7/15 Issue: Eel's Well that Ends Well

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Title: Damn Not Given
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7/15 Issue: Eel's Well that Ends Well

Post by Slarti » Fri Jul 16, 2021 1:08 am

Timelined a couple days after Tortuous Timing.

Jamie: Jamie lifted up onto his elbow and stared down at Jean lying next to him. This was messed up. All of it. He brushed some hair out of her face then moved his hand to set it lightly on her stomach. Rage. Heartbreak. Worthlessness. He should have been able to save her. To save their baby. And now, he should be able to sleep, but he couldn't. Too much time had passed since Arcade tried to play with them and he was anxious.

Jean: Jean wasn't normally a really light sleeper, but the last week - week? days? - had made her one. She felt the movement beside her, then a weight on her belly. She reached for it, her own hand landing on top of his.

Jamie: Oops... Jamie made a face at himself, but didn't move other than that. "Sorry," he murmured. "I didn't mean to wake you up. Couldn't sleep."

Jean: His voice brought her consciousness back into focus and she hummed, tilting her head closer to him and cracking an eye. "S'kay." Jean folded her fingers over his hand, still low on her stomach.

Jamie: Her still-half-asleep-but-also-not-asleep-at-all voice made him smile and he leaned over to kiss her forehead. "How are you feeling?"

Jean: Jean knew better than to just say she was okay. He knew better, and he'd already called her on it since they'd been back in the white room with the surly dupe. "M'head hurts," she whined, stretching a little and resettling further squished into his chest.

Jamie: Jamie chuckled and laid back down so he could hold her properly. "If that's the only thing wrong, then I think we can call that a win for now." He took a deep breath and stared at the ceiling, ignoring the frustrating grumbling of the dupe on the other side of Jean.

Jean: It didn't bother her as much, since it was just Jamie in stereo. For once, not having her powers was a good thing, so she didn't have to feel his jealousy and general assholery. She hummed again and snuggled into him, her arms sliding around him. "M'sorry."

Jamie: "Ahh," he breathed out and grinned. "Nothing to be sorry for, Jeannie. Unless you plan to tell me that you're really in love with Redd and are going to leave me the second we get home so you can run into her arms."

Jean: Jean gave an inelegant snort. "I'meant about t'baby."

Jamie: "Hey." He kissed her head and nuzzled her hair. "That's not your fault. You're grieving just like me." Jamie moved his hand to catch her left one with the ring in the proper spot, "I love you. Forever."

Jean: She raised her head to look at him and smiled. "I love you, too." Jean paused and wondered if they'd ever get a wedding. "Aaand in case we don't get to say it for real," she said, sighing and squeezing his hand. "I do."

Jean: She ignored the dupe's theatrical gagging before he got up to move.

Jamie: Jamie grinned, "Me too." He shimmied and shifted until he was even with her mouth. "You may now kiss the bride. I may? Awesome!" And Jamie did just that.

Arcade: He smirked when the happy couple was dumped at his feet in the home of his newest creation. "I think you skipped a few steps! Like the one about objections!" He ripped his red-headed toy away from the other one and pinned each against opposite walls of the bright room with invisible tethers.

Jean: Jean's head knocked back against the wall and cut off her scream.

Jamie: Jamie yelled, wordlessly, as Jean was yanked away from him and then went limp. "You sonuvabitch. If anything else happens to her-" he wasn't sure how to end that threat yet, so just cut himself off. "What the hell do you want now?!"

Arcade: "You'll what? Replicate at me?" A multi-colored ball appeared and he tossed it hand to hand, getting a good giggle out of the idea. He turned from Jamie, to Jean, back to Jamie. "She's a fiery one, isn't she?" He gave his words a sneering edge and pretended to shiver.

Jamie: He was right. There really wasn't anything he could do. Especially not pinned to the wall. Don't let him know that, though, dummy! Jamie glared at him, "She'll burn you alive."

Arcade: "Oh, I don't think that will be a problem anymore." He grinned and behind him, from the floor, a contraption began to build itself bit by bit. Water streamed from the ceiling, rapidly filling the tank to the brim.

Jamie: "...A dunk tank? Seriously? Is that the best you can do?" ...WHY would you say that?! Extra dumb!

