There’s probably a very valuable lesson he’ll be taught from this situation, Jack muses as he crumbles in on himself with another sharp and muffled cry of pain. It’s just at that moment he didn’t quite have the agony threshold needed to form a coherent thought after being shot in the goddamn stomach.
His left hand pressed tightly to his mouth was just one of the many parts of his body smothered in blood, the copper taste slipping through his lips as the crimson stained his teeth. Whatever shot him was still there. Close. Not too far away from where he had flung himself into a ditch after taking a shot meant for one of the members of the Order. The smug bastard slipped away with a flourish, leaving him bleeding in a heap - and the attacker crunching branches with his feet with each step he took. They varied in volume, always becoming louder as if his shooter was walking in zig-zag formation. Jack was terrifyingly unsure whether or not this guy was a sloppy hunter, or if this was a scare tactic used to put the fear of god right though his lanky atheist body.
It was almost sunset, which meant that that he might be reported missing soon. Eventually. Maybe. Unless he cried for help.
He’d read before that wolves howl in order to signal to their pack, usually when in distress. It was in one of those mythical bullshit books bound in human flesh and packed to the brim with information on how to efficiently kill and torture his kind. It felt kind of weird to call them that, admittedly. But the man (granted, it could also be a woman or a non binary person) would definitely hear his call. Come running towards the source. Or maybe run away, if Jack was lucky - but luck didn’t exactly follow him… anywhere, if you call the shitstorm of his life evidence enough. Mom dead, life planned by a secondary source, father the head of a magical organisation that are all complete and utter douchebags. Why did he take this bullet again?
Oh yeah. Keeping up appearances.
That creepy book also taught him that a bullet wouldn’t end up killing him. It hurt like a bitch, he could tell you that as the blood seeped through the fingers of his right hand; but he’d heal fast. That’s kind of what he was scared of, actually - as his sloppy prodding of his back confirmed that there was no exit wound. If he healed over, he’d be walking around with a slug in his abdomen; or he’d be forced to cut it out somehow. He wasn’t going to lie, he was dreading the little switchblade in his jean pocket - the one now pressing against his thigh and making itself known. It was for self defence. Funny how that is. He might have a lighter in his bag if he could just reach it, where it lay not even four feet away.
Performing unanaesthetised surgery on himself in the middle of a forest with a pocket knife was something he never once thought of doing. Now it was becoming more and more likely that he’d cross it off the ‘things I did before I croaked it’ list that sat mentally in his brain. Fucking damn it.
He was pale, he could confirm that much. The way his hands practically glowed white worsened the contrast between him and the blood that was steadily flowing from just above his belly button (give or take two inches to the right), and how they shook like the bus he used to take to school, juddering with each slight bump and causing those resting their heads against the glass to get a concussion.
The steady noise of crunching got further away, and Jack prayed, oh lord he prayed that they kept going in that direction. He wasn’t one to cry. Not even as a kid - but he felt so... he was in inhumane amounts of agony. He groaned. He was bleeding out and the wound wasn’t fucking healing yet and maybe this was like the whole Hamish thing. Maybe there was something in the bullet. God he hoped not. Well actually- he wouldn’t need to cut himself back open. Just... stick tweezers… oh fuckity fuck fucking fuck. It felt like a gasoline dipped billiard ball was on fire and being swirled around in his stomach. He didn’t want to think how much more pain he’d be in when digging into his body purposefully.
If there’s a god up there, please stop screwing me over all the time? Thanks. Do me a solid this once, and don’t let me die yet? ...a-fucking-men
If he was going to call the knights, he had to do it now. His phone was in his bag and he couldn’t move, so this was his one shot. His only shot. If the person who shot him came back there would be a really large problem on his hands - so he grit his teeth and he hoped. Then, with whatever he had left flowing In his veins, he managed to shove the image of Silverback to the front of his mind - picturing the long sleek claws dripping with blood - matted fur thick with mud and clay. Clay, haha. That was funny. Where was he again? Didn’t Clay now work for the order? Jack should drop in at some point and see how he’s doing. It’s been awhile since he’s seen the walking existential crisis.
Focus, asshole. You need to stay alive. You’re eighteen. No redeeming qualities. You need to make a life for yourself, become something. If you die in a ditch because of a gunshot wound, while you’re literally learning magic, what’s the point?
The point is that he hadn’t learned how to fucking heal anyone yet and he might not be in this predicament in the first place if the Order of the Blue Rose actually helped their members out once in a while.
Jack didn’t really know if he’d transformed or not, but despite this he let out a large cry - one that carried out over the top of the ditch. One that was packed with shed tears and the desperation to survive. It might have been ‘help’. Or maybe it was just the first noise that could make it past his lips. He wasn’t too sure, if he was being quite honest.
Come on you fuckers, come find me. Please. I’m counting on you.
Waking up a second time was much preferred, in Jack’s opinion. The pain was still there, don’t get him wrong. It might actually be deemed as worse than it was when he was last conscious. It’s just that now he was sitting on something comfortable - pillows propping him up on all sides and something was holding his wrists tightly to the couch cushions. Those feelings were strikingly different, and through his haze he was at least partly sure that hands were pinning his own to the soft down filled padding.
Then there was that feeling, something poking around inside of him and aiming to tear him open. That was probably the most horrifying thing he had ever felt in probably his entire life, if he was being honest. Someone was doing something- he had, he had to open his eyes now.
