Timelined a day or two after Bad News, Worse News
<Shinobi> He knew better, he really did, but Web MD was right there. Googling symptoms was always risky, since it tended to give you the worst possible outcome, but in his case that might be accurate.
<Shinobi> Unfortunately, there were a million things that caused blurred vision. When you cross-referenced it with headaches and possible genetic abnormalities it narrowed the field.
<Shinobi> He needed to stop reading this, but now he couldn't. Curling into himself on the sofa, he frowned at the tablet.
<Jessica> Jess was bored and reading through course options and requirements on her tablet while she made herself a cup of tea. Once she had her tea, she crossed the hall to the living room to sit down on the sofa and found it already occupied, "Oh, hey..."
<Shinobi> "Hey," he said, startling slightly. Was his hearing going now? Why hadn't he noticed her coming. "Am I... do you want me to go?" He hid the tablet screen against his leg.
<Jessica> She shook her head, a little confused, "No... why would I?" She sat down on the other sofa and put her tea down.
<Shinobi> "Sorry." He forced himself to relax, if just a little. "If you wanted to be alone, I meant." Waving a hand, he dismissed his awkwardness. "Anyway, how are you?"
<Jessica> "I spend most of my day alone, why would I pass up the opportunity for company?" she offered him a smile, "I'm okay, thanks... you?"
<Shinobi> "I'm probably not the best company right now," he admitted, but smiled crookedly.
<Jessica> "Why not?" She gave him a concerned look, tucking her legs under her and setting her tablet to one side.
<Shinobi> After a moment of thought, he decided to fess up. "I'm making myself paranoid." Lifting the tablet, he gave it a shake, then dropped it back into his lap.
<Jessica> "Oh don't do that...." she abandoned her seat and went over to him to look at the offending material.
<Shinobi> He sat up, unfolding his legs to give her room to sit. "This one is called creutzfeldt-jakob disease and comes from a genetic mutation. It starts with blurred vision, then leads to blindness, loss of muscle control, mental deterioration, coma then death within a year," he read.
<Jessica> "Give me that." She held her hand out for the tablet.
<Shinobi> Obi handed it over without argument.
<Jessica> Jess closed all of the Web MD windows without even looking at them then set the tablet down on the coffee table, "There. Problem solved."
<Shinobi> "If only it was really that easy." He slid down into the sofa and rested his head against the back. Now he had a headache, again.
<Jessica> "Looking at these kinds of sites is not going to help in any way whatsoever. Promise me you're not going to do that again..." she reached to take his hand.
<Shinobi> "I'll try." He took her hand gladly, using his other to rub his eyes.
<Jessica> She gave his hand a squeeze, "It's not good for you to look at that stuff... it can't tell you what may or may not be wrong with you and you're just going to work yourself up..."
<Shinobi> "It looks like there are endless ways to die." Eyes closed, he pressed his fingers into them to keep himself in control.
<Jessica> "Well that's true for everyone," she pointed out, pulling him into a hug instead, "And there's no point stressing yourself out over this... stress isn't good for anyone anyway..."
<Shinobi> "It's Hope I'm worried about." The hug was welcome as well and he hid his face on her shoulder.
<Jessica> "I'm worried about both of you..." she gave him a small squeeze and gently stroked a hand over his back. "But it doesn't change that looking at these things won't help you..."
<Shinobi> "I thought it might give me an idea..." His voice cracked on the fear he tried to hide and he had to stop for a moment. When he continued, it came out muffled by her shoulder. "What to expect. Maybe."
<Jessica> "You know what else would do that while at the same time being more accurate? Seeing an actual doctor." Her tone was soft but firm and she followed the comment with another gentle squeeze.
<Shinobi> "I am." Once again, it took time for him to continue. "But until then all I can do is wonder. I try not to think about it, but..."
<Jessica> "I know it's hard..." she shifted to get more comfortable, "Have you tried distracting yourself?"
<Shinobi> That made him smile, remembering Hope's distraction techniques. "Yeah."
<Jessica> "Does it work?" She loosened her hold to look at his face.
<Shinobi> Despite himself, he felt his face heat up and he smirked, meeting her eyes. "Oh yes, but we can't do that all the time. Unfortunately."
<Jessica> She blinked at him as realisation dawned, then laughed, "No... that would make going to class a little awkward."
<Shinobi> "Yeah." Joining in on the laughter felt good, releasing just a bit of his tension. "I've been having a hard time focusing on class anyway... and reading is kind of a problem, sometimes, so it serves to just remind me something's wrong."
