6/11 Issue: Great Ball of Fire

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Slarti
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Title: Damn Not Given
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6/11 Issue: Great Ball of Fire

Post by Slarti » Fri Jun 11, 2021 7:08 am

Timelined after Double Trouble and Not-Funhouse.

Jamie: Jamie finished MacGyvering the torch made from bits of funhouse and passed it to Anna. "Hold this until we can find a flame, and hop on before the express train leaves the station," he grinned over his shoulder as he turned his back so she could piggy-back again.

Anna: Anna laughed, taking the torch and trying not to smack Jamie in the face with it as she climbed onto her ride. "I will guard it with my life and all my best insults."

Jamie: "That is all I ask. Can't have half-hearted and weak insults slung around when people come trying to take it, now can we?" Passenger settled, Jamie started back in the direction of the dark tunnel, praying they would find something to use to light the thing, even if it was a piece of mirror with a super hot light.

Anna: "I have sarcasm saved up from years of being a doctor and having to wear my polite hat. I've got this covered," Anna assured him. "It's so hard when some people are so stupid."

Jean: For the third time in recent days, Jean had a Jamie in her lap. This one was also still alive, but she was pretty sure she'd given him PTSD in addition to that concussion now. "Jaaaaaaamie..." She tried to wake him gently, smoothing his hair back and patting his cheek. She really didn't want to have to smack him awake.

Jamie: Jamie laughed at that, "I'm sure I was included in that a few years ago. Naive and ignorant farm boy and all." He made his way carefully along the moving floor of the metal carnival-style funhouse. "Brace yourself, Anna... We're almost back at my body..."

Anna: "Farm kids at least learn not to stick their hands in machinery while it's switched on," Anna pointed out, "Apparently the American education system has chosen to leave that part out of schooling."

Jamie: "....YIKES." That sounded bad, even compared to what he'd been through. Don't think about it, Madrox. Ouch. His nose wrinkled right about the time he was starting to smell the copper tang in the air of his own blood. Timing. "Next stop, Murder Town..."

Jean: Jean turned her head at the sound of his voice. "Jamie?"

Anna: Anna's nose wrinkled, "Honestly, I'd take the stupid over this..."

Jean: That was Anna! "I'm here!" She twisted to see over her shoulder, since she didn't want to drop the dupe's head like a sack of potatoes.

Jamie: Wait. Jean? "Jean?" His head lifted and his pace picked up, "Anna, don't take offense, but you're getting bumped in favor of a VIP." Jamie set her down as quickly and gently as he could as soon as he saw his beautiful redhead. "Jeannie!"

Anna: Anna was okay with that. She smiled, happy for both of them to have found each other again. She hugged her not-yet-on-fire-fire-stick.

Jean: Jean was peeling the jacket off again to stuff under the dupe's head before scrambling to her feet to tackle Jamie with a hug. "It's really you." She was crying again now, but it was happy tears, dammit!

Jamie: "Holy shit, Jeannie," Jamie's arms couldn't get around her quick enough and he was lifting her off the ground to hold her as close as he could. "Holy shit."

Jean: She laughed and wrapped herself around him, closing her eyes. "Thank fuck."

Jamie: Jamie clung to her, taking a deep breath in as he nuzzled her hair. "Babe, I'm so sorry. I'll get us out of here and you'll never have to watch me die again until we're old and gray and it's peaceful and serene and not a murder or mutilation."

Jean: "Promise?" Jean turned her face into the crook of his neck to press her lips against his skin. Warm and alive and her Jamie.

Jamie: Jamie really wanted to promise, but he knew better. "...promise." He pulled his head back enough to smile at her, then pressed his lips to hers, happy to be the one doing it, not one of his dupes.

Jean: Jean was unable to help the noise she made and goddammit, she was going to kiss him. She wriggled to get her arm up to touch his face, wishing they had their link. She pulled back just a bit. "Did you have your powers back again? Just for a minute? I tried to touch you."

Jamie: "I know," his eyes twinkled when he remembered, "I felt you. But when I tried to reach back, you were gone again." Jamie bumped her nose with his and grinned. "But I knew you were alive and safe, so I was okay with knowing that much." Speaking of alive and safe...Jamie peered over at his unconscious self, "Did you break him?"

Jean: She grinned at his smile. "Same. I at least knew you weren't screaming..." Jean sighed and looked over at the dead dupe, giving Anna a sad smile. "Yeah... he's... well, for one he wants to take you out so he can keep me." She looked back at him with a sheepish expression.

Jamie: "....." He blinked at her for a moment, then slowly set her down and walked over to his dupe. Jamie crouched beside him and peered into his own face for a moment, then reached out and willed his powers to work. "C'moooon. Absorb, dammit." Fuck.

Jean: "He knows you're the original. When our powers were back he accidentally duplicated and freaked the fuck out." Jean knelt on the other side of him and brushed back his hair. "I feel bad for him."

Anna: Anna watched this attempt and giggled, "If he wakes up right now I'm gonna laugh so hard..."

