The fact that he's doing it doesn't surprise him.
The bird had always tried to place a certain taboo on applying his peculiarity to actual people, but he'd been doing it long before she'd found him, did it after even with Victor.
Rather, he supposes, he's surprised who he's doing it for.
Jake wasn't Abe, but the similarities were enough to turn his stomach. He tells himself that he felt nothing for him - nothing but disdain and a jealousy that he'll never admit to. The teen had swooped into their small world with just as much flair as his famed relative, had the others eating from the palm of his hand, including Emma. The girl that Enoch had once been intrigued by started falling for the kid just like she had his grandfather, and isn't that just another reminder of how fucked up their lives are?
Maybe, in time, she would have grown to love him too, if he hadn't played the hero and gotten himself killed by a hollowgast going for Claire.
Enoch shouldn't delay the courageous death the moron clearly desired. Should just let him stay on some pedestal of bones and admiration that the others will undoubtedly make for him.
But the word possibility hits him again, ringing around in his skull like a damned echo. It seems sickeningly synonymous with Portman. He can see the infectious energy fading from their loop already, just as much in Emma's horror struck eyes as the boy's actual death.
So, he does it without really stopping to think why. Tearing away from the puddle of blood they're all standing in, he races for the house. Someone shouts something behind him, Millard maybe, but he doesn't stop. The sky above him is filled with the distant sounds of planes, and he knows from too many days, too many god forsaken years that the bomb will come in the next few minutes.
The darkness of the basement embraces him like an old friend when he stumbles into it, but doesnt revel in it now. Finding the jar he needs by memory alone, he tucks it under his arm and races back out of the house. The group is still there, almost an exact snapshot of when he'd left. The only difference is Emma, who's crumpled on the ground next to Jacob, holding his head in her hands. His eyes are open and staring at the exploding sky, but the awe that used to brighten them during the reset is gone.
Kneeling, Enoch sets the jar on the ground, ignoring the disbelieving protest that Bronwyn barks at him. Emma looks like she's wanting to voice her own, but for once, the fire girl is at a loss for words. Grief is pulling her face into something harsh and painful looking. It gives him a sense of deja vu that surely rivals Horace's peculiarity, but there's no future telling here. Just a girl mourning the same death twice.
She does move when he pulls his scalpel from his pocket, curling over the corpse like the dead need protecting. He gives her an exasperated glance.
"What's the meaning of this?" Miss Peregrine asks. The tone of her words is low, more subdued than should be possible for their everstrong guardian. It's the same one she had when Victor passed, and a variation of the one when she couldn't convince Abe to stay. He can never quite meet her eyes when she sounds like that, but he tries. One of the twins are clinging to her arm, releasing a whimper as he looks towards the sky. His mirror image has chosen Bronwyn to seek comfort from, despite the strong teen having her arms full of a guilt ridden Claire. With a bit of shuffling, Bronwyn manages to get the masked girl into her arms as well, before looking to the bird for guidance.
Miss Peregrine blinks and shakes her head, as if arising from a stupor.
"Right, then. Millard, Bronwyn, Hugh, please take the children inside. Fiona should be waiting to help. I need to attend to the reset. Miss Bloom..." She stops herself, sparing the eerily quiet girl an unreadable look. Enoch turns away before her eyes settle on him, before she can repeat her earlier question.
He doesn't have an answer for it.
It was clear when the hollowgast had attacked that Jacob Portman hadn't inherited his grandfather's peculiarity. He'd been just as blind as the rest of them, looking around the cave in shock before jumping into action when Claire had screamed. So, it isn't like he's giving him a brief revival to ask if there were any more. The kid won't know any more than they do.
Most likely, he's doing it for Emma, who never got any last words with Abe before the bastard had run off. She didn't deserve it that time, and doesn't deserve it now.
But is that all of it, really?
Still kneeling on the grass, the knees of his pants becoming warm and tacky with blood, he sticks to the conclusion that he doesnt know. And perhaps more importantly, doesn't give a shit. He doesnt have to explain his reasoning to anyone, even himself. There's some shuffling behind him as the group disperses, but he doesn't watch them go.
He levels Emma with a flat look of appraisal. She rises somewhat to meet Enoch's gaze. It's clear she's trying for a glare, but her face is too drawn, too pale. Blood is splattered across her front, and it just makes the contrast worse.
