AN: This is a one-shot and will not be continued.
Hands that Pray, Hands that Heal
She could ignore the pain. Erica had been shot before, and she remembered how it felt. She remembered the bullet lodged in her flesh and blood seeping out. This was time different, of course; a nearby bomb went off unexpectedly, and it clipped her leg. The blast had caused a gash in her calf, but luckily she avoided any shrapnel. She empathized with soldiers now and understood their pain.
The only comfort out of all of this was Jack. Comfort, she thought, as in awkward glances and touches that tread into dangerous ground. However, they were in a war right now, so Erica wondered if Jack even noticed the unease. Something in his eyes told her that he did.
She took a deep breath and leaned against the stone wall. She could hear yelling outside. The Resistance and the Fifth Column were fighting a strong enemy, and the V had uncovered one of their hideouts. Everyone was just fighting to stay alive and regain some semblance of control. Eventually, they were finally able to escape and destroy as many V as they could before they took sanctuary in an abandoned quarry far from the original attack.
Now, one of their only healers was paying full attention to her. Erica hissed as fingers slowly turned her leg to inspect the wound closely.
"I'm alright," she said stubbornly, and Jack briefly looked into her eyes.
"It doesn't look alright. I'm going to wash this as best as I can and stitch it up," he said, ignoring her tone. She hated how good his hands felt. Soft, as if they hadn't done anything other than pray his entire life. They hadn't been in the Resistance that long, and even though Jack was helping more people lately, Erica appreciated their touch - on her shoulder, on the small of her back, in her own hands – as rare as those moments were. Still, she didn't want to be selfish. She wasn't the only one who needed Jack, at least not now.
"It's okay, Father. I'm sure some people are worse off than I am," she said, looking around for someone else. Most people were on guard or running around with supplies. No one seemed desperate enough for Jack's help.
He put his other hand on her arm to soothe her. "I'm taking care of you first, than I'll see if anyone else needs me," he said. He was completely focused, and Erica was fascinated. She smiled lightly, and she watched him purse his lips as he felt her stare. She lurched suddenly as he washed off her gash with a warm, clean cloth. Quickly he turned to grab some thread and began closing up the wound.
He stopped and met her eyes. "Ready?" They had no luxury for anesthetic now. Jack would have to do it fast and raw, and he looked torn from the reality. The last thing he wanted to do was hurt her, and Erica could see it in his frown.
"I'll manage," she said softly, putting a hand on his bicep. He nodded, and she clenched her teeth and looked away after the first prick. She closed her eyes and made a muffled noise and remembered to breathe.
The pain wasn't that bad and Jack's hands were so gentle. The hands of a priest, the hands of a servant of God…Oh God, what was she doing? She choked on a sob and covered her hands over her mouth. Tears watered in her eyes, and she knew it wasn't from the pain.
It wasn't from the fighting either.
These feelings weren't supposed to happen, and she couldn't tell him. She couldn't bear the rejection, not in a time when she needed him the most. But Erica feared he already knew. After all, he was a priest, and he could read people better than anyone. Erica was sure her feelings were obvious to him.
"There," he said, and she felt him wrap the gauze over her calf and tape it up. She'd been so lost in her thoughts she didn't realize he'd finished.
"Thank you," she said, and she moved to stand up, but he pushed her down gently. His hands on her shoulders were warm, yet trembling.
"Just relax," he said, and he watched her sternly and made sure she didn't budge. "Stay off that leg until we need you."
She nodded reluctantly and lifted her chin, trying to appear strong. She didn't want Jack to see her like this, vulnerable and wounded. Erica felt silly that she even cried. She met his eyes, and he seemed to be staring at her in their silence. She shuddered at what she saw in his gaze as he watched her with affection and worry. She felt protected, and Jack knew well enough that she was capable of protecting herself.
But he shielded her anyway, and somewhere beneath his gentleness, Erica saw a flicker of possessiveness. They started this Resistance together, and when they met others and made alliances, they were never apart (Erica made sure of that ever since Jack was attacked). Without his white collar, sometimes strangers assumed they were involved.
Erica wondered if they could be; she just didn't know how Jack felt, and she assumed that it was impossible.
"Are you okay?" he asked, his voice lowered to a whisper.
She smiled and nodded. She lifted up her hand, but before she could wipe the tears from her face, he'd beaten her to it. Erica felt the air hitch in her lungs as his fingers caressed her cheek, and she lowered her eyes to his soft hand as he pulled away.
"I—I'm going to see if Ryan needs me," he said, the warmth of his expression suddenly transforming into awkwardness, even guilt. Erica swallowed hard.
"Let me know if they need me too," she said, desperately craving something to distract her from these emotions.
"Erica," Jack chided and pointed at her as he stood up. "You were just injured. You stay there." Erica wanted to laugh. He sounded like a stern father. She supposed it was his way of escaping the heated moment between them.
Erica sighed in compliance, but she looked on anxiously as he moved away into the middle of camp toward Ryan. She watched them talk, unable to hear anything, but then Ryan nodded and led Jack away to more injured people. Erica felt slight jealousy and annoyance, but when Jack turned around, he met her eyes again – making sure she was okay.
Erica smiled warmly and suddenly felt ridiculous, and she leaned against the stone wall and heeded Jack's advice to relax. She closed her eyes and didn't think anyone would mind if she had a nap. The Advil she'd taken was kicking in, lulling some of the pain in her leg. The stitches itched a little, but she ignored it.
Instead, she remembered Jack's tender hands, and with gunfire and yelling in the background, the memory was the only thing that calmed her spirit. And Erica would wait patiently until Jack tended her with his warm, healing hands once again.