Jamie: Jamie's mouth twitched at Anna's words and at the mental image Jean's story gave him. "Oh, this is gonna be a fun thing to remember happening..." He finally gave up and sat beside his head, still peering down at him. "Well, we really need to keep moving, so I need to wake up soon. What happened? Did he hit his head again?"

Jean: "He was being kind of a dick about..." She gestured at the dead one. "Sooo, I may have overshared about cannibals and broke him?" Jean gave both of them a sickly smile. "Whooops?"

Anna: Anna reached out a hand to gently pat Jean, "It's okay. We've all been in the TMI club."

Jean: Jean registered Anna's pat and tackled her for a hug, too. "You're okay! ...I found your sweater..."

Jamie: "Grrreaaaaat..." Jamie pinched the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes tight. Maybe if he did it hard enough, he would wake up in his own bed, in his own building, with his dog and his girlfriend and her cats and be safe and sound and no dead selves.

Anna: Anna hugged back tightly, "I'm usually fine. Few bruises but... he took the brunt of it..." she gestured to the dead dupe.

Jean: Jean glanced at the poor dead dupe again, then Jamie and ...Jamie, before back at Anna. "I'm glad he wasn't alone... thanks."

Jamie: The dupe groaned and Jamie looked down at him. "As fun as it might be to try and fight myself, I think maybe we should ease him into the fact that I'm here now." With that, he stood and moved a few steps away before the dupe had a chance to open his eyes.

Jamie: "...arg, what happened?" The dupe slowly lifted a hand to his face, almost afraid to remember why he passed out. And then he remembered and knew why he was afraid of it. "ARG! DON'T EAT ME!"

Jean: "Jamie, it's fine! It's just me. No cannibals." She moved away from Anna and back to him, taking his flaily hand. "Sorry about that..."

Anna: Anna moved into the dupe's line of sight and offered a small wave. "No one's eating anyone..."

Jamie: Prime turned his back and bit his lower lip, hard, to try and not snicker at himself. He understood that fear more than the dupe knew, but it was kind of funny to watch himself flail about it.

Jamie: "Oh. I knew that." The dupe Jamie gave a weak chuckle and sat up slowly, giving Jean's hand a squeeze. "Thanks, Bunny. Sorry for, um, fainting." His attention turned to the new voice, "Oh, hello. I'm Jamie. Nice to meet you."

Jamie: Waitaminute. Bunny?! Bunny?! Prime whirled around, unable to stop himself, "Bunny?!"

Anna: Anna had opened her mouth to answer but Jamie's yelling cut her off. "Uh..."

Jean: Jean smiled. "That's Anna-" Oh, shit. She looked up at Jamie, at the other Jamie, then back to give him her best WTF look. So much for not freaking him out.

Jamie: The dupe's eyes went a little wide and he turned his head slowly to see his own face staring back at him. And he looked mad at himself. Uh oh. "Yes? Because of that one detective with the beautiful sidekick?"

Jamie: Prime's eye twitched, "Breathless. Her name was Breathless. And listen up, you're me. So, I pick the nicknames, got it?"

Jamie: "No! That's what Jean said too! It's not that! She has red hair!"

Jamie: "....Jessica Rabbit? Dude. DUDE."

Jamie: "That's it! That's the one!" The dupe turned to Jean, "That's it! Rabbit! That's why I thought Bunny sounded right!"

Jean: Jean sat back on her heels. This was like watching a tennis match.

Anna: Anna looked at Jean, "My brain hurts..."

Jean: "I know," she said, giving Anna a pat. "It takes some getting used to..."

Anna: "I would need to be drunk all the time..."

Jean: "I do own a dispensary..."

Anna: Anna considered this then nodded, "Yeah that'd work. High would work."

Jamie: Prime groaned and pinched the bridge of his nose again. "Guys. Can we just get moving, please? I'm getting a headache because of my own stupidity."

Jamie: The dupe frowned at him, but didn't say anything. If anyone was stupid, it was him, not him.

Anna: "Oh! Yeah! The dark place... anyone got a light?" Anna waved her not-on-fire-fire-stick.

Jean: "Yeah, we better... also..." She waved at the poor dead dupe, not wanting to hang out with two live Jamies and one dead Jamie much longer. Jean dragged herself to her feet and picked up Jamie's jacket.

Jean: After a moment, she handed it to Prime. "We don't need any more."

Jamie: Prime took it with a grimace, "Yeah, I get that... but, I'd rather have more mes to fight when we can." He stared at his jacket for a long moment, debating, then handed it back to Jean, with a glance down at her abdomen. "And you need to stay warm."

Jean: Jean's head cocked at his slightly bizarre response, but slid the jacket back on. It was warm, and comforting. She looked down at the dupe and held out her hand, wriggling her fingers. "Let's get out of here."

Jamie: The dupe's nose twitched, but he accepted her hand and stood. "If where we're going is anywhere like where he's been," Jamie nodded at the dead dupe, "then I don't think I wanna go."

Jamie: "Don't be such a baby. We gotta get out of here and I think that might be the only way. We've got a stick, we just need a light, like Anna said." Speaking of, "Jeannie, any chance you've got your lighter?"