It was Hamish. His hand was there, on Jack’s stomach. Index and thumb wedged into the entrance wound, twisting the bullet out of it’s position and drawing it out of him slowly. Jack wondered if it was in one full piece still.
“Oh, oh fuck-in chris-christ stop. Stopstopstop,” he whined, head pushing back against the seat and teeth gritting tightly until they squeaked with pressure, “Please, puh-lease”
His whining grew louder as the hold on his wrists went lax, giving Jack the ability to shift his left arm out of the hold, and press his palm weakly to Hamish’s forehead. A faint red imprint stained their leader’s hairline, mostly the dust of dried blood that had long since crusted on Jack’s fingers.
“M’sorry, ms’rry, didn’ mean t’amish,” he whined through gritted teeth, and the man in front of him with strikingly blue eyes shot him a look that emulated pity. Jack fought all urges to shove the prodding hand from his stomach, instead pushing his upper arm tight against the cushions once more and mentally begging whoever was behind him to hold him.
“Hold him down, Randall,” Hamish spoke sternly, and Jack began to wonder how close Hamish digging a bullet out of his flesh would make them. This was a new experience for the both of them. Jack hoped, atleast. Hamish pulling a bullet out with his fingers seemed less than desirable, and the townie hoped for Hamish’s sake that he’d never had to do this before. It kind of sucked, being on the receiving end of a bullet extraction. The person doing it would actually have to see the wound. That’s why Jack kept his head tilted backward as far as remotely possible.
“This is the worst day of my life…” He heard Randall groan, and Jack probably would have fought back with some disbelieving scoff if he was able to remember where in the hell he was right then. Bold of you to assume this isn’t the worst day of mine. Thanks for the sympathy. Dickhead.
A secondary person scoffed, and a familiar female sounding voice carried to his ears.
“Fucking tell me about it. He’s bleeding on my new throw pillows, asshole.”
Well fuck you too, Lilith. Glad to know where I am on your list of priorities. Under the goddamn throw pillows.
“Well I don’t think that Jack is having such a good time with this either, so both of you shut up. Randall, hold him tighter than that. Tighter. Tighter.” the man demanded, and Jack whimpered at the force on his wrists as they took away all form of thought regarding the large bleeding hole in his stomach, “Lilith, get me the hydrogen peroxide from the bathroom cabinet, and check the storage. I think we still have some of that shit left from when Kyle decided to shove a blade in my gut.”
Oh Jack hoped so. Oh how he hoped so.
Third time’s a charm, he suspected when he woke up once more. Laying horizontal across the couch with his head rested on Hamish’s lap. It was a weird way to sit, admittedly - but Jack wasn’t going to argue as long as those fingers continued to stroke through his hair. It was meant as a calming gesture, and Jack was taking it as such as he realised that he was in a t-shirt that didn’t quite belong to him, and a hoodie to match.
“What happened?” he asked after a moment, and a pair of blue eyes looked down at him with a soft smile. With further speculation both the shirt and hoodie belonged to Randall, which was understandable as Jack was more likely to fit in his shit than anybody else’s.
“You got yourself shot,” the leader of their pack explained, a frown taking its turn to tease his lips, “your little gay friend from the Order was talking about you taking a bullet meant for someone else. Wouldn’t shut up about it actually, talking his mouth off at the campus bar where Lilith and Randall went to take a break from their shifts... you’re an idiot.”
“Shifts?” the younger of the pair asked, looking up through hazy eyes and trying to prop himself up on his elbows. He was shoved back down and fell weakly, which was unsurprising yet embarrassing all the same.
“Yeah, we all took turns to make sure you didn’t croak it,” he explained, pointing to the bandage soaked in red as he pulled up the hem of Jack’s shirt, “because we didn’t have the time or ingredients to heal you - so it’s been a pretty slow process. Sorry.”
Jack let out a breath.
“Don’t be. It’s- you saved me. It’s fine.”
It was at this moment that the door swung open on its hinges, and Lilith strolled in with a bag on each wrist and a large pink box in her hands.
“Stop getting yourself into shit,” she scolded Jack first, before setting the box down on the small coffee table, “also I brought donuts. You’re welcome. Randall bought McDick’s, and I bought more diabetes to add to our collection," she shook the bags on her wrists that upon further inspection were filled with candy bars and chips.
“Because, you clueless moron, one night a week we get together and have ‘puppy piles’,” she explained as Randall came through the doors with four large McDonalds bags in hand, the handles precariously close to snapping, “which includes a shitty movie, junk food, and musty old blankets. It’s a family thing.”
And that was Jack’s cue to leave. He pushed himself up, searching for his bag to no avail, and chewing on the inside of his cheek.
“Where are you going, man?” Randall asked as he managed to get all of the bags on the table without ruining the hoard of food he’d used Hamish’s credit card to pay for, “it’s a puppy pile!”
“But it’s a family thing-”
“You are family,” she groaned, as if saying it made her feel as ill as Jack probably looked, “so let us sit down, lie across us, and get comfortable - motherfucker, cause we’re about to watch ‘The Heist’ and knock ourselves into a sugar induced coma.”
Whatever Jack was expecting to come from Lilith’s mouth, that was definitely not it.
It’s kind of weird falling asleep surrounded by three people. But it was kind of comforting, Jack had to admit. This whole family dynamic might be a cool thing.
It just sucked that he was the youngest.