"Do you wanna say goodbye or not?" He snaps, and Bronwyn's there in an instant, her anger palpable like a physical thing. She must have handed the girls off to someone else, because her hands are free, curling into shaking fists. Her shirtsleeve rising in the air points to Millard trying to hold her back, like he even could.
"Stop it, Enoch." She hisses. "It's too soon for this!"
Enoch looks up at her, the emotion spreading across her round face almost making him feel guilty. Of all of the peculiars, she's the most familiar with his gift, including the downsides to it. He looks away before he can be dissuaded.
"He's not Victor." He says. "So, it's not your call."
Bronwyn makes a noise of aggravated disbelief. For a moment, he thinks he's going to be the first peculiar here to get slugged by the typically gentle strong-arm. Emma grasps her hand though, and Bronwyn visibly deflates.
"It's okay, Bron. I...I do want to say goodbye." Emma tries to collect herself, jerkily wiping her tears away with her other hand.
"You know it won't actually be him." Millard pipes up solemnly, Bronwyn's sleeve falling as he releases her. "It's never them-"
"I know.." Emma says. "I...I know. But it's not all about that. Maybe he did sense the hollowgast, just in a different way. We need to ask."
The lie cracks as easily as her voice, but no one calls her out on it. Emma nods at Enoch once, getting up shakily to give him room. Bronwyn wraps a comforting arm around her.
There isn't much left of Jacob's shirt, the modern day band logo in bloody tatters. His skin is gouged too, bits of bone visible in some places. It's not much work to slice through to his heart, Enoch's pulse thrumming in his own hands as he works. It's always strange to feel his own heart working while he stares down at unmoving ones, a sense of stark contradiction he can never quite shake. Removing the organ gently, he hands it to Millard. Invisible hands wrap it gingerly in some cloth they'd tried to stop with the bleeding with earlier.
Turning back, the air rumbling with the roar of plane engines, Enoch uncaps the jar, reaching into its depths to retrieve the sheep heart. Placing it where Jacob's used to be, used to thrive and thrum, he closes his eyes. Curling his hands over the boy's chest, he focuses on channeling his power there.
Olive had asked once how it felt. The tiny girl's eyes were filled with too much innocence for him to scare her about it, but in truth, it isn't a scary process at all. There's a tug somewhere in Enoch's soul, a small spark that flows wherever he wants it to go. It's warm and obedient and good in a way that Enoch's not.
Or in the very least, an imitation of it.
Heat spreads from his hands and into the heart, which gives a weak beat, and then a stronger one. He wills Jacob's corpse to move like the puppet it is now, to bring forth all the memories that the boy had.
"Rise." He says, and someone inhales sharply behind him. A plane overhead gives a familiar stuttering sound, and the bird near the curled tree startles into flight like it has for decades.
Just about reset time, then.
The body stirs under his hands, and he channels another order through the connection.
Tell them what you saw. Tell them goodbye. Tell Emma goodbye, and that you're sorry for fucking dying in front of her. Tell -
Jacob blinks up at the sky slowly, dull eyes rolling before settling on Enoch. A rattling breath shakes his torso. The dead-riser waits, frowning when Jacob remains silent. He forces the demands through the connection again, bitter anger seeping in to taint the warmth like always, and Jacob winces.
"Ow, Enoch, stop."
Emma makes a surprised sound behind him that Millard echoes. It's only shock that keeps Enoch from doing the same. Wrenching his hands away, Enoch's eyes widen when Jacob's own hand follows him, bloody fingers wrapping loosely around his wrist.
"Enoch, what-what's going on?" Jacob's voice crackles from his throat again, a rough sound that reminds him of glass shattering. The boy looks confused, and a little pained.
Not surprising, considering you were dead a moment ago. Enoch thinks, but there's a chilling uncertainty overtaking him that makes him shove Jacob's hand away. He shouldn't be moving without Enoch's direction, and sure as hell shouldn't be speaking. The boy frowns again, shifting like he wants to move. Enoch jumps back, feeling the familiar link to his soul whenever he reanimates something floating between them. Only now, it seems strangling rather than empowering. Somewhat frantically, he pours as much of his peculiarity into it, into his words, that he can.
"Be quiet! Stay down, stop moving!"