<Jessica> "Well... maybe, in the mean time, we could look at getting you some glasses to help with the reading?" she suggested, "Just as a temporary solution... you might end up needing them anyway...."
<Shinobi> His nose wrinkled, but he agreed. "Yeah, I know." What would Hope think of him in glasses? "It's a starting point anyway, I suppose."
<Jessica> "It should help with the headaches too," she offered him a smile, "Sebastian said his dad wore glasses... he escaped, probably because of his healing... but you don't have that... so it could just be simply that. Genetic predisposition to bad eyesight..."
<Shinobi> "Yeah, but I have Viper's healing right now... it would be nice if it would do something." It was too bad he hadn't inherited Sebastian's healing as well.
<Jessica> "Well... for that I can't help you... I don't know how they work, healing mutations that is.... buuuut there's a teacher at the school who is an encyclopedia of mutation knowledge... I could go by and quiz him if you want?"
<Shinobi> "You mean Doctor McCoy?" He leaned forward, rubbing both hands over his face. "I think I'll be seeing him too."
<Jessica> She shook her head, "Noooo - Pietro Maximoff. It's like his hobby... he took over some of Sebastian's classes while he was... not himself and sort of stuck around." A lot of former students never seemed to really leave, it was sort of reassuring.
<Shinobi> Not himself, meaning when he was having sex with Hope. Obi tried to control his reaction to that. "Yeah, Sebastian mentioned him too. I know his father's work." It came out more bitter than intended.
<Jessica> "A lot of people do, it seems..." she chewed her lip, "But he isn't his father... and he's happy to help anyone that asks for it. Would you like me to ask him for you?"
<Shinobi> "I think he's already been asked," he said with a sigh. "Hope trusts him, and his wife, apparently."
<Jessica> "Illyana's nice," Jess smiled, "She scared me a little bit when I was new at the school though... not because she's scary, but she was pregnant with their twins at the time... and I had something of a problem with pregnant people..."
<Shinobi> "Oh." His tone was flat, reminded of their situation again. Hope would never have that, especially not with him.
<Jessica> "Anyway, she's harmless," Jess attempted to recover from the reminder of that generally uncomfortable period in her life, "They both are... and I'm sure they'd be happy to help if they can."
<Shinobi> He grunted in response. "If you had a problem with pregnant people, why did you get pregnant?"
<Jessica> "Neither time was on purpose..." Jess slouched back into the sofa, "And, the first time, I did my fair share of freaking out. Sebastian had to coax me out from under the bed..."
<Shinobi> Obi looked up and surveyed her. "Hope... I guess she missed her one chance." It wasn't what he'd really meant to say, and he looked away, leaning down to cover his face with his hands.
<Jessica> Jess sighed and reached for him to hold him again, "Don't say that... anything could happen..."
<Shinobi> "I know... she says it's not my fault, but she'll never be able to have that now." He wiped at his eyes. "I know I didn't do that to her, but I was the target. And now..."
<Jessica> "Never say never," she said softly, wrapping her arms around him securely, "Our lives are full of possibilities all the time, you never know what's around the corner."
<Shinobi> "Dementia and blindness, according to that," he gestured at the tablet, trying hard to keep in control.
<Jessica> "And I told you to ignore that - don't make me pick you up and shake you."
<Shinobi> That made him snort and he tapped her inhibitor bracelet. "Not likely right now."
<Jessica> "I'm not above turning it off to prove a point."
<Shinobi> "I believe you," he said with a slight smirk, looking up to study her face.
<Jessica> "As you should," she offered a smile when he looked at her.
<Shinobi> He sighed and his bravado failed. "I'm scared, Jess."
<Jessica> "I know, sweetheart..." she hugged him close, "It's completely understandable... but you know we'll do our absolute best to help you, whatever it takes."
<Shinobi> He nodded, hiding his face against her again. "I know you believe that, but I'm still not sure about Sebastian... and then there's Hope..."
<Jessica> "Sebastian will help, if only because Hope and I will want him to but I know he cares for you too, in his own way..." she pressed a kiss to the top of his head.
<Shinobi> Closing his eyes, he tried not to cry again. "Thank you... for everything."
<Jessica> "You don't have to thank me for this," Jess reminded him gently, "This is just what family does for each other."
<Shinobi> "I'm glad then." He was quiet for a moment, then drew in a deep breath. "And I want to ask you a favor..."
<Jessica> "Of course, whatever you need..." she stroked her hand over his hair.
