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The Art of Being Okay

By killerturtles

Drama / Humor

Chapter 11

Letter: To Jack, From Jamie

If you do not eat, you will die. Please eat.

-Jamie

...


...

Despite the first week Jack spends in the hospital being mostly a blur, the note he saw upon waking up for the first time in a hospital bed stuck in his mind because -

Jack thought that, unfortunately, Jamie had kind of grasped the entire problem in a nutshell, which made him want to cry. So, Jack moved the letter out of sight (out of mind), and cracked a joke when the nurse came in, and laughed, and went on his first ten minute walk and went outside in the heat and shivered.

Jack had woken up in a hospital strapped to an IV machine, told he was being officially diagnosed with anorexia nervosa and that he was going to spend a mandatory week in the hospital because of his lowered heart rate, with recommended psychiatric treatment.

Before the doctors left, they informed him that he wasn't allowed visits for the first twenty-four hours, but there was a very convincing – and by convincing they most definitely did not mean large and intimidating – Russian outside.

The nurses had kind of winked at him, as if they were making his day or sharing in a private joke. It irritated Jack, but he was tired, drifting back asleep before the nurse could inform him about the walking or the eating.


...

Jack wakes up several hours later and tries to leave.

It's hard getting up and he's definitely stumbling, but if he doesn't leave soon, he'll be late to see Pippa. And if he isn't able to leave, he'll miss seeing her entirely. Jack needs to see her okay so that he can remember to be strong.

The nurses rush in and sedate him.


...

Babytooth is the first person Jack sees, in the morning.

He glares at her. "Get me out."

Babytooth's voice shakes as she answers. "No."

Jack turns away and refuses to reply to any of her pleas, her attempts to draw his attention and explain that it was for his own good.

Babytooth bites her lip and explains that she's talked to the doctors and that he can barely articulate full sentences, but if he's willing to go into treatment –

Jack shoots her down immediately. "There's nothing wrong with me, Babytooth. Go away."

"You'll see Pippa sooner." The twist of Babytooth's lips is triumphant and bitter, hiding how much she hates herself for resorting to that.

That holds too much sway over Jack still, despite everything, despite how his eating disorder is so far beyond Pippa at this point. Still, Jack doesn't know what to say, so he doesn't say anything.

"Everyone knows what's going on, Jack. It's okay. You can talk to us." Babytooth is passionate and desperate and trying to make him understand how he can be okay – really okay – and something in Jack snaps. He finds himself flooded completely with fury, despite not being one for temper tantrums or grudges.

He's practically vibrating, and too far gone to hear the crazy beeping next to him.

Roughly, Jack grabs the crumpled up note from his bedside. "You fucking wanted this?" He asks, voice tight. "He's … a kid! Innocent! What … why would you tell him this?! Why … why …" But Jack's finding it difficult to express himself without admitting to having a problem. 'I'm ashamed of my eating habits' didn't sound mentally sound. Neither did, 'it was my secret', or any one of the dozens of reason's Jack had for his anger.

"That's just it, Jack," – and for one crazy second, he thinks Babytooth is reading his mind – and then she continues, "I didn't –"

Babytooth doesn't get a chance to finish, before Jack's eyes roll back into his head and the nurses burst in and rush her out, working frantically to fix Jack's BP.


...

Outside in the hall, Babytooth asks one of Jack's doctors if he was eating.

The doctor laughed and Babytooth doesn't restrain the urge to punch him.

Immediately, the doctor sobered, rubbing his cheek and muttering, "that's not even the first time that has happened today." Babytooth wasn't in the mood to appreciate the humor and the doctor must get that because he moves on quickly.

"I'm sorry," he tells Babytooth sincerely. "It's just that Jack was so sick, so malnourished when he got here that we've put him strictly on a liquid diet, fed to him via the IV. His system couldn't handle the amounts of food he'd need to start off actually eating and there's no telling how badly his mind would rebel."

Babytooth asks about the diet they would be feeding him if he were able.

The doctor tells her that it's part of a new aggressive feeding plan that the hospital is adopting to replace the 'start slow, advance slowly' method that had been using before. Jack would be eating six balanced "meals" a day that range between 1,500 calories and 2,000 calories to start."

He, personally, doesn't like the aggressive feeding model because of the dangerous with refeeding syndrome, with leads to real medical dangers – including heart arrhythmias, death, or various dietary problems – and terrifying psychological dangers, potentially traumatizing the patient and pushing recovery further back.