Jacob winces again, their connection twinging uncomfortably, but he stills. He rolls his gaze back to the sky, and there's that awe, that brightness again that should no longer be possible. Enoch follows his line of sight, seeing the bomb falling towards them.
Emma says something that he doesn't catch. He turns to see an alarmed looking Bronwyn holding her back from getting to Jacob. A brief distance from them, he sees the impressions of feet flattening the grass as Millard sprints for the house. Jacob's wrapped heart is still clutched in his hand, bobbing along in the air as he runs. Enoch has never liked going to the bird for guidance, the act making him feel childish in an already childish, protected world. He's somewhat relieved now, though, still feeling that adrenaline fueled chill.
Time slows to a crawl, cradling the bomb on top of the topiary's finger before rewinding it all. He halfway expects Jacob to be affected too, but he remains where he is, nearly a snapshot in his stillness. That familiar look of fascination returns as he watches reality warp in on itself.
"Enoch." Bronwyn says. "Enoch, why is he like that? Victor is never...he doesn't talk like that. He doesn't look like that."
Emma squirms in the strong-arm's grasp again. There's a hesitant hope igniting in her face like a kindling flame.
"Is he alive?" She whispers.
Enoch shakes his head, but he feels uncertain at the truth of the motion. He doesn't see how he could be, but he's never seen any of animations act like this. Hesitantly, he feels at the connection between them again. The invisible line pulses, somehow feeling stronger than before. The lack of fatigue accompanying it is another anomaly that's confusing. He always feels a strain in his chest whenever he uses his power - the weight of another force pulling at his soul. He pushes at the link, feeling for any sign of wear, but there's nothing.
The sun falls and rises in the sky, clouds making fast moving mosaics of shadows of the ground. As they slow, melding seamlessly into another nightfall, it's clear that Jacob feels him prodding. He glances back at the dead-riser, taking another rattling breath.
Emma finally lurches from Bronwyn's grasp, Bronwyn's pained hiss and a bit of smoke meaning she probably wasn't released voluntarily. Emma kneels next to Jacob again, fresh tears sparkling in the moonlight. She runs a hand across his forehead, the other hovering uncertainly over his wounds.
"Jake, are you okay? Does it...hurt?"
Jacob stares at Enoch for another moment before flicking his gaze to Emma. He tries to speak, probably something ridiculous or self sacrificing, but he breaks off with a cough. Thick, slow moving blood curls from the sides of his mouth. The invisible line goes taut for a moment before settling. Emma turns to Enoch with a renewed fire in her eyes.
"What the hell do you want me to do?" He says back, but he's kneeling down, intently aware that Jacob's staring again. His eyes are still dull, his skin still pallid, but there's light in his expression. It startles Enoch more than seeing his lifeless body did.
The dead are always easier to deal with than the living.
Something touches at the connection, an experimental motion that is not his own. Enoch freezes at the foreign sensation, recognizing it as Jacob, the boy's light curiousty knocking on a door that had only ever opened for Enoch. There are other emotions now that Enoch is concentrating, Jacob's fear, his confusion, pain, and something warmer, almost fond -
Enoch slams the door with as much force as he can, envisioning himself locking it. Jacob makes a pained noise like he had struck him, eyes clenching shut. Guilt bites at Enoch at the motion, but he can't bring himself to regret it. This situation is still too strange, too impossible even in their bizarre reality. Sorting through his own emotions is hard enough without worrying about someone else's. Still, his breath catches in his throat until Jacob opens his eyes, blinking several times before locking on Enoch again.
"Maybe you should try tellin' him to do something." Bronwyn says quietly, touching his shoulder. Enoch frowns, uncertain.
"Uh." He says quietly, not sure what to even say. "Can you move, mate?"
Jacob says nothing, just continues to stare. Enoch's uncertainty shifts to a mild frustration. He didn't sign up for any of this.
"Answer!" He hisses.
"Enoch!" Emma snaps, but her attention is jerked back when Jacob shifts, his face scrunching at the small effort.
"I think so." He rasps. "A little."
The faint sound of Millard and Miss Peregrine's rapid conversation reaches them, a seemingly floating lantern casting their shadows across the yard.