Jean: Jean kept his hand, giving him an encouraging smile. Poor confused dupe Jamie was still cute, because he was Jamie. She felt terrible for his situation. Lighter... lighter. "Oh! Yeah!" Wait. "I mean... fire? Me? ... I would never?"

Jean: She let go of his hand to rummage around in the top of her boot, pulling out a skinny pink lighter. "...where did this come from?" Jean gave Jamie Prime a sheepish grin and handed it over.

Jamie: Prime rolled his eyes, but couldn't help a grin that spread across his face. "I love you, babe. Thanks." He tossed it to Anna, "Light 'er up, chief!"

Anna: "Woohoo! Fire!" Anna lit the torch up, "Let's go explore the horrible dark place..."

Jean: "Love you too!" She grinned back, then remembered the dupe. Shit. Jean gave him a side glance to gauge his reaction.

Jamie: Dupe was sulking. That was his reaction. He had known for a little while that he wasn't the ruler of her heart, but it still sucked.

Jamie: "Great! You... You hold onto that and keep it away from me, 'kay?" Prime gave Anna a nervous grin, then turned toward the darkness. "No time like the present, I guess..."

Jean: Jean sighed and held out her hand for his.

Anna: Anna nodded, "Want me to go first since I have the light?"

Jamie: The dupe gave her a wobbly smile and took the hand. At least she still wanted to touch him. That was something. Maybe there was hope for him, after all?

Jamie: Prime gave a short nod to Anna, "Sure thing. Just... Be careful? Don't trip or trip any traps."

Jean: His little sad smile gave Jean a sad and she squeezed his hand.

Anna: "I will be extra careful where I put my feet." Anna nodded and took the lead into the dark. At least two of the traps were neutralised... she sighed a little, glancing back at the dead dupe.

Jamie: Prime crouched by his dead body for a second and closed his eyes. That would hurt later. He opened them and removed the sweater to look at his face. "Sorry, man. I don't know which part of me you were, but... Sorry." He sat silent for a moment longer, covered his face back, then stood to follow Anna in. "C'mon, Jeannie."

Anna: "He was brave and kind..." Anna said softly, "I'm sorry you lost such a nice piece of yourself..."

Jamie: Jamie gave Anna a small smile, "Thanks. I'm glad you got to know him."

Jean: She, too, paused to look at the dupe again, leaning against her other Jamie's arm. Jean reached out to touch Jamie's back as he paid his respects to the dupe. Her strong, sweet Jamie. It made her heart ache. After a moment, they followed the others into the dark.

Jamie: Prime reached out and gave Jean's free hand a squeeze in the dark, wanting to give her strength and confirm that she was still safely behind them. "How far in were you before the shit hit the fan, Anna?"

Jamie: Dupe Jamie felt sick again, but put on as brave a face as he could muster and squeezed Jean's hand. He could do this.

Jean: It wasn't as weird as she once would have thought, to have a Jamie holding each hand. She could totally tell, with a side glance at the dupe, that he was trying to keep himself calm. Also, he hadn't made any overt attempts to jump Jamie Prime. Whew.

Anna: Anna shook her head, "Not really that far... it was hard to tell because he was carrying me and you've got longer legs...."

Jamie: "Okay, well, keep your eyes peeled, guys. If you weren't in very far, then there could be lots of traps starting soon." Jamie grimaced as he saw his eyeball stuck on a spike and quickly averted his gaze. Ew.

Anna: "This is about where we got to..." Anna didn't really want reminding of the eyeball and the bear trap but there was the evidence all over the floor...

Jean: Jean was debating letting go of Prime's hand to twine her fingers through his belt loops when she felt him recoil and looked up, in time to see something squishy, white and red in the flickering light. "Oh God!" She jumped, bumping the dupe, then slipped on the wet floor.

Jamie: "Ack!" Dupe Jamie flailed and slipped with her, landing in a puddle of...something. He looked down and screamed. Blood! It was blood!

Jamie: Prime whirled and gave Jean's hand a tug, keeping her as upright as he could and out of the mess of his blood on the floor. "Hey.. hey. It's alright. I'm here. I have both eyes. It's fine." He looked down at himself in the mess and snapped, "Shut up!"

Anna: Anna crouched by the dupe, keeping the fire held at a safe distance and took his hand, "It's okay. It's just dirt. It can't hurt you. Just breathe."

Jamie: "Blood! It's blood!" He squeezed her hands and looked into her eyes with his own wild ones, "I'm sitting in blood!"

Jean: Jean fell into Prime's arms and pressed herself against his chest, fighting with herself not to sob, or scream, or barf. She jolted when he yelled at the dupe. "Hey," she croaked. "He's scared! We all are! It's not his fault!"

Anna: "It can't hurt you." Anna reminded him, "It's just a liquid on the floor staining your clothes. That's all it is. Take a deep breath."

Jamie: "Bu...but it's my blood," he whisper-croaked. "That's what Jean said. I'm him. He's me. We're the same. So... this... is my blood."

