn’t have Captain Jack Harkness at your service, then. Now you do.” Jack said as he lowered his voice to a seductive murmur, the voice that made Rose Tyler smile that smile at him.
Pushing all thoughts of Rose and the Doctor away, Jack’s brows rose mischievously. “Give it a try- Hawkeye. You’ll be surprised.”
Jack watched the curiosity glinting in blue eyes, which moved to the fair head of the camp chaplain. Hawkeye’s tongue darted out to wet parched lips, and he moved his rangy body up towards Mulcahy’s bed. Jack could see - almost physically- the need radiating off the man, to make sure Francis was whole again.
“I need you here, and- you owe me a drink for putting me through this, Francis Mulcahy .” Hawkeye whispered, leaning down to place a hand on Francis’s forehead, his lips whispering the words close to Francis’s ear.
Jack missed Angelo, and he watched the byplay between the two men- he could see Hawkeye’s other hand sneak a brief squeeze-
Francis squeezed back. “Hawkeye.” Jack could see the man’s lips moving, and the words were easy to see. “Thank you. Now, what were you saying about a drink? I”m a bit parched.” Mulcahy smiled a small smile, his eyebrows raised in such a way that it gave him an innocent choirboy appearance.
“Oh, you.” Hawkeye gasped out quietly with a laugh, shaking his head. “Not until you can get out of bed and walk about.”
“Only if you’ve got me.”
Jack’s heart squeezed, and he smiled, someone had found their Rose.