Ryan cast a nervous glance at Troy. "It's okay," Ethan reassured them. "He knows everything. You can talk in front of him."
Ryan took in a deep breath and let it out slowly This is not going to be easy. I don't know how either of them will react to the news. "Okay. What I have to tell you won't be easy for the two of you to hear. From your point of view, nothing I'm going to tell you has not happened yet." He raised his hand to forestall any questions.
"Ryan, you have been living with me in the future of a little over a year. You were working as a historian at the TPC helping to correct errors in our historical records. Chris, you've been living with us for about six months, working in the infirmary learning all the medical advances between this time and my time. Nobody outside the TPC knew you came from the past. At least, that's what we think.
"One evening we went out to dinner with a friend of mine and then went to a club. I got called to the TPC for an emergency and you guys went home. At some point in during that time the two of you became critically ill. The only way to save your lives was to return you to this time until the doctors could figure out what happened to you. We believe you were poisoned somehow, but when, how and with what we don't know.
As all color drained from their faces, Ryan continued, "Personally, I think you were exposed to some kind of allergen you haven't been previously exposed to or innoculated against. We should have thought of that.
In a broken voice Ethan asked, "Who would want to do that to us?"
Ryan grabbed him and pulled him onto his lap, kissing his neck tenderly. "I don't think it was intentional. There's no motive. As far as the general populace is concerned, both of you are civilian employees of the TPC, you as a historian, Ethan, and you, Chris, as a medical intern. Nobody has any reason to question that."
"But what about where we came from originally?" Chris asked.
"Your cover story as being from another province is holding up."
Troy, who up until this time sat in silence, unable to believe what he was hearing. He wasn't totally convinced by Ryan's explanation. "So what does all this mean?"
"It means one of two things, if my supposition is correct; we either have to find the allergen or innoculate you against everything. I'm not going to lie to you. Innoculating you against everything will make you painfully ill for a few days."
Ethan turned frightened eyes to Ryan. "What do you mean by painfully ill?" He asked, not sure he wanted to know the answer.
Ryan shuddered at the memory, "3 to 4 days of joint pain and vomiting. Some people develop severe headaches, but that's rare." Ethan and Chris shuddered.
Troy asked, "is there any other way?"
Sadly Ryan shook his head. "There's no guarantee I'm right. It might be just wishful thinking on my part. I hope and pray with everything I have that I'm right."
"What about the timeline?" Chris asked, surprised no one had asked that before.
"That's what's weird. The timeline skewed slightly while you were in the infirmary, then straightened out once the two of you were returned to this time."
Ethan started to cry softly, realizing that he can never return to the future. “What’s going to happen to us?”
“I don’t know. All I do know is that I want to spend the rest of my life with you, and if it has to be here, then so be it.” Ryan responded immediately.
Looking down at the floor, Ethan said, “I can’t ask you to give up everything. The risk is too great. Besides, what would you do? You can’t be a TPC agent. It doesn’t exist. You would be giving up your entire life.”
Ryan knelt on the floor in front of Ethan and with his fingers under Ethan’s chin; he gently lifted his head to look into his eyes. Planting a tender kiss on his lips, Ryan whispered, “I don’t care about any of that. All I care about is being with you.”
Ethan wrapped his arms around Ryan and cried softly. As a familiar tingling infused itself through Ryan’s skin he shouted, “Oh, shit! Hang on baby. Bend over, grab your knees and pray…" Whatever else he had to say was lost as the two men dematerialized.