Jamie: Prime gave Jean a squeeze, "Don't be scared. I'm here. It's all fine. We'll be alright." He kissed her forehead and refused to look at himself. What a mess this all was.

Anna: "But you're not hurt," Anna reminded him gently, "You're okay. Prime is okay. Take some deep breaths in through your nose, out through your mouth. You can do this."

Jean: Jean just nodded, listening to Anna's instructions to the dupe. Right, breathing. She should do that, too. After a moment, she calmed herself and pulled back with a sniffle, going up on her toes to give him a quick kiss. "I'm okay"

Jamie: Jamie nodded slowly, doing what Anna said. Deep breath in through his nose, out through his mouth. "I'm... I'm not hurt. Right."

Jamie: Prime gave Jean a tense smile, "We need to keep moving. Everybody okay to do that?" This time, he pointedly looked at himself on the floor. When he got a nod in response, he kissed Jean and turned back around to face where they needed to go.

Anna: "There you go," Anna gave the dupe a smile, "Up you get." She gave his hand a tug to help him to his feet.

Jean: Jean frowned at Prime and went back to the dupe to help Anna. When he was up, she hugged him tight. "You're okay. We're all okay. Okay?"

Jamie: The dupe clung to Jean and took another deep breath the way Anna had told him to. "Okay."

Jamie: Jamie rolled his shoulders and resisted the urge to smack himself. What part of him was he, anyway? The 'steal away your girlfriend by being adorable and needy' part?

Jean: Jean rubbed his back, avoiding his ass where he'd landed in the blood. She turned her head and kissed his cheek, then further to reach his lips. "Okay."

Jamie: And now she was kissing him. Jamie didn't resist anymore and pinched the bridge of his nose. "Can we just... go... please?"

Anna: Anna patted Jamie prime on the shoulder.

Jamie: "Thanks," he gave her a soft smile and kissed her again. That helped. So he kissed her again. Still helping. "I like this part of the adventure."

Jamie: "Yeah, I'll bet you do," Prime grumbled under his breath.

Jean: Jean giggled a little in the kiss, then pulled back at Prime's tart commentary. She bit her lip and gave him a grin, letting her hand slide down the dupe's arm to find his hand again. She gave Jamie Prime a little half shrug.

Jamie: Jamie Prime sighed and gestured the way forward with his whole arm, "Can we go now? I'd really like to get home."

Anna: Anna decided to set off again before there was more cranky from captain cranky pants.

Jamie: "Thank you, Anna. Yeesh."

Jamie: Dupe gave Jean a grin and squeezed her hand. He would win. She was proving that already.

Jean: Jean was watching Jamie Prime's back. Can't be jealous of himself. Yeah, right. She smiled to herself, then at the Jamie beside her.

Jamie: "Thanks for choosing me instead of him," the dupe leaned down to whisper in her ear. "I don't have to get rid of him after all."

Jean: She nearly missed a step, but recovered fast enough. Whaaaat. After the last few minutes, Jean knew which one would win that fight, but still. "He's still you!" she hissed. "Ever think that if you tried that, you might disappear too?"

Jean: She had no idea if that was really a thing, but it sounded good. Aaaand now she had another thing to be paranoid about.

Jamie: The dupe blinked at her, almost believing that. "Naaaaah." He gave her a grin and kept walking, taking a step onto a narrow platform that forced Jean behind him.

Jamie: "But we'll never know because I don't have to do th-" His words were cut short by a swinging lantern, knocking him in the stomach and backwards, forcing his head into Jean's face. He would have apologized if he weren't currently spouting blood from the spikes and also on fire.

Anna: Anna shrieked, narrowly avoiding the swinging thing and the wildly flailing dupe who was now on fire.

Jean: "Jesus fuck!" Jean fell into the wall, hands flying to her face. Her nose was on fire! She slid down the wall, unable to think beyond the pain.

Jamie: Dupe's eyes rolled back in his head and he made a high-pitched keening sound at the smell of his own flesh burning and his blood boiling.

Jamie: Prime jumped and did a running leap over his impaled self, thankful he wasn't feeling that pain, and scooped Jean into his arms, using the bottom of his shirt to try and staunch the blood dripping from her. "Jean! Jeannie, can you hear me? Are you okay?"

Jean: "J-Jamie?" She was dazed, and felt like her face was going to explode. Whatever he was doing hurt worse and she weakly grabbed his wrist. Then she realized she could hear him screaming. Her eyes tracked slowly and blurred. Jamie! "Nooo..." Which one was which?

Jamie: "I'm here. I'm here, babe. Shh, it's me." He tried to get her to look at him and not the scene behind him. He'd promised, dammit! "Jeannie... Baby, look at me." Fuck! Prime glanced over his shoulder at Anna and his dupe, "Can you do anything?" Jamie wasn't sure why he asked. He knew how he sounded when he died painfully and he was dying.

Anna: Anna did her best to pat out the flames on the dupe at least until it was too much for her own skin. "I think I'd be more use for Jean's nose..."