Babytooth hates that she completely agrees that Jack wouldn't be able to handle all of that mentally or physically.

The doctor – Dr. Smith – smiles at her, and asks if she is willing with talk to him and work out a plan.

Babytooth doesn't cry. She grabs her folder of printed out research and sits down shakily in Dr. Smith's office, despite suspecting that it will be less him talking with her and more him talking at her.


...

Jack tries to escape three times. Every single time, he can pretend he is only thinking of Pippa (and not of escaping a problem he is so desperately determined not to have, trapped knowing he has a problem and believing he has it under control).

He doesn't care about Guardian and their stupid show or Pitch and the IRS. He is past the point of caring about Jamie or himself or North.

They're all new. They're this recent part of his life where things were okay for a bit and now they are no longer okay. The rules changed, when things were okay and now that they were back at not-okay, Jack knew the rules were different again and if he could only talk to Pippa, see Pippa, he could figure them out again.

He could explain – properly, without trailing off or forgetting what he was going to say – that he didn't have an eating disorder. He could explain how this was all one large misunderstanding and ignore the part of him that was selfishly glad that he didn't have to see his mentally ill sister, grateful for the stripping of his choice.

Because Jack knew he makes bad decisions.

He tried to escape three times, but gave up after the third.

He still asked about Pippa, asked every single day, every single person who came in.


...

In the end, Jack is at the hospital for almost two weeks -

("You said a week!"

"I said a week and then we'll see, Jack. It'll be longer if you don't cooperate. It should be longer.")

- and Bunnymund only visits him once, probably because it's such an unmediated disaster.

It's the day of the show at Guardian when Bunnymund visits and he's asking if the doctors will make an exception and release Jack for only a couple of hours, just to sign some books, please, do you think he could handle it?

Because Bunnymund is scared in ways he'll never show and this is his entire life on the line. His world down the drain with Jack sitting in the hospital far away and dying.

It's not really an excuse, but by way of an explanation, the worrying concoctions of the emotional roller-coaster the older man had been on the last month, it wasn't half bad.

Bunnymund walks through the hospital doors and his face closes up when he sees Jack wired up on the bed (Bunnymund is used to waking up in hospitals). He isn't allowed to get up yet, but if he is good and eats all of his food, he should be able to soon – two ten minute walks a day next week. But that's all anyone gets, that's all Jack'll get.

Jack growls at him when he walks through the door and Bunnymund looks speechless back. There aren't any words Bunnymund can think of that will make this better, force it to make sense. Bunnymund doesn't speak glibly, doesn't say words that don't need to be said. But now, there aren't any words to say. There aren't any words he can say.

Something needs to be said, but for the life of him, the life of Jack, Bunnymund can't figure out what.

"You alright there, mate?" Bunnymund eventually settles on.

Jack is small and hunched over and shivering under a large blanket as he blinks at Bunnymund through the early morning light. He turns towards Bunnymund and flashes Bunnymund his pearly whites. "I'm fine, Bunnymund! They're worrying for nothing."

"You're not fine Jack." Bunnymund can't help but argue, disbelieving at the depths of Jack's stubbornness.

"I'm always fine!" Jack tells Bunnymund harshly, and then starts rubbing his temples vigorously. "I'm always fine."

Sitting there terrified for the man in front of him, the man who won't even try to get better, Bunnymund feels the words he knows he doesn't want to say burbling around in his stomach with a hint of rage. "Just – just stop it, alright? Stop saying that! Ya idiot! Fool! Think that don't rip us to bloody pieces inside when you say that? Think those circles under your eyes don't exist? Think that we don't all know you're fucking anorexic?"

Jack face sinks and ages, features collapsing in on themselves. "Stop. Don't – I'm fine."

"We needed you at the show Jack! It happened and you weren't there, but that's okay because you're not fine. You need to recover and get outta here."

At those words, Jack sits bolt upright in bed, leaning into Bunnymund's space uncomfortable. "Then get me out, get me out of here, I'll help, I can work but you know - you know what it's like to be fine but to have other's just not get that, come on, come on, Bunnymund, get me out, get me out," he pleads, not pausing between sentences and barely pausing to breathe.

Bunnymund loses it at that final line. "Blood selfish bastard! It's Guardian's show – my life, North's life, all our lives' work and ya can't even be bothered to worry your pretty little head? Care? Jack - fuck you're fucking insane and you need to be institutionalized, not just here!"

