Spoilers: Takes place directly after the season one episode 'Heart of Winter'
Disclaimer: I don't own anything of Jericho unfortunately; else it would have been renewed for many more seasons. This story is purely to entertain.
Summary: A short story to show some of the healing process after Jake's freezing accident
~ * ~
April frowned as she watched the huddled form of her brother-in-law under the bundle of warmed blankets while his father kept him upright with a simple affectionate hold. She was glad he had started shivering again and was able to talk, not much but it was a great improvement from the quiet non responsive young man she had found when she had been brought to the Green home. As she was preparing a warmed saline IV, she rubbed her hand over her slightly rounded stomach; she hoped conditions had improved when she was ready to bring the little guy to the world.
"He's shivering so badly."
The red-haired docter smiled at Gail Green who was watching the interaction between father and son with a worried frown. It seemed they all wore worried expressions around Jake Green most of the time.
"I know it looks bad but it's a good sign, he was in stage three Hypothermia, if you had gotten to him an hour later…"
The two women shared a look, it wasn't needed to be said out loud, and neither wanted to think about the possibility either. They were in time and though it was going to be painful for Jake, he was going to be okay.
"Did he drink the sweet tea?"
Gail nodded, finally turning her attention to the other woman, giving her two men some privacy when she saw and heard soft sobs wracking through her eldest son's body. Jake had moments when he cried, but it had to be bad, and whatever happened out there for her son to be in this state of mind, it had to be bad. She was just glad it was Johnston he was leaning against, finally the gap was closed between the two most stubborn Green men.
"Just a few sips though."
"He'll probably have difficulty keeping anything down for a few days, just make sure he drinks all of the tea I made, he needs to be warmed from the inside out."
She would hate to think Jake made it safely home only to die of heart failure because his cold blood clogged the arteries; she wasn't going to let that happen. That's why she had gone to all the trouble of heating the saline, he didn't drink enough to warm properly, the IV was going to take care of that.
"He's still a bit confused," came the voice of the eldest Green men who joined the women in the kitchen, wrapping an arm around his wife who leaned into it gratefully. April smiled at the couple as she took the IV and quietly approached Jake, slightly winching at the soft moans of pain he tried to keep back. As a docter she was trained to get used to the pain of others, but this was different, this was family. Without saying anything, she reached out and whipped away the lingering tear tracks on the battered face, secretly checking his temperature with that. Still too cold but better then it had been. His red rimmed pain filled dark orbs settled on her as the first attempts of a smile started to tug at the corner of his mouth.
"Funny how my brother's wife keeps taking care of me," he muttered, showing some of that well known Jake Green charm. April tried to look stern but failed miserably because she couldn't help but smile.
"You should stop putting yourself in situations where I need to take care of you, I like you better as family instead of patient."
Jake chuckled though it was softly in comparison to the loud laugh Johnston uttered at that, the older man hearing the conversation when he came to see if he could help. It was known that Green men made the worst patients, especially the ones called Johnston Jacob Green and April had the pleasure of having both the name carriers as patients in the past.
"Anything I can do here?"
April nodded as she motioned to the couch that had already been moved close to the fire by Johnston and Eric, though she had no idea where the latter was hanging out at the moment. Right now, she didn't even want to know.
"He needs to lie down for the IV, just be careful not to jostle him; it's not good for him in his condition."
There was a snort from Jake when she had said condition but it was ignored by the others. Johnston was about ready to pick his son up but Jake seemed to think he was perfectly capable of walking to the couch himself, as he said as loudly as he could. His father simply raised an eyebrow but helped him up never the less without a word, not surprised as Jake's knees buckled the moment his feet hit the ground.
"Son, there's a time when you have to admit defeat and right now, it's that time. Now are you going to let your old man help you or are you going to try to crawl your way to the couch?"
There was a soft nod from Jake followed by a groan when he was picked up completely by his father, with blankets and all like he was just a little kid again. April was surprised as well at the strength Johnston still had, but also glad, Jake was a scrawny as guys could come but she wouldn't be much help in carrying some of his weight. A few minutes later Jake was comfortably on the couch, warm saline flowing into his body as the fire and blankets warmed him from the outside. The young man was dozing off, the exhausting strain on his body finally knocking him out which was a good thing since she couldn't give him any pain medication, it was too dangerous with frostbite.
"Soak his hands in warm water every now and then and make sure they're wrapped in gloves or something warm. He needs to drink as much as he can but don't let him rub when he feels pain, it can damage his skin. Wake him every hour or so the first eight hours, he doesn't show signs of a serious concussion but with his hypothermia it's hard to judge so better be safe with this one. I'll be back tomorrow."
April made sure her instructions were understood, then she left, there was work to be done in the clinic and she sensed the need for the small Green family to have some time alone. They had almost lost their oldest son, they needed some time to digest and deal with that. With some regret she left the house, she wanted to stay with Jake, make sure he was okay, but she had other patients and Jake, he was like a cat, he had nine lives, maybe even more. No matter what was thrown at him, he was going to be okay, he was too stubborn to go down. With a fond smile she walked to the clinic, once again resting her hand on her stomach, besides a loving father, her child would also have a great uncle. Sometimes she didn't mind being part of the Green family, it was home.
~ * ~
"A bath? How the hell did you manage to make a bath?"