Jean: Jean looked back at Jamie as his words registered. This was her Jamie. "I told him I was gonna keep him alive..." Crying made her face hurt worse and she sniffed, choking on blood.

Jamie: "It's not your fault, Jean. There was no way to save him from that." He kissed the top of her head and gave her a sad smile, "Everything's going to be okay." Jamie stood and motioned to Anna, "Swap with me then... I can help him." How, without his powers, he wasn't sure. Short of killing him. Would that be considered suicide?

Anna: Anna nodded, going to Jean to look at her face, "Jean... I need to examine your nose... probably gonna hurt a bit..."

Jean: "Is'not," she slurred, yelping when his movement jostled her. Jean watched him go to the dupe, but she was seeing four of them sometimes. That... wasn't right. "Huh?" She heard her name and tried to focus on Anna.

Anna: Anna gave Jean a sympathetic look as she tilted her head gently from one side to the other then prodded around her nose trying not to hurt her too much.

Jamie: His nose twitched at the stench of his own flesh burned to a crisp, but he fought the retching he wanted to do as the dupe's eyes slid to look at him. "I'm so sorry. Fuck, I'm sorry." The dupe's breathing hitched and jerked and his body spasmed. Prime jumped a little, but knew this was the end, so reached down to grasp his hand. "You're not alone..."

Jamie: Prime stripped off his shirt and used it to put out the remaining small flames on his dupe, then balled it up and tucked it under his head. "Hey, man. Not sure if you can hear me right now, but thanks for taking care of Jean. Ya done good, kid."

Jean: Jean was crying, trying to avoid Anna's fingers and see what was going on. She scrambled to get over there. "Please... lemme go."

Anna: "I will... just let me do this one thing, please..." Anna wanted to feel even a little bit useful. "Hold still..."

Jean: She stopped moving and looked at Anna. "Imma lose him again..." Her eyes filled and the tears spilled down her cheeks, mixing with blood and snot.

Anna: "It's not your fault..." she felt the girl's nose again for a moment and then re-set it. Then she stuck her hand into her pocket and offered Jean her remaining tissues.

Jean: "Ow! FUCK!" That felt worse than when she'd been hit! It gave her a focus, though, and she fumbled the tissues from Anna's hand and crawled over to Jamie and ...Jamie.

Jean: She hadn't been able to see much, since all they had was the swinging torch that killed Jamie and Anna's little light. Once she was there, though, she choked. "Oh God..."

Jamie: Prime looked up, startled, "Jean... Jean, you really don't need to see this." The dupe gagged and choked on blood and his chest rattled with every shaking breath. "Jeannie, please... Anna? Little help?"

Anna: Anna moved up behind Jean and wrapped her arms around the other girl to try and pull her back and hug her at the same time.

Jean: "No! No... I do." She was uncoordinated, but determined, half dragging Anna with her until she could get to the dupe and grab his hand. "I'm so so s-sorry..."

Jamie: "Babe, it's not your fault..." Jamie looked at her for a moment, then put his attention back to the dupe. She was going to stay, and he needed to focus on the part of him that was dying. "Dude, I'm here. I'm sorry you had to feel this type of pain... It sucks, I know..." And then Jamie convulsed and was in pain, just like the dupe, who suddenly disappeared into him. "FUCK!"

Anna: Anna yelped at the disappearing dupe, "Jamie! Are you okay?"

Jean: The dupe vanished and Jean overbalanced again, barely catching herself, just in time for her powers - and their link - to return. "Fuck!" She felt like she was on fire, and then she was, lighting up the space. "God!"

Jamie: "AHH SHIT! PUTITOUT!" Jamie was extra thankful that absorbing an injured dupe cut the injuries in half, because he could barely function with the pain he was feeling now. He curled into a ball on the floor, but that didn't help, so he stretched out, but that didn't help either. "ARG! Fuck!"

Anna: Anna instinctively reached for Jamie to try and heal him. This was awful! Both of them were hurting so much and there was nothing she could do for them!

Jean: Jean could feel him again, but that was not a good thing right now. Shit! Sorry! Sorry! Myfiredoesntburn! She flopped onto her side, trying to focus enough to pull back the phoenix's flames.

Jean: ....if she could control the phoenix, she could get them all out of here! That gave her incentive to fight it in her head, although outwardly she curled up and whimpered.

Jamie: Jamie knew that. He knew that, but he couldn't focus enough to bring that thought to the front of his brain. He was burned and bleeding and wanted to die to stop the pain. He felt Anna's hand on him and he hissed in pain at the touch, "Kill me," he choked out.

Anna: Anna shook her head, squeezing her eyes shut because she didn't want to cry. "I can't do that...."

Jean: "Don't you fucking dare!" She wasn't sure which one of them she was talking to, but dammit! Please, Jamie... I can't do this without you... Jean sobbed, knowing that this time, if she lost him, this was it. "Noooo... nonono..."

Jamie: "Jeannie..." Jamie writhed, not wanting any part of him to touch any part of anything else because it hurt, but he wanted her. "I'm sorry."