Bunnymund felt the guilt hit him right as he began to speak, but he was powerless to stop the words. They rushed out of him, furious, like a river, and drown both of them – both Jack and Bunnymund.

Jack waited until Bunnymund left to press his flesh-less bones against the frozen wall and listen to his breath hitch as he refused to cry.

Bunnymund doesn't visit Jack again in his entire stay at the hospital but he's there for every step of his recovery.


...

Dr. Smith tried three times to convince Jack that he had an eating disorder (once for every escape) and succeeded once.

The first time, it's when he wakes up in the morning, before he sees Jamie's note. Jack is confused and shell shocked and in an hospital and so he doesn't really listen, but nods and yearns for escape.

The second time is on his third day in the hospital. They are offering him food and when he says no, they stop offering him food.

Instead, they tell him that if he wants out, he has to eat. Dr. Smith says "You have a very serious eating disorder, Jack."

"No, I don't." Jack says.

Doctor Smith sighs. "Prove it. Eat the plate of food." He pushes the plate towards Jack. Even though eating the food is one step closer to seeing Pippa and getting out, despite that, it's still something Jack doesn't think he can do. It's physically painful because there's just so much and all he wants to do is give up. As he shoves eat trembling bite into his mouth, he can feel his body bloating and swelling up.

The doctors tell him that it's in his head, but Jack looks in the mirror and he knows he is getting fat. The doctors also tell him that's impossible because they've decided on a more gradual feeding model and he should still be losing weight and probably will for the remainder of the week.

Jack doesn't believe them. Adults and children lie and everyone leaves you. But Jack won't ever leave Pippa. Jack can't leave Pippa to be crazy all alone.

He knows this, because the doctors are feeding him insane amounts of food, more food than Jack has really ever seen in one place before, six times a day and Jack dreads it, more than anything.

Food is dry, and to be choked down, and this is his motto for the first few days.

They start locking the bathrooms after that third day.

The third time Doctor Smith tries to explain Jack's eating disorder to him, Jack is wondering what happened to his pride as he begs the nurses shamelessly not to make him eat.

Jack screams his voice hoarse with pleas to just let him stop, to just let him rest to please god don't make him eat food again (he refuses to cry but it's harder to eat with the knot in his throat and he feels like sobbing every time they wheel the meal tray in).

But the nurses remind him of Pippa and getting out. Jack doesn't want to be reminded of that. He just wants everything to go back to the way it was; when Jack was toeing the line between sanity and insanity and he was fine.

He's never eaten much, he protest to the doctors, he isn't even hungry.

He eats the food anyway, and it has a bit more flavor than the usual cardboard he tastes.

The fourth and final time Doctor Smith tells Jack he is anorexic, Jack is hungry.

He is hungry and he is still desperately trying to avoid food and he's always known he wasn't quite correct, that there was something wrong with him. Jack's broken and he doesn't get why he's been denying it for so long.

Five days after entering the hospital, Jack finally accepts he is an anorexia nervosa patient. He is allowed two walks a day and he is to eat of his meals without having a heart attack.

The tension, the pressure, the dread that is always present in the room with the nurses and doctors extrapolates and expands; everyone knows that Jack can't eat food now (Jack knows Jack can't eat food now and, in some bizarre way, this means he doesn't have to pretend to be able to eat food anymore, it means he can embrace it).

It returns at every meal, the pressure and the shame Jack finds inherent in having an eating disorder. Jack wonders if he'll ever be able to eat without feeling like he's dying. He wonders if he'll ever want to like food.

The fourth time Doctor Smith tells Jack that he is anorexic, Jack listens and believes him.

He needs help.

He still begs them not to make him eat because he can't help it. It's still a mechanical fight with himself for every single bite and he still hates that everyone knows now, but it's a step.


...

North is there, every single day. He is there in the mornings or the evenings. He never mentions anyone else, or Guardian or Pitch.

He doesn't mention Jamie.

He just sits there with Jack and then leaves to wait out in the clinically white corridor while Jack tries to smile his way out of half his breakfast.

Jack thinks he'll always be eternally grateful to North for that and hates it. God, Jack hates it, hates this entire goddamn experiment, hates this relying on others, hates this openness, hates the way his entire self is stripped away and he is declared unfit for regular day life, hates himself.

The worst bit is how little control he has, over anything.

Jack hates a lot and yells a lot, these days; but he does it with a smile, even as the bags under his eyes get more pronounced and his lids, harder to open.

North just watches with a broken heart as Jack fails to find himself in the chaos.