"I made the bath," Eric grumbled as he watched his older brother struggle to sit up on the couch, blinking away the sleep to look at his father and brother in surprise. Yes, Jake did look bad and yes, the women liked to pamper Jake when the occasion arose and yes he didn't mind lugging those heated buckets of water upstairs but he also liked to tease his brother.
"It has been a while since I could baby my big brother."
Jake snorted and grinned, not minding the ribbing, he could take it but Johnston gave his youngest a look, to make sure he wasn't going to take this too far and decided to level the playing field a little.
"What Eric's trying to say is, he had a couple of women threatening with bodily harm if he didn't start hauling ass soon."
That earned them a full blown laugh from the one they were trying to keep up and about, a welcome sound since Jake did look like death warmed over. The laugh turned to coughing, making a worried Gail run into the living room.
"Are you okay honey, should I ask April to come by? She said this could…"
"This could happen, and there's a chance of pneumonia if we're not careful. How are you feeling, feverish?"
"Mom, I'm fine."
"Fine? You are anything but fine Jake Green and if you think you can fool your mother then you're sadly mistaken young man, I've dealt with your father sick and I can deal with you too. Now let your father help you upstairs so you can take that bath."
"Yeah mom," Jake obediently drawled, shooting daggers with his eyes at his brother who was grinning widely at the scolding while letting his father help him up. As much as he wanted to say he could walk on his own, he knew he couldn't. So he leaned on Johnston heavily as they made their way upstairs, much more of a climb then it had seemed.
"Son, if I need to carry you again, just say the word, I don't want to end up explaining to your mother how we ended up at the bottom of the stairs because you were too stubborn to admit defeat."
"Again?" Jake echoed as he tried to walk on his own more, he didn't want to be carried like a little kid and the whole again didn't sound like a story he was proud of having being told in the Green family.
"Let's just say I'm happy you're as thin as a stick, I wouldn't have been able to carry your brother like that."
Jake scowled at that thought, glad he didn't remember much of that little happening. With a sigh of relief from both men they reached the bath room without adding more injuries to the long list.
"Are you okay with the rest or should I…?"
Jake flushed, it had been long years since he had been undressed by his own father and as much as he would have liked to say that he could manage, there was no way he could unbutton anything with his numb painful fingers.
"Right," Johnston answered, reaching out to help undress his son. He had no problem with it, it was still his own kid, he had seen Jake in all kinds of situations and he'd do anything to help. He ended up doing just about anything as Jake leaned heavily on the edge of the bath, needing all his strength to remain standing.
"Whose great idea was this?" he muttered tiredly while Johnston helped him step into the bath. The older Green smiled, knowing Jake would stop complaining when he was fully soaked in the warm water; the way to get there was just a bit uncomfortable but it had been doc's orders. Making sure Jake's head was pillowed on a towel so he wouldn't slip in the water should he fall asleep, he took in his son's body. He was too thin, and if Gail saw that, she'd ration them all to give Jake extra and right now, he had to agree with that plan. There was also a bunch of scars he knew nothing about, not a thought he liked, his son had been injured enough to scar and he hadn't been there to scold his son. So much history untold and he knew that what Jake had told him earlier was just the tip of the iceberg; he had to wait until Jake was ready to talk.
"Don't fall asleep in there son, I'll be back to check on you in a while."
~ * ~
The I won't had turned into an I will, as Gail and Johnston found him asleep in the bath tub an hour later. The parents laughed softly, Johnston moving to gently shake his son awake, only earning him some muttering but no other signs of waking. When Jake decided it was safe enough to sleep, sleeping he would and waking him always was a difficult and sometimes dangerous start. A sleep disturbed Jake was a moody Jake and that was anything but pleasant as both parents remembered well from the past.
There was no response and with a sigh Johnston realised he was going to have to carry his son again in order to get him out of the now cold water. Some time later Jake was back on the couch downstairs, the fire warming him as he peacefully slept, undisturbed by the change of scenery and surface.
"Sometimes I wonder if we gave birth to our boys in the wrong order."
Johnston smiled at his wife's remark, pulling her tighter against himself as they were propped in the comfortable chair close to Jake, watching their eldest sleep. He knew what she meant, with Jake dressed in Johnston's bathrobe and Eric's flannel pyjama bottoms, both far too big on the boy and the fact that he was asleep, made him years younger. Most Green men were tall and broad, a true farmer's breed, but Jake took after his mother, unlike Eric. Jake was short, though still a proud 6, compared to most men in Jericho and had the scrawny built of Gail's family. That compared with the sharp angular features and big soulful eyes, he had a vulnerability about him that made him seem years younger then his actual age. But the eyes betrayed him, eyes that had seen so much, and Jake had the stand of a warrior.
"I think we birthed our boys just right, at least one of 'em got your pretty face."
Gail laughed softly, not falling for his obvious charming method, though she turned to look at him with a smile, reaching out to touch Johnston's bearded cheek.
"He's more like you then you think."
They shared a knowing smile as they settled in again, enjoying the warmth and the quietness as they took on watching Jake again. Whatever tomorrow would bring, for now, Jake was safe and home and both were hoping it would stay like that for a long time. However faulty and strained the relationships were in the Green Family, they were family and they were home, nothing else mattered.