Jean: "Don't you-" His apology registered just as the link cut. The physical pain was gone, except for her face, but it didn't matter now. "NO! GODDAMMIT NO!" She curled up, gagging on her own tears. Jamie was gone and she was in hell. Nononono... She just wanted to be with him now. She was done.

Anna: Anna was trying to keep ahold of her own emotions while Jean was melting down beside her. Then everything seemed to quieten for a moment before she felt a familiar and welcome sensation. Her healing turned back on. Instinct and natural reflex combined and she touched Jamie's skin before she even fully registered what had happened.

Jamie: Jamie's breathing slowed and his muscles relaxed as he stilled. He felt warm and comforted, like he was being wrapped in his mother's arms. Everything was going to be okay. And there was no more pain. Slowly, he sat up and looked at Anna, then down at himself. Dried blood covered his bare torso, but the cuts and burns were gone. Jean. He scrambled over to her and scooped her into his lap, "Shh. I'm here, Jeannie."

Jean: The phoenix was gone now, too, but the implications of that hadn't sunken in. Jean sobbed, her face pressed into the floor and throbbing in time with her heart, which stubbornly kept beating. She stiffened when she was jostled, but that wasn't Anna's voice. Confused, she opened her eyes and tried to get them to focus. Oh. Good. She was hallucinating.

Jamie: "Jeannie..." He reached up and cupped her cheek gently. "Babe, Anna healed me." Jamie's eyes shifted to look up at Anna and he smiled, "Thank you, Anna."

Anna: Unfortunately, when Anna reached to share the healing boon with Jean, she found it was turned off again. "You're welcome... the tap is turned off again now though... so be careful..."

Jean: Jean looked between the two of them. Wait, what? She frowned at herself, realizing her powers were gone, too. Oh. OH! She scrambled to right herself a little more, realizing he was bloody and... shirtless? But not bleeding. "Holy shit..."

Jamie: Jamie grinned at her reaction and gave her a super soft kiss, trying to not upset her injured nose any. "I'm okay! Anna's a miracle worker!" He turned the grin on Anna again, "Boy, your power would've come in super handy a few years back."

Anna: Anna nodded, "I'm sure... I was with MSF for a long time... busy healing the less fortunate..."

Jean: The grin and kiss melted her heart and she forgot about her throbbing face to cling to him. Finally. The right Jamie, and he was alive. Thank fuck.

Jamie: Jamie's grin broadened and he held her close. "I love you, Jeannie." He looked at the spot where his dupe had lain, then realized something, "Waitaminute... you slept with him?! Me... him...?! We're trapped in a murder maze!"

Anna: Nope! The nice moment was over. Anna didn't want to hear this.

Jean: She hummed happily, just enjoying feeling his heart beat. Until he ruined it. Jean raised her head and started to make a face. OW! Nope! "Uh... yeah? He's you! Of course I did!"

Jamie: "But... murder maze!" What the hell had gotten into him that he thought that would be appro... oh. Right. Memory loss. "I'm sorry I'm such a jerk sometimes."

Jean: "I thought you were dead!" She barely stopped herself from making the face this time. "Noooo, you're not." He totally was sometimes, but hey. "I wanted it," she said, shrugging one shoulder. "I wanted you."

Jamie: "Well... The whole me is better than just a part of me. Right?" He gave her a naughty grin, "Because I'm whole now..." Relatively speaking. Shut it.

Anna: "Noooo we're not doing that!" Anna decided she should make noise to remind them she was RIGHT. HERE.

Jean: "Absolutely, which is what I've always told you," she protested, realizing her voice sounded all nasal and awful. That grin though... Anna! She jerked to look at her and winced.

Jamie: Jamie's head jerked to Anna at the same time Jean's did. "Whaaat...?" He tried to be as innocent sounding as possible, but knew it probably didn't play.

Anna: Anna knew she was blushing horribly but she tried to keep her angry face on, "I don't want to see or think about any of that so can we get going now....?" she gestured down the hallway.

Jamie: He gave Anna a grin, "You don't want to think about Jean naked? Or is it me naked that's putting that color in your cheeks? I'm already halfway there. I don't mind an audience since I just died twice and nearly died a third time."

Anna: "No, thank you! I'm fine!" Oh Gooooood. Anna covered her face with her hands for a moment before turning to pick up the torch. She was going with or without them.

Jean: Jean stifled a snort, which hurt and made her flail a little. Dying made him feisty! Recovering her composure, sort of, she giggled and hugged him. "God I missed you."

Jamie: Jamie couldn't help but burst into laughter at her reaction, then had an armful of Jeannie again. His favorite thing! Jamie nuzzled her carefully and smiled against her skin. "I missed you too, babe. Let's follow Anna before she gets herself killed by tripping over her own two feet."

Jean: That sobered her up enough to pull back and start to get up. "Fuck, I wish I'd had my powers longer..."

Jamie: "Sorry, babe." He stood after she was out of his lap and took her hand, trotting carefully after Anna. "Wait up, woman!"

Anna: Anna slowed down for them but she didn't want to go too slow in case they got distracted canoodling again.