...

Jack sleeps a lot more now. He claims he's tired, and he's not lying: he's exhausted. Eating disorders creep up through your mind, poisoning your body against yourself, so much, that you can't even tell what's wrong.

Even now, that Jack is somewhat aware of what's going on, eating every single day makes him feel bloated, fat, worthless.

One of the tricks the doctors tell their patients is to eat quickly or while watching TV, before your mind can register it. It's terrifying that Jack has to trick his mind into letting him eat. It's scarier that it's so hard.

There isn't a moment now, and there won't be for quite a while, but there will be time when Jack is too tired to fight anymore.

Eventually, he would come to be done with shivering under piles of blankets, done with the constant misery and self-hate, done with feeling hungry, done with the migraines and the pain and the frail, breakable bones.

You get to this point, or you die, and such is the nature of eating disorders.

For now, Jack would fight.

He fights the doctors in his own way, with laughter and sharp words, with pleads and daily attempts to escape.

Jack's dreams in the hospital are weird and twisted; and more often than not, he dreams of Pippa, the sister he left behind. He wishes, wants more than anything, to see her.

They tell him, every time he tries: "You're only slowing the procedure down, Jack. Legally, you're free once we've gotten you up to a regular BMI, but Jack, you need more help than that."

Jack curses out the nurses half the time, and the other half he would grin, looking terrifyingly like a skeleton with his white, bony face bleached with hospital lighting and chemicals.


...

The day of Guardian's supposed show comes and it passes and Jack sits at the hospital and keenly feels its loss, until he remembers Pippa smiling at him when he gave her his food, remembered looking down at his bony body, remembered how everyone loved calling him skinny and how euphoric it felt when he could control his diet so exactly.

It had never been a problem before.

Babytooth was just overreacting.

Jack was dying, but Jack was okay.


...

Like North, Babytooth swung by every single day as well.

Jack always refused to see her, fueled by righteous, indignant anger.

"Hey, Avery!"

"The usual, Babytooth?"

"You alright, girl? Didn't see you last night!"

"Thanks for the help, Ms. Tooth."

"Why the hell are you always here? Out of my way!"

Jack didn't acknowledge her, so she talked with the hospital staff. Babytooth managed to wrangle the week off, though less for altruistic reasons and more for the overwhelming guilt and search for Jack's forgiveness. She shows up like clockwork and stays for the day, chatting with the hospital staff and helping the interns.

Jack doesn't talk to her, until the day after the Guardian's show, when she doesn't show up until three in the afternoon.

Her hair is sticky and sweaty and everywhere, but she shows up.

Jack's hollowed cheeked gaze greats hers as the nurse tells her that he had been asking about her.

"Hi." Jack tells her, kind of small. "How did .. did the show," he gathers his breath, "go?"

Babytooth looks at him. The girl in the disheveled clothing and the boy too busy killing himself to care.

The silence stretches on and Babytooth finds herself unable to break it, despite finally talking to Jack, finally being permitted to see him. The silence is a gag, stuffed down her throat every time she goes to open her mouth and Jack's stare is a warning that she was on fragile ground.

"Babytooth?" Sliding his hand forward, the long, bony thing, Jack pushed his covers off his legs and swung the toothpicks around to face Babytooth.

It wasn't hearing his name for her but seeing Jack's destitute body at odds with the fierce determination in his eyes that pushed her over the edge. . "How long are you willing to stay here?" Was what she meant to ask. "You need to get in-patient treatment," was what she wanted to say.

"It-it's Pippa," is what tripped out of her mouth like a bullet, stabbing through Jack's defenses.

Instantly, Jack was up unstably on his feet, wobbling only slightly. The worst part, Jack got now, about being hospitalized, wasn't the constant feeling of bloating, but it was the way you just got weaker.

Your body, recovering from the tortures that it had been put through, is no longer capable of handling the insane demands you had previously placed upon it.

Babytooth reaches out to steady Jack's wrist and she thinks about how much space between her and the arm. There's a brief moment, a brief, terrifying moment buried at the back of Babytooth's conscious, where she wants to snap his wrist – and it would be so easy, too – so that he can't leave. So he'll have to stay in the hospital. So he'll have to get better.

Babytooth, as if burned, releases his hand horrified, her face shaking in response to the obvious confusion in Jack's.

"She isn't doing well at all, Jack –" Jack doesn't even wait for her to finish saying his name.