"Just stay still, Jake. Miss Peregrine will help you." Emma says, throwing a watery smile at Bronwyn when she squeezes her shoulder in comfort. Enoch shifts back on his heels, suddenly feeling very much like a third (fourth, if he included Bronwyn) wheel. It was a bit irritating, considering the kid wouldn't even be here (alive?) if it weren't for him. Still, it's a relief to step away as Miss Peregrine reaches them. The crisp night air reaches the depths of Enoch's lungs properly, and it's much easier to ground himself. Miss Peregrine's sharp eyes rove Jacob's bloodied form, only the slightest flinch as she appraises the worst of it. Emma has Jacob's hand in hers, resting the pale hand against her cheek. She's saying something softly, quiet words for Jacob alone.
Something, someone, bumps into his shoulder, and he turns to see the lantern hovering next to him.
"How are you feeling?" Millard asks, his voice hushed.
"I'm fine." Enoch replies curtly, scowling as Millard presses closer.
"I meant your peculiarity. Are you getting worn out yet?"
"Don't you ever wear clothes?" He asks, exasperatedly giving the invisible teen a shove. Truthfully, he still isn't tired. Not in that way. This particular ache in his chest has little to do with his gift, but that's not something he's going to discuss with Millard of all people. "And why are you whispering? This isn't a library-"
"I don't think Emma needs to hear about you letting him go just yet."
Enoch's mouth snaps shut at that, but there's no time to reply regardless. Miss Peregrine turns to them, face grim. She gestures them to come closer. Enoch is slower to comply than Millard, the lantern bobbing in front of the dead-riser like a will-o'-the-wisp.
"We need to move him to the house, but he's in no fit shape to be moved. Mr. O'Connor, you have experience from your family's funeral parlor, and sewing your...creations, correct? The same theory should apply here. Mr. Nullings, can you fetch him some supplies, please?"
Enoch stares for a moment, thinking her to be joking, but her expression doesn't falter. Emma is looking up at them, nearly looking as pale as Jacob now.
"I've never done someone who was breathing!" Enoch says eventually, snaps really, but Miss Peregrine only shakes her head.
"There's nothing to be done for it now. As I said, he can't be moved, and it's imperative we get him inside immediately."
"But, Miss Peregrine, why? Isn't Enoch just gonna..." Bronwyn trails off, looking unsure. Emma throws her a look of enraged disbelief.
"Isn't he going to what?" Emma says flatly. "Send him back? He's alive, Bronwyn!"
"Emma, he isn't-"
"Well, he's here." Emma hisses. "That should be enough!"
"You expect me to keep him here forever?" Enoch interjects, because it seems fairly important they get that miscommunication out of the way now. What was supposed to be a simple moment of closure has spiralled into something other, and Enoch isn't prepared for it. She turns to glare at him, looking fierce. Jacob is quiet again, and Enoch swears, if he doesn't quit staring-
"Enough!" Miss Peregrine says, her voice sharp. They fall into an uneasy silence, interrupted only by Jacob's rattling breaths. Their headmistress' gaze is locked onto Jacob's face, and the comprehension there seems to disturb her.
When Millard returns, he brings Enoch's sewing kit. The small wooden case gleams in the lantern light, its familiar weight feeling oddly heavy when Millard passes it to him.
"Why do you want him inside?" Enoch demands, unmoving. Miss Peregrine frowns at him, and he adds, "After all your lectures about how I shouldn't revive people, there has to be something going on. We deserve to know."
When she says nothing, her lips pursing in impatience, Enoch has an unpleasant epiphany. "You think he's a wight, don't you?"
Millard gasps quietly, and Bronwyn makes a sound of alarm. Emma goes very, very still.
"A wight?" Jacob murmurs, and Enoch is reminded how very little he knew about their world before he was taken from it. The boy looks so vulnerable lying there all of a sudden, dull eyes wide and confused, blood caked in his hair. Enoch locks his knees against the urge to walk over to him. If he is a wight playing the part of a peculiar in need, he's doing a spectacular job.
"He isn't." Emma says quietly, and then more firmly. "He isn't, Miss Peregrine! Look at his eyes!"
"Wights are notoriously cunning, Miss Bloom. Concealing their true appearance has never been a challenge for them."
Emma says nothing, only shakes her head in silent refusal.