Jean: Jean was really paranoid about things coming out of the walls now, and stuck to Jamie's side once they caught up to Anna and her little light.

Jamie: "Maybe we should be watching for anything that looks out of place instead of just hoping to not run into anything," Jamie suggested. That was two dupes down with the traps in this weird tunnel-cave-labyrinth thing.

Anna: "I'm trying to..." Anna told them, "But everything's so smooth... it's like... nothing's there and then poof..."

Jean: She leaned more into him as they went, because she didn't feel great. Now she knew how that poor dupe felt when she dropped the wall on him.

Jamie: Jamie cuddled Jean into his side as best he could and still walk without tripping. "Love when traps appear out of nowhere... just... love it."

Anna: Anna sighed, moving the light around to see if it made the slightest bit of a difference.

Jean: "Love it," she agreed. "Loooove yoooou."

Jamie: Uh oh. That wasn't normal Jean speak. "Um. Jeannie? You okay?" She was starting to feel a bit heavy, so he hoisted her torso straighter, "Can you walk, babe? Do I need to carry you?"

Anna: Anna looked round at that and slowed to a stop, "What's the matter?"

Jean: "I'm walking. Right?" She looked down and she was standing up anyway, then she looked up at Jamie and ... had he gotten taller?

Jamie: "Yeah, but, um, you seem to be leaning more than walking..." He decided to pick her up anyway, scooping her into his arms bridal style. "I think Jean's got a concussion... Any field training to help with that?"

Anna: "Other than observation, not really... just keep an eye on her... Head injuries are tricky...."

Jamie: "Shit. Alright..." Jamie gave Jean a worried smile, then looked back up at Anna, "I'm ready to be back in that white room just so I can take care of her for a bit."

Anna: "She's going to be much better just having you there," Anna offered him a small smile.

Jean: "Life is tricky," she agreed, eeping when she was scooped up. "Hiiii," she smiled, looping her arms around his neck since now she could.

Jamie: Jamie laughed at her, "Hi, babe." He shook his head at how goofy she was right now. "Let's keep moving. Maybe the end is somewhere close and it opens up somewhere safe to check her out."

Anna: "Somewhere with a real light source would be awesome..." Anna sighed and turned to start walking again.

Jean: She knew she should be looking around for traps, but... her Jamie was here, and he was pretty. It was very distracting. "So much better," she replied to Anna, not realizing it was way too late.

Jamie: "No joke. I just hope we're not stuck in this dar-" Jamie winced as the dark suddenly disappeared and they were in flashing neon lights with arcade-type noises and steel balls rolling in clear tunnels on the walls. "What the fuck..."

Anna: "Gah! I'm blind!" Anna threw an arm across her eyes to protect them.

Jean: "Nope!" Jean hid her face against his neck, hitting her nose. "Ow! Fuuuuuuuck..." Without opening her eyes, since she could see the flashing plenty well through her lids, she freed a hand to gingerly poke at her face.

Jamie: Jamie tried to get her to stop by catching her hand in his mouth since his hands were holding her up. "S'op i'."

Jean: "Nuuuu..." Her wriggly fingers escaped his teeth and she felt around her nose, then up to her eyes, and her forehead, where it felt like someone was thwacking the inside of her sinuses with a hammer. "Oh God... I'm hiiiidiiiious!"

Jamie: "Are not. You're as beautiful and stunning as the day we first met. You're just a bit more colorful right now, is all." He tenderly kissed her forehead and gave her a smile. "Let's get somewhere safe...ish... to let you lie down, huh?" Where was Bobby when he needed insta-ice, dammit?

Anna: Anna lowered her arm once her eyes had adjusted as much as they were going to, "Please let there be an exit..."

Jean: The kiss was a bit painful and she realized that her squint wasn't really from squinting. Her eyes were swelling closed. "Colorful?!" Her lower lip popped out and her breath hitched.

Jamie: "I like color," he hastened to tell her, hoping his voice wasn't too panicky. "You're beautiful no matter what shade!"

Anna: "It's just bruising, it'll fade," Anna assured them both.

Jean: His voice was absolutely panicky. It went up when he was being a terrible liar and he was squeaking at her now. "Imma need a nose job now..."

Jamie: "Now that's not what I said at all!" He looked up at Anna and mouthed 'help!' Jamie wasn't sure how to make her believe him right now. This was a terrible situation! And it would get worse if they didn't find an exit soon.

Anna: "You'll be fine," Anna rolled her eyes, "I'll have another look at it when we get somewhere with proper lights and not all this," she gestured vaguely, "nonsense..."

Jamie: "This nonsense is giving me a headache and I'm healed now. So that's saying something." Jamie started moving forward, hoping it would lead them out.

Jean: "Nonsense," she repeated, resettling her head against the crook of his neck and trying to look around without moving. "...doesn't that say 'exit?'"

Jamie: "Where?!" Jamie whirled to stare at a sign that was definitely large, flashing neon that said 'EXIT.' Hallelujah! "We made it!"

Anna: Anna saw the sign too and eyed it warily, "What if it's another trap?"

Jean: "The squid said so..."

