Miranda Kate’s Picture Choice: 2
When Michael walked down the identical corridors of the hospital, all gleaming and brightly lit, he was reminded of the asylum. The only thing to displace this memory was the smell of disinfectant covering the faint undertones of sickness. Having searched for Rob’s room in this blind maze several times now, it was beginning to get easier; unfortunately Michael couldn’t say the same for the reminders it brought with it.
Rob was doing well; everything was healing as it should. He had deep second degree burs on several parts of his body, but despite extensive scarring the doctors thought he would make a full recover. Michael was relieved that he hadn’t lost any limbs and still had his eyesight, which had been touch and go at the beginning.
No one had asked any questions about who Rob was or where he was from; they only cared about his survival. Any attempt to explain, and to put words to what they’d gone through was met with a wave of the hand – they knew all too well how bad it was in the parallels.
Many people hadn’t expected to see him again. A lump still came to Michael’s throat when he thought of his mother and her tears of joy. The shock on his Uncle’s face would be forever imprinted on his mind, and even though he had never been an emotional man, Michael was sure the shine in his eyes had been caused by tears.
John had experienced the same reaction, although his own state of mind was still shaky after what he had been put through in Rob’s time, seeming to not fully comprehend what had happened. They had been together every day together since their return, and it felt like they’d returned to their childhood days; hanging out in the local diner, enjoying each others company and reassured by each others presence, feeling like siblings again, even though they weren’t blood relatives. They both needed that to remind themselves of what life used to be like.
When Michael reached Rob’s room, he found him asleep. He sat quietly on the sofa provided in the room and let the noise in his head filter through his mind like movie credits while he waited for Rob to wake.
The exhaustion he felt was palpable and people kept telling him to rest and take it easy, but Michael couldn’t. He had to keep busy while he tried to process everything he’d gone through. He had to focus on something to try and stop the rage that built whenever he thought of the Jester. He had to try and quell the constant questions that popped up in his mind about Isabella’s connection to him. He had to stop feeling so stupid and so damn foolish for not having understood what had triggered it all sooner.
Michael focused on Rob and getting him registered as a citizen. It wasn’t often that people came from other times into this one, but it was not unheard of and everyone so far had been nothing but supportive.
Michael looked at Rob’s sleeping figure, his face all wrapped up and thought about all he had been put through all thanks to meeting Michael. If it hadn’t been for Michael he might still be in his own time, out at a nightclub or hanging out at Frank’s restaurant where they met.
The pain Rob was in and the exhaustion from the constant treatments to his skin, showed in his face whenever he was awake. Michael hated it and fought not to be paralysed by guilt, instead trying to do whatever it took to support him and be there for him.
In the end it had been John who had summed up how he felt about Rob’s outcome.
“It seems that the Jester made him pay for just being a friend and helping you. How can you reconcile a man with that kind of sick intent?”
Michael knew he never could, but part of him itched for a chance to try.
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