<Shinobi> "If I..." His eyes leaked again and he squeezed them closed. "When I'm gone, watch out for Hope."
<Jessica> She gave him a tight squeeze, "Of course I will, if it comes to that. You never have to worry about that, okay? No matter what happens, we'll all take care of each other."
<Shinobi> "She's said some things," he forced out. "It makes me worry about what she might do. And I know she's been through this before..."
<Jessica> She shook her head, "No, not this... this is completely different.... and... I know it's horrible... but at least there's... time..."
<Shinobi> "What? So I can die slowly right in front of her instead of suddenly?" The tears spilled over and he swore. "Like that's better?"
<Jessica> "There's time to say all the things you want to say to each other..." she offered, "I know it's not the same... I know..." She held him close and nuzzled his hair.
<Shinobi> "She knows already," he whispered. At the moment, he was shielding their link, but it was always there. It was always there, so long as he lived. "I just want her to be okay."
<Jessica> "We'll take good care of her, I promise. You have nothing to worry about there, okay?" she pressed another kiss into his hair, "We'll keep her safe for you."
<Shinobi> He just nodded, unable to respond. They were happy together, and if he thought too much about how unfair this was he'd completely lose control. "I promised her we'd have our lifetimes together," he said finally.
<Jessica> "We'll do our utmost to help you keep that promise," she gave him another gentle squeeze, "We love you both very much."
<Shinobi> Once again, all he could do was nod.
<Jessica> "Okay... how about some hot chocolate or something? Or help me make some dinner?" She was trying to distract him herself now.
<Shinobi> "Hope said she wouldn't hurt herself, but I'm not so sure." He wasn't so easily distracted. The idea of leaving her behind was too much.
<Jessica> Jess sighed, "Michael... I promise. If I have to tie her down myself."
<Shinobi> "You know we have this, right?" He touched his forehead. "She's always in my head, and I'm in hers."
<Jessica> She nodded, "I know... and I know how much of a burden that can be sometimes..."
<Shinobi> "It's not though. Not really." He sighed. "I love having it."
<Jessica> "Then what is it?" It wasn't that she didn't love the link with Sebastian, it was reassuring, but it was also a pain in the ass when you were trying to keep a secret.
<Shinobi> "I know she's not telling me the truth." He looked away.
<Jessica> "About what? That she might harm herself?" Jess wondered if she should talk about this with Sebastian.
<Shinobi> Again, he nodded. "I can't tell what it means. She believes what she says about not hurting herself literally, but..."
<Jessica> "Then believe her... believe her and believe me that I'll keep an eye on her..."
<Shinobi> "You saw how she was. Not as much as what Sebastian saw, but..." He couldn't talk to him like this. Not really. "She wasn't eating and she couldn't sleep, and she just-" Obi closed his eyes again. "She kills herself slowly."
<Jessica> "We won't let that happen, okay? I'll be using my powers again long before this is a problem, I'm sure, so I can keep an eye on her properly..."
<Shinobi> "Okay." He drew in a deep breath and blew it out.
<Jessica> "Try not to worry about this so much... I know you can't help it... but she'll be well taken care of if it comes to that, you don't have to be afraid for her," she gave him another tight hug, "Just live in the present."
<Shinobi> He laughed, shakily. "That's what she keeps telling me."
<Jessica> "Then do it," she kissed his cheek, "There is nothing you can do about any of this at least until there have been tests so don't worry about it. I know it's easier said than done... but try, okay?"
<Shinobi> "I'm trying, as much as I can, but sometimes..." Obi sat up, meeting her eyes.
<Jessica> "I get it... so when it gets too much for you, come and find me alright? We'll talk or do something ridiculous or whatever you think will help." She offered him a smile.
<Shinobi> He smiled, though it was crooked. "I appreciate it."
<Jessica> "You're welcome... now please come and help me with dinner, I'm running out of ways to dress up macaroni and cheese."
<Shinobi> "It doesn't need to be dressed up." This time, the smile was less forced.
<Jessica> "It does... macaroni and cheese is a side dish..." Jess' nose wrinkled.
<Shinobi> "Lies." He laughed at her expression.
<Jessica> "It is! Help me find more stuff she'll eat... and then help me stir in vitamins...."
<Shinobi> "Okay," he said, working to sit up in the soft sofa. "It might help if we put it in a takeout container."
<Jessica> "...we can do that, I keep the plastic ones." She got to her feet and offered a hand to help him up. "Come on co-conspirator."
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