Jean: Jean was stunned, but she slowly gathered herself, listening to them argue without really comprehending the words. The wall moved behind her and she screamed.

Arcade: "No?" He caught the ball and flourished at the tank with his free hand. "I thought it a time-honored way to drown out that flame!"

Jamie: Jamie's eyes jerked back to Jean at her scream and saw the wall ...transforming...? "Jeannie, it's okay. I'm right here!" He narrowed his eyes at Arcade, tauntingly, "What? Does her flame scare you? Wuss."

Arcade: He clapped with glee as her screaming got more hysterical and the bravado from the boyfriend got more hilarious. "It scares you."

Jean: Jean struggled, her head pounding. Cold, hard tendrils were winding around her wrists and ankles again, pulling her toward the ceiling and then into it.

Jamie: Jamie tried to pry himself from the wall, but still couldn't move. His heart was pounding as he watched Jean, unable to get to her. "Her flames will never hurt me."

Arcade: "You keep telling yourself that, boyo." He threw the ball at Jamie and let it bounce off his forehead and back to his hand.

Jean: She couldn't get free and felt herself half sucked into the ceiling until she was over the tank. Then, her restraints extended downward, dangling her over the water.

Jamie: Jamie winced and tried to dodge the ball but...still stuck. "Jeannie, it's okay. Just breathe." He turned his glare back to Arcade, "It's not me who said it. It's her. She loves me so her flames won't hurt me. Sucks to be you, huh?"

Jean: Breathing was not happening. A lot of screaming and hyperventilating was happening. The ceiling cupped her ass in a way she did not at all like and then tipped her to a seated angle as the whole thing reformed itself into a chair around her.

Arcade: "Which of us is pinned to a wall?" He grinned at Jamie and turned to see if his new invention was ready. "Perfect!" He clapped again. "Time to play with fire and see who gets burned!"

Jamie: The second Arcade wasn't looking at him, his eyes shot back to Jean and her contraption. A cucking stool?! Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck. "Seriously, dude?!" What was this guy's damage?! Jean wasn't a witch! "A cuck tank? Hardy har har."

Arcade: "We'll find out who's really the cuck when I get the witch out of the bitch." He gave a flourish with his free hand and bounced the ball off Jamie's face again.

Jamie: Oof! The ball again! Jamie tried to flail and get off the wall to get to Jean. "You already got rid of our baby! What more do you want?!"

Arcade: "Other than to get rid of you? Although I really hate to lose such a wonderful, endless supply of toys." He turned to toss the ball at the target on the tank and Jean fell in with a squeak. "How long should I leave her under?"

Jean: "Fuck!" It was all Jean got out before the water closed over her head and she fought, sucking in water instead of air. Nonononono!

Jamie: Jamie roared and struggled as hard as he could. "Let her up, asshole!"

Arcade: "Up? No, no. That's not how this game works!" He laughed and a new ball appeared in his hand. Arcade tossed it from palm to palm and walked up to the glass front of the tank, looking in at Jean. "Either she's a witch and she survives or she's not and I've put out the fire."

Jean: Jean realized her arms were free and she pounded on the glass, seeing distorted Arcade and further, a blur she hoped was Jamie. Her hand slapped against the solid surface and she tried to focus on Jamie.

Arcade: Arcade's toothy grin slithered onto his face and got wider by the second as he watched her flail about. He waited a few seconds longer than he thought she could hold her breath then tossed the ball in the air, letting the ducking chair come up at the same time. And rate of speed.

Jamie: "Jeaaaan! You'll get what's coming to you, too, man!"

Jean: Her scream came out as a gurgle and she coughed, reaching for her throat. She couldn't breathe, couldn't talk, but she could fight... at least for a few more seconds until she ran out of energy, then she hung limply and gasped. Dimly, she heard Jamie yelling.

Jamie: Jamie felt himself go a little limp as well when he realized she was up and breathing, but didn't let himself think for a second that she was safe. "Babe, you're okay. Just save your energy."

Arcade: "Aww, isn't that cuuute?! He thinks he can coach you through this!" He turned mock sad eyes to Jamie, "I wonder why that is. Care to share? No? Well, then." Arcade whipped around to face the drowned rat. "What about you?"