"It's only a possibility." Miss Peregrine replies softly. "Slim, certainly, but still a possibility. He needs to be contained until he can be proven innocent."
"Why can't Enoch just send him back?" Bronwyn says, a tremor in her voice. Her face is haunted, no doubt thinking of the grinning wight that had sent a hollowgast after Victor. "Miss Peregrine, the kids!"
Bronwyn pulls Emma away slightly, who allows it only after catching sight of the strong-arm's expression.
"I understand your concern, Miss Bruntley.
But the council will want to interrogate him. Capturing wights alive, or at least to a capacity of being able to communicate, is too rare of an occurrence to risk."
Enoch feels chilled. He thinks back to his prior question to Emma, his words layered thickly with sarcastic disbelief. It seems ironic now that they're being forced into truth.
"You want me to keep him like this?" He asks, never one to keep his ire silenced. "For how long?"
"For as long as it takes for the council to be informed and arrive. The world is increasingly dangerous outside of loops, as we're all aware. We can't take the chance of you being unable to revive him a second time should you cease implementing your peculiarity-"
"For how long?"
Miss Peregrine's lips purse again, and she looks troubled. "Possibly a month."
The sewing kit very nearly drops from his hands. He has half a mind to throw it, but he doesn't. Enoch swallows roughly, locking eyes with Jacob. It seems impossible - and ha! Isn't that a running theme for tonight? - that he only revived him minutes ago. It feels like hours, years.
Then again, time never means much here.
"I don't know if I can do it." He says, quiet. There's so much more to the statement than the fatigue he should be feeling, but who's to say that won't come later too? The words still burn on their way out though, defeat and uncertainty feeling unwelcome in his vocabulary.
Miss Peregrine nods understandingly, looking tired. "I will ask no more of you than you are capable, Mr. O'Connor. If you feel you aren't up to the task, I won't force you."
She turns to Jacob finally then, her face an odd mix of unwavering and pained.
"I truly apologize for all this if you are who you say you are, Mr. Portman. But I can't deny the suspicious details surrounding your arrival, and now this. Our world is too dangerous for trust to be given freely."
Enoch, still staring at Jacob, isn't sure which part of her words strengthens his resolve. He finds himself kneeling, jaw clenched as he goes through his supplies. His bloodied scalpel is still in the grass, gleaming softly in their halo of light. He'll have to clean it later.
Drawing out a needle and some thread, he hesitates. He cracks the invisible door between them slowly. Tensing, he prepares for an influx of emotions to come pouring through. It's oddly muted though, Jacob feeling nothing strongly enough for it to be very obvious. There's a hint of fear, and a little sadness. It makes Enoch feel guilty again, though he can't pinpoint exactly why.
"I don't know how much pain you can feel," He says, his voice lowered. "But this might hurt."
"I can take it." Jake murmurs, and the idiot has the nerve to give Enoch a strained half smile. Enoch isn't sure how it manages to look charming with the kid looking like blood soaked roadkill, but he isn't thrilled about it.
"Typical American." He snarks, threading the needle. He has a bizarre thought that he should sanitize it first, but judging by the mud and blood and hollowgast saliva covering him, it won't do much good. He assesses Jacob's punctures with a frown. He isn't a surgeon by any stretch of the imagination, but he should be able to prevent what's left of the kid's insides from spilling across the yard.
Emma returns, clutching one of Jacob's hands. She gives a broken little laugh when he squeezes her palm.
"Don't worry, Jake. Enoch will be gentle."
"Feel to free to scream if you have to." He deadpans, and Emma punches him on the arm.
It feels oddly calm, even when Enoch starts. Jake makes a few hitching sounds, but he stops flinching when Enoch tells him to. It seems that he has some control over him, even if it's not as much as his other animations. There's a chance that he might just be faking if he actually is a wight, but he still files the information away.
Bronwyn helps get him inside afterwards, keeping her jaw squared and eyes ahead. She doesn't seem to want to touch Jake much, and it isn't hard to guess why. A little flare of hurt slips through the connection, followed almost immediately by understanding. The kid even tries to move on his own a little, giving Bronwyn as much space as he can.
It's so nauseatingly, typically Jacob that Enoch scoffs, letting him lean more onto his shoulder.
And if there's a twinge of something affectionate that comes from Enoch's side of the door, well.
That's no one's business but his own.