"You've got to get me out of here!" Wiry, leaning completely into Babytooth's space and muttering, crazed, into her ears. "Babytooth, you've got to get me out of here!"

"The medication – the new medication it … it isn't working yet."

"What new medication?" Jack inquired, straining for the oddly absent memory of this.

"Oh, Jack." Babytooth looked at him, obviously worried. "Remember? The new medication that Doctor –"

"Doctor dreamy put her on I met you," Jack teases as the memory finally – finally – comes trickling back.

For a moment, they are both sort-of-smiling at each other, satisfying the tensions in the air, and a monumentally marvelous thing occurs in Babytooth's mind, though it does not seem in anyway monumentally marvelous at the time and more of a death sentence.

"I think you should see a psychiatrist." The air halts as the peacefulness is whisked away, replace by Jack's walls and typical, hostile, hospital moods.

With it go far too many of Babytooth's hopes and she knows that the visit is done for the day.

Just as well. It's almost snack time.

Jack would feel bad – and he does, a bit, in his uncomfortable squirm – but she'll be back tomorrow for them to not talk about it to their heart's content.

Reassuring himself that it would be fine, Jack picked up the copy Slaughterhouse Five that Tooth had left for him on her last visit, pretending that the nurses had forgotten all about snack time and he's done eating for the day.


...

The nurses didn't forget, bringing Jack an entire bagel with cream cheese on it, and Jack doesn't understand why it is so hard. He dryly swallows down several bits while the nurses watch, desperately trying to ignore the voice in his head cooing that he's eaten so much already, that he's being so selfish, so greedy, that he doesn't deserve the food he's eating (especially now that Pippa wasn't doing well because Jack didn't visit her because it was Jack's fault because people found out).

He's been alone with the voice since what seems like forever, so he knows it's telling the truth.

The voice used to talk to him about writing, and Jack remembered knowing that he was crazy like Pippa. He would spend hours with debilitating migraines, not eating, sitting with his hands pressed tight up against his ears, unable to drown out the voice.

Jack tried fighting the - the eating thing he had, in the past (and he would never tell anyone that because it would be admitting more than he ever thought he could) once he'd gotten the job at Guardian. It was the dead of winter and Jack had been sore and achy, freezing under two or three blankets.

He was past hunger cues at this point, but he was cold, and exhausted and didn't want to hurt North (let him know how broken Jack was). He had tried, then, for Toothand North and Guardian and even Bunnymund who he was sure liked him deep down, despite the fiasco on their children's book collaboration.

Jack had stayed up for hours thinking of that and forcing himself to acknowledge that he had money now, that he could eat now, that Pippa was okay and he had visited her earlier.

(Jack didn't believe any of it)

But some invisible force held him there all night (himself) bones driving against each other.

In the morning, after snagged a scant two and a half hours of sleep, Jack had dragged himself out of bed to his empty fridge. Jack almost gives up, then.

But he looks at his phone and it's a text from his editor, Toothiana asking him to lunch. Jack likes Toothiana – he calls her Tooth in his head and they've been exchanging emails for a couple of months about Jack's first book.

Snowday had been released that week and it was already a bestseller. The lunch, Toothiana's text told him, was celebratory. He deserved it.

For Jack, it was another puzzle piece ticking into place, slotting into a new life that was going to work out brilliantly.

At lunch with Toothiana – please, Tooth is fine – Jack orders a small salad with dressing on the side and eats half of it. He takes it home and eats it for dinner with dressing and everything. Jack feels utterly stuffed when he's done, and then horrible.

But Jack calls Tooth and she talks about his next book with him and he kind of forgets for a bit.

Night, usually the dark, wild beast that never lets him rest, is silent that night, lulls him to sleep amongst his world of blankets.

The next morning, Jack isn't hungry and he spends half an hour at the grocery store with a nonfat yogurt in his hand and his brows furrowed.

He eats it and feels terrible. It feels like an accomplishment, because he's being normal for North and Tooth.

Jack consumes very little and more than he can remember eating at the same time and it's harder and he feels stuck, chained down to the rut of his past life and diet. He eats a piece of garlic bread with them on the third day when he thinks about being chained.

He thinks about being chained and doesn't go to see Pippa until he is already an hour late. He eats the garlic bread on the way, hiding in the shadows and forcing it down his throat.

Silent and dark and somewhat brooding, the psychiatric hospital looms over him and Jack is overcome with the lateness of the hour – 6:30 and it's already dark – and his body rebels. Stomach churning, Jack drags his new, heavy body over to the bathroom and forces the garlic bread back out.