Jean: The crazy was talking to her and she looked up at him through her wet hair. Between the tears and snot and gross water, she was a mess. Still coughing, she looked past him to Jamie and smiled a sad little smile. I love you. She didn't expect him to hear her but it made her feel better.

Jean: After another rattling breath and coughing fit, she frowned at Arcade. "What about me?" she rasped, hacking again.

Arcade: Arcade rolled his eyes and rolled the ball between his hands. "Care to share why he thinks he can coach you through dying?"

Jean: "Because you've killed him," she coughed, her eyes back on Jamie. "Because he loves me. Because you're a fucking monster."

Arcade: "Oh ho hoooo, aren't we a mouthy one!" He tsked her and shook his head. "Maybe you need to be cleansed some more." Arcade made the chair twitch to spook her a bit and grinned at her.

Jean: Jean screeched. Cleansed?! WTF!

Arcade: Arcade winced at the high pitched noise she made. "Yeaaah, down you go." And down she went. He giggled gleefully.

Jamie: Jamie roared at Arcade again and actually managed to wiggle some fingers. "You'll kill her!"

Jean: The last thing she heard was Jamie's voice as she tried to hold her breath this time before she went under. Her arms were still free and she felt for the restraints around her waist, but there was no seam... it was like she was molded into the seat.

Jean: Jean had told Arcade she'd rather die than be with him... It looked like he was taking her up on that offer.

Jamie: Jamie struggled and grunted and groaned as he fought against the invisible force pinning him to the wall. He had to do something! He wouldn't just watch her die like Johnny. He couldn't.

Arcade: "Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner! Tell him what he's won!" Miss Locke spoke over the intercom that materialized next to Jamie's head, "Nothing!" Arcade cackled as Jamie recoiled from the startling voice in his ear.

Jean: Her lungs burned, her chest aching, feeling like it was about to burst. Jean held her breath for as long as she could until it expelled with a cough and her lungs filled with water. No! Nonono! She couldn't leave him alone with this monster!

Arcade: Arcade turned to the tank when he heard the explosive bubbling and danced from foot to foot at the sight. This was all so exciting! "How long will she last? Let's see!" A giant timer appeared beside the tank. "Oh... But we won't get an accurate time! Tsk."

Jamie: Jamie screamed his voice raw. Fuck this asshole!

Arcade: He sighed and let Jean come up. "Drat."

Jean: Jean felt herself jerk out of the water again and could only cough. She gagged, bringing up more water. She could hear Jamie, but he sounded like he was at a distance now.

Jamie: Jamie choked on a sob as she coughed. She was still alive. "Jean! Jeannie, can you hear me?!"

Arcade: Arcade tilted his head as he stared at Jean. "I don't see any fire, so I must have doused it out of her!"

Jean: Jean heard him, and she also heard Arcade cackling about fire. Jamie. Fire. Jamie. She was still struggling to breathe, hitching and hacking and shaking, but in the back of her mind, she felt something flutter.

Arcade: He rapped on the side of the tank to get her attention. "Are you sufficiently put out yet?" Arcade glanced at the ball in his hand, "Because if nooot...." The ball tossed and hit Jamie in the face again.

Jamie: "Arg! Stop it with the ball already!" ...Wait. WAIT. Jean?! She was alive. Thank GOD.

Jean: She laughed at the feel of his mind in hers, but it came out as a gurgling cough. Birb. It was about all she could manage, but the phoenix was awake now, and she was not happy.

Jean: Jean managed a deeper breath and gathered herself, feeling flames spring up on her bare arms. She raised her head to stare at Arcade and could feel the fire in her eyes. "You can't put me out," she rasped.

Jamie: Birb? Birb! Jamie saw the flames start and grinned at Arcade.

Arcade: "Of course I can," he said flippantly over his shoulder to Jean. "And why are you grinning like an idiot," he asked Jamie. "Neither of you will last long."

Jean: "We'll outlast you." Her voice grew stronger as she did, sensing the molecules that made up this world of his and looking for ways to destroy it. The seat began to melt away from her as the flames rose.