Jamie: "...oh." She had a point. Then Jean spoke and he craned his neck to try and look at her face, "Huh wha?"

Anna: Anna giggled, "Akbar had a point."

Jean: She giggled and tried to fend him off when his stubble prickled her hairline. "OMG mister hard boiled!"

Jamie: "Akbar? Really? I wouldn't call him a squid. More like an octopus. Too round for a squid." Getting off topic! "Wait! What if he wants us to think it's a trap, so we go the other way and walk right into a trap?"

Anna: Anna groaned, "I don't knooooow. My head hurts..." Why was she still holding torchy? She didn't need him anymore. She threw the jobless torch at the exit sign.

Jean: "Nooo," she said, trying to decide how to speak so that she didn't sound like her head was stuffed with old socks. "Too round for a hard boiled egg."

Jamie: "Jean... Take a nap?"

Jean: "But I'll diiiiieee. Duh."

Jamie: "I will never let you die on my watch. Promise."

Anna: "No, you won't... we'll keep an eye on you." Anna assured her, looking to see where torchy landed. He hadn't found a trap.

Jean: She sniffed, regretted it, choked, regretted that. Ow coughing hurt. "Nooo, you promised you wouldn't die..."

Jamie: Jamie winced at her words. She was right. "I didn't?" He looked in the direction Anna was and saw the torch under the sign. "I think it's safe? Maybe I should leave Jean with you and I'll check it out."

Anna: Anna nodded, "Okay..." She moved back over to them to help steady Jean when he put her down.

Jean: "You you didn't but the other yous did..." The rest of his words filtered through the haze and she struggled in his arms to look at him for a good death glare. "Like hell you are!"

Jamie: "How did I not see that coming?" He sighed and gave Anna a helpless look. "Feel free to stay here and watch us to make sure we don't die before you follow, if you want?"

Anna: "I think I'd rather we all go together...." Anna wrinkled her nose.

Jamie: "Then onward to glory, friends. Or something like that." Jamie pressed a gentle kiss onto Jean's angry brow. "I won't leave you behind."

Jean: "I am not letting you just leave me here to go off and die! Again!" She was on a roll, which stuttered to a stop at the look he was giving her. "Oh." Jean wriggled a little in his arms, since she had nowhere to hide. "...right. If we're gonna die we're gonna do it together."

Jamie: Jamie pulled his lips into his mouth to try and stop the smile wanting to form at her how adorable she got when she was embarrassed. "But we might not? So, let's do that together, too?" He gave Anna a helpless look again and headed towards the exit sign.

Jean: He was laughing at her, but she didn't care. "'Kay, that too..." She was feeling dizzy again now after all that, so she rested her head against him.

Anna: Anna fell into step beside them and braced herself for something horrible to happen.

Jamie: Jamie followed the way the neon flashing arrows pointed until he reached what looked like it should be the exit. "Um. It's a dead end..."

Jean: "Hmm? We're dead?" She snuggled into him. "That was easy..."

Jamie: "...no?" At least, he didn't think so?

Jean: "Mmm. Long as I don't outlive you again." Jean closed her eyes. So tired.

Anna: Anna frowned and put her hands on her hips, "Well that's just mean."

Jamie: Jamie agreed and slowly set Jean down on the ground, crouching beside her. "I'm not going anywhere without you, but I need my hands to check for hidden passages... Okay?"

Jean: She whined, flopping against the wall and regretting it when it jarred her head and made the crazy room spin. "Jus' don' leave me again..." Jean managed to catch his hand for a minute but lacked the strength to try to stop him.

Anna: Anna knelt beside Jean and wrapped her arms around her shoulders to offer some comfort.

Jamie: "Promise," he smiled at her and gave her hand a squeeze, then stood and started feeling around on the walls. After a few moments, he moved to the next, then the next. "Nothing... There's nothing. It's a true dead end... Fucking hell."

Jean: Jean leaned into Anna and curled up. "I fee' like shit," she complained.

Anna: "I know..." Anna stroked her hair, "Just close your eyes, it'll ease the pain in your head a little."

Jean: She did it, since forcing her eyes open hurt worse. It meant she couldn't see Jamie, but she could hear him moving around and swearing, so he was okay. "Dizzy," she said, in a tone of very serious business. Jean's stomach was doing weird things too, and she pressed her hand into it, scrunching into a ball.

Anna: "Just focus on your breathing, okay?" Anna advised, knowing there was a possibility she was feeling sick too.

Jamie: Jamie grumbled and came back to them, putting a hand on Jean's arm as he crouched and frowned at Anna. "We're stuck here."

Jean: Right. Breathing. Just like that poor dupe earlier. That definitely didn't help, but what did was hearing Jamie come back. At the touch, she unclenched her hand from her shin to take his. Stuck. "Uuugh, least we're t'gether?" She opened her eyes and gasped.

Jean: "What the fucking fuck! I'm blind!" It was white! Everything was white!

Tandy: Tandy shrieked and turned around at the voice then fell over at the sight of the three bloody strangers, "What the fucking shit?!"

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