The humming in the air, the constant pressure and the voices that tell him he doesn't deserve it are momentarily appeased.

At first, it's the swirl of emotions where Jack doesn't know if this is a good thing – it feels like it – or if he's being broken in a different way.

He visits Pippa and she's so doped on meds that she doesn't recognize him and the voices reassure him it's because Jack was eating what he didn't deserve.

Jack couldn't keep anything he ate down after that and he had tried. Eventually, he gave up on his little venture to the normal side of the street and decided that not-eating was easier than throwing up.

It didn't work then and Jack knew it wasn't going to work this time either.


...

Tooth read.

Tooth made a job, reading. She found authors and became their editors, their agent, the crazy person they called at two in the morning when then came up with the next great teenage romance novel – it had vampires – and then again in the morning with a plea to disregard any earlier thoughts - honestly, vampires. Could you get anymore cliché? – after the regret of drinking at two in the morning had set in.

Tooth loved reading and she was good at it.

When they found out that Jack was anorexic, Bunnymund dealt with it in the same way he dealt with everything: he locked it up, threw away the key, and pretended he didn't care. (when he really cared too much). With the air of Russians everywhere, North sat back and silently accepted his new conditions.

Tooth? Tooth read.

Tooth read everything she could about anorexia, about later in life problems, about people who never really recovered, about people who recover at twelve, thirty, seventy.

Tooth went through tags, looked at pictures and watched documentaries. Tooth didn't understand what was happening to Jack but she tried. It's all she could do and it didn't help.

Tooth cried a lot, at first. She would sob when she read about the varied individual causes, the crippling anxiety caused by food, the physical state of the sufferers, and their tormented, distorted voices that convinced them not to eat.

There were people who helped other people become anorexic, there were sites and diets specifically for anorexic people and support groups and it was utterly horrifying. Tooth hadn't been able to eat that night after reading one of their blogs. These people, so proud of wasting away, these people who would never recover.

The picture, however, were the worst. The barely alive rail thin bodies with bones poking out everywhere, captioned with, look at how big my thighs are and the skin barely clinging to their flesh turning into fat in their eyes.

Tooth read stories written by the people who had let the self-hate swallow them up, from the inside out, and ones by the people who hadn't been able to stop them and she never became numb. Each part, each little bit or clue or hint about anorexia never numbed her to the tragedy.

Guardian started falling away or, at the very least, became less important.

Tooth, instead, visited Jack at night before closing, and talked to him about everything but food. Tooth was the one who finally told Jack what a disaster the show for Guardian was.

Pitch had attempted legal impositions on them, which did nothing, but scared people away. The money that earned wasn't nearly enough.

Pitch was winning. Guardian would only be operable for another week.

Jamie misses you.

The sky was really blue today. It reminded me of your eyes.

God, that crazy vampire writer, Stephanie Myers, won't leave me the fuck alone.

I had – Babytooth and I went out to – I mean, never mind Jack.

Hey, you'll be out by next Friday – it's only a few days from now.

Did you like Slaughterhouse Five? I brought you Animal Farm. And the seventh Harry Potter. WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU HAVEN'T READ EVERY SINGLE HARRY POTTER RELIGIOUSLY AND BUILT A SHRINE TO THEM AND WORSHIPED THEM?!

Jack was in the hospital for nine days when he started looking better. It was a Wednesday, directly after the failure of Guardian and Jack told Tooth that he liked the taste of pasta and she felt relieved.

"I believe in you," was the last thing she said.

And then, she left. The doctors told her Jack would be out in two days. Tooth didn't watch Merlin mindlessly to forget or cry herself to sleep that night.


...

Dr. Bennett asked him about the time jumps immediately, when she finishes the latest chapter.

Jack shrugged. "I was really messed up the first week. It's how I remembered it."

Dr. Bennett makes one of her 'this news saddens me even though it implies (hopefully) meaning and/or understanding'. But maybe it was just projecting, because Dr. Bennett seemed to make that face a lot.

"Anorexia does that, Jack," Dr. Bennett explains. "It will probably have a lasting effect on you're short term memory. Think about Peter Pan's memory."

"The boy who never grew up?" Thinking of the humor in that, Jack can't help but laugh.

"The lonely boy who lived far too much for far too long without a mother," Dr. Bennett corrects -astutely but Jack doesn't want to listen because it's funnier when he's the crazy flying boy on his island, defeating pirates and laughing all day.

...



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