so, um, hi...! *ducks* I'M SORRY ! i know i said it would be out sooner, and it is kinda shorter than the others, but it will be worth the wait (i hope)

thank you to everyone who reviewed, and i'm sorry if i haven't got back to you yet, i've been really busy not an excuse, i know, but the holidays are coming up so i will be faster. (i already have the next one done, i've had it finished for a while) so, i'm being (relatively) nicer to Jack in this one.

sorry, i'm rambling... so, without further ado, may i present you with:


The furious glare softened as it fell upon Jack, though there was still a smoldering rage in the mans' eyes as he stepped into the room.

He was tall, having to stoop to get through the doorway. His tailored suit somehow managed to look ragged and lifeless on his skinny frame, though it was evidently well-made, and the mop of bright reddish-orange hair matched only his socks.

It occurred to Jack that the man looked like a tired old scarecrow, left guarding his field too long; although he was good looking, he seemed to be weighed down by something, and many deeps lines were carved into his face. His scarecrow-like appearance was only magnified by his odd gait – he walked without bending his knees, almost as if he didn't have any.

The man interrupted his thoughts, speaking softly, as if afraid to scare him. He stayed several feet away from Jack, leaning against the opposite wall.

"Are you alright?" he asked, almost hesitantly. A strong sense of familiarity washed over Jack, though he had no idea where it came from.

Jack raised his head slowly, avoiding the man's gaze. Was he someone else come to torment him?

The man repeated his question. It was more of a statement than a request.

Jack turned his head slightly to face him, and winced as he nodded.

The man's eyes narrowed as he caught Jack wincing, and despite his awkward gait, he was beside him before he finished speaking.

Startled by the sudden movement, Jack shot upright, groaning as he moved.

"Sir?" he croaked out, grimacing again.

"Don't call me that. And… you're not fine. Stay still." The orders came as a surprise to Jack, but before he could say anything, the man had gently tilted his head to one side, and speech became impossible as long, thin fingers held his jaw in place.

As he studied the damage, Saithien's fury increased, and he ignored the profuse amount of blood staining his sleeve.

The upper right part of Jack's jaw was almost shattered; he shouldn't be able to move it, let alone speak, and most of his too-tight straightjacket was stained with the blood. The fact that Jack was even conscious and could still think through the pain meant that he had dealt with similar or worse injuries many times before, and it only served to fire his anger even more.

He released Jack's head, and watched as he turned slowly towards him, the muffled agony visible in his eyes.

"Who…are you?" he managed to whisper from the side of his mouth.

Saithien winced inwardly, wishing he'd stop speaking. To Jack, he said, "I'm Benjamin Saithien… You can call me either, it doesn't matter." He paused then, and Jack thought that he seemed to be thinking about saying something else. The silence stretched into awkwardness, and Jack squirmed under his piercing gaze.

"But for now, you're not going to call me anything, because you're not going to be doing any talking. At least until your jaw heals."

Jack nodded slowly in agreement, though somewhat reluctantly. He had so many questions.

He realized that the guard had gone, and a particular question sprung to mind. He had to ask at least one.

"The guard…he…called you…Senior. Why?"

Saithien's plastic smile slipped almost unnoticeably, and Jack in his pain-filled haze didn't catch it. Of all the questions, he thought bitterly. For a moment he hesitated, then he laughed and answered, "Probably because I'm old. Much older than I look, anyway."

Jack snorted. He hadn't expected a real answer anyway. Who was this guy? He'd never heard of him – Lord Elrich Saithien wasn't exactly a common name, and he was sure he'd never met him.

Saithien looked away guiltily; he didn't want to lie to the boy, but he had no choice. His people were very strict with their rules, and he knew that he couldn't stay much longer.

After all, it was almost Hallowe'en.

He sighed and stood awkwardly, still watching Jack, whose eyes had now lost focus; he was going to pass out. Saithien looked at him pitifully, wishing he could do something for him. Catching Jack as he slumped to one side, he propped him against the wall.

He knew he shouldn't, but he couldn't help it. With little deliberation, he replaced his hand against Jack's face and murmured something inaudibly, feeling the bone and muscle knit back together under his palm. A curl of smoke came from under his long, thin fingers, and he cursed to himself; he shouldn't have been so obvious. He didn't totally heal his jaw - he couldn't do any more without arousing more suspicion, but he couldn't to leave him like that.

He didn't want to leave him at all; it was, after all, his fault.

Sighing again, Saithien left the cramped white room with a backward glance at Jack, only the lingering smell of burnt toast any sign that he'd ever been there. The guards saluted him stiffly as he staggered down the hallway, his awkward, crazy gait rather befitting the asylum in which he stood.

He passed two janitors on his way out, and unlike the guards who were terrified into staring at the wall, they watched him go down the hallway, and as he reached the end, they saw something rather strange.

"Did you see that?" One gasped. "He just... He just, like, disappeared..." The other nodded dumbly, and replied,

"Yeah, but he like, set on fire..." They both stared at the slightly smoky end of the corridor.

"And just what," A haughty voice came from behind the two janitors, and they both jumped, "do you think you're doing?"

They slowly turned, and gulped as they saw who was stood there.

The first janitor thought, I am so gonna get fired.

The second was just mentally screaming for mercy.

DOOM! haha, i'm very very very sorry about the wait *dodges flying muffins from angry readers* everybody disappears off the face of the earth for a few months... right? uh, so yeah, the next chapter will be up very soon:) like, next week, maybe earlier if ppl review *nudge nudge wink wink*? shameless, i know:) thank you very much for reading:)