Arcade: He turned back to sneer at Jean, but his eyes went a little wide. This was not good. "Wrecking my toys deserves punishment." The ball flew at the trigger for the chair but instead of only water, she was plunged into a tank now filled with electric eels. "You won't outlast me if I fry your brain inside your skull."

Jean: She broke free from the chair just as it plunged her into the squirming mass of EW! "Fuck!" In a split second the shocks went from a slimy tingle to searing pain and she screamed, lashing out with her power. The top of the tank blew apart, the phoenix's fire reaching Arcade and past, punching into the fabric of the room itself. Jamie! I'm so sorry!

Jean: Jean's last act was to pull the fire back from him before the water closed over her head.

Jamie: Jamie's eyes went wide with terror as he watched the scene unfolding in front of him, with him unable to do anything to stop it. Jean? JEAN?! He couldn't feel her anymore!

Arcade: He screamed in surprise and tried to duck the flames coming for him. They singed his beautiful red hair and he yelped. "No! No, no, no! This is not how this game is played!"

Jamie: He felt himself slip down the wall and his heart rate sped up again. Jean! No! This was not how things ended for her! Jamie roared again and dove at Arcade, tackling him to the ground.

Arcade: "My suit!" he gasped. The larger man had knocked the wind out of him and his girlfriend's fire was still making his curls sizzle. This was not at all how the day was meant to go!

Jamie: Jamie reached for Jean's presence in his mind again, but still didn't feel it. He snarled and grabbed Arcade by the jaw, wrapping his fingers in his mouth to press his tongue down. "Your suit?! Your. Suit?! My baby!" He slammed Arcade's head into the floor. "My fiancee!" And again.

Arcade: He tried to bite since he couldn't share his witty reply with fingers in his mouth. Who knew where those fingers had been! When his head hit the floor the first time he realized he might be in trouble.

Jamie: There was no 'might be' about it, as far as Jamie was concerned. He bashed Arcade's head again, not realizing that the wooden sides of the tank with the festive carnival lettering were shaking loose with each slam near them.

Arcade: He was seeing stars and made a gurgling noise around the fingers. A big "O" above them was swaying and he laughed, jerking it free and sending it at his attacker. Poetic revenge!

Jamie: Jamie lifted Arcade's head for another blow just as the letter struck him. He felt his duping happen in an almost slow-mo type fashion. No, no, no. Make it stop. Oh gross. Oh no. Ohhh no. Stoooop!

Jamie: He froze, pinning a duplicate of himself to the ground. A dupe who was covered in blood and gore. And bits of orange hair. The dupe looked up at him with scared, horrified eyes. No. No, that did not just happen.

Jamie: Did he really dupe inside of someone?! That was not a Figaro/Duparo moment... not even close. "Gaahhhh..." Prime tried to not throw up on himself and slowly stood, not sure if he wanted to help the dupe up or leave him on the ground. He definitely didn't want to reabsorb him. He didn't want to have that memory. Nope. No way no how.

Jamie: The dupe whimpered and reached up for Prime. He just wanted to forget it ever happened.

Jamie: Prime shook his head and backed away. Not now. Later. Deal with it later. Jean first. He ran and scooped her off of the floor since the tank had disappeared with ... well, with Arcade's body.

Jamie: She wasn't breathing. "Jean? Jeannie?!" He laid her flat and started working on CPR. Thank fuck for EMT training... "ANNA!" Could she hear him? How close were they to each other? FUCK! "C'mon, baby. Breathe!" Keep the heart pumping. A brain can survive ten minutes without oxygen. Body can't survive that long without blood. Keep it moving. Breathe, Jeannie. PLEASE breathe!

Jamie: A rasp came from Jean and then she was coughing up water. Jamie scooped her up to sit and lean against him, not wanting her to choke on the water and suffocate...again. His heart was beating so hard, he could practically feel it through Jean's chest. She was alive. He held her close and closed his eyes, kissing her temple. "I've got you, baby. I've got you."

Jamie: It took him longer than it should have to realize that he still couldn't feel her in his head. "Jeannie?" Jamie's hand sought her heart beat and he stilled to make sure her lungs were really moving and that it wasn't the rise and fall of his own chest making it happen. Why wasn't she awake? She should be awake...

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