Things I Wish You Didn't Remember...
Nona should have reached the police station within minutes of dropping Taylor off at school. Instead she and Legend sat in silence while they inched a few feet at a time, caught in notorious Denver construction traffic. She hoped getting some distance from all the madness surrounding CLU would help the kid. She also hoped that by the time they went back to the house Jordan would be more herself and not the fragile soul they had left behind. Nona was ready to climb out of her skin when they finally reached the station, forty-five minutes later.
“Hello?” A hand snapped in front of her face. She jumped a little in her seat, alarming the speaker. “Hey, I didn’t mean to scare you! You were just out of it for a minute there…”
She turned her head to look into Legend’s concerned face. They were still sitting in his white SUV, just steps away from the front door to the precinct. Nona wanted to tell Legend to start the car and get them back to her sister ASAP. She had a nagging feeling she had been here before and that something terrible had happened. She also knew someone who could tell her.
“I’ve been here.” She stated bluntly. “When?”
“Nona, I don’t think…” Legend began but she cut him off.
“When was I here?”
“Three days ago, after you fought Jordan. She surrendered and you came here to stop her.”
“Then what?” He looked as if he was going to object again but thought better of it. He told her the truth; he could never lie to her.
“You were hurt…” He was stalling, trying not to state the obvious.
“I was shot.” This was another statement that she wasn’t quite sure how she knew. She rubbed her chest absentmindedly through her shirt as though she could still feel the bullets. Two shots to her sternum, one in her leg; she remembered the pain if not the actual events.
Legend, for his part, was beginning to think his gift was more of a curse. He had always been somewhat oblivious to the effects his “jumps” had on those around him. But over the past few days he had come to the painful realization that changing events didn’t erase the memories of those involved. It altered them, made things muddled but the pain remained. That Nona was able to remember her death tore into his heart. He went back to save her, hoping she would never have to experience that and yet, here she was, hand held to her chest as if it had just happened.
“And you died. This is where they brought your body and this is where Jordan and I jumped back from.” He finished quietly, scanning her face for a reaction.
“Thank you.” She finally stated with tears in her eyes. Legend was shocked by the response.
“For trying to save me, for being there for my sister… For being here now.” She wiped her eyes brusquely and sat up straight. Quickly slipping back into the controlled façade she kept up most of the time. “Let’s get this over with.”
She grabbed her uniform jacket from the backseat, sliding it on to cover the still healing burns on her arms and wrist. She usually wore street clothes under her jacket, today opting for just a graphic sweatshirt, jeans and chucks. Next she pulled a rebreather on, leaving the mask hanging around her neck. When she had first used her powers to save someone, a similar mask was all she had to protect her identity and the look had stuck. Unbuckling her seat belt she was surprised to see Legend doing the same.
“Where do you think you’re going?”
“With you! After everything I just told you did you honestly think I would be cool with you going in there alone? Isn’t that why you brought me?”
Nona wanted to yell at him, tell him how presumptuous he was to assume she couldn’t handle facing her mortality alone, to think she was weak. But the truth was, she had been feeling vulnerable ever since she found out about her death a few days prior. She was terrified that it would happen again. All the times she and Jordan had gone out patrolling, facing danger and violence at every turn, never once had she considered one of them might actually be killed. And now the threat of death confronted her at every turn. She reached across the vehicle to clasp Legend’s hand in her own.
“I know you want to help,” she stated with understanding. “But I need to go in there alone or she’s going to feel totally on the defense. You aren’t the most subtle person you know.” She joked with him.
“Really? What is not subtle about me?!” He sounded indignant at the suggestion.
“You’re right! What is not suspicious about my ex-con baby daddy with superpowers breaking into a police station?” She tempered her sarcasm with a smile, trying to break it gently to him that he was not going with her.
She scanned his face as he thought over what she’d said. He couldn’t go in there; part of him already knew that. But after being together the past few days he felt an overwhelming desire to protect her, their little family. He brought her hand to his lips, pressing a small kiss to the knuckles. She blushed, pulling away.
“I’ll be right here.” He released her hand and grabbed a small earpiece out of the cup holder, offering it to her. “So I can at least hear you if you need saving.” He stated the last part with a measure of sarcasm, teasing her as she had him. She took it and inserted it.
“I got you.” He gave her another small smile. She hopped out the car, and moved to a side door. She decreased the density of the door then punched through the lock with ease. Pulling her mask on, she looked around cautiously before slipping inside.
“Easy does it…”
Kurt gently eased Jordan into the cool tub of water, hoping to combat her fever. He had made sure the water didn’t come up too high on her back since her sutures were new and couldn’t get wet without risk of infection. He purposefully averted his eyes from her body, chastising himself for enjoying the feel of her warm, soft skin beneath his fingertips. He sat himself on the edge of the tub feet in the water allowing Jordan to rest her cheek on his knee, leaving her back free for him to lightly sponge. He moved expertly around her wounds, dabbing at any dried blood and checking for infection.
He dipped the cloth again and trailed it against her neck, then down her arm, skimming the small cuts there as he went. She sighed contentedly as he wet her hair in preparation for washing it. He noted the faint red marks intertwined with her recent wounds. They were scars from a house fire she was caught in as a child. Though barely visible now, they had once been quite prominent. That tragedy had been the impetus for her career choice as an adult.
“Does that feel okay, love?”
“Mmmhmmm…” Her eyes were closed as she nodded tiredly against his leg.
Kurt was still perplexed as to why she was healing so slowly. He had once treated her after a stabbing and she had been up and moving around within a few hours. She hadn’t even had a scar. Now it seemed that every time she made progress a few hours later she was weaker than before. Something was keeping her from getting better and he intended to find it. He grabbed a pitcher off the counter, filled with lukewarm water and rinsed the soap from her hair careful to keep it off her face and back.
He pressed his cheek to her forehead, relieved to find her temperature seemed close to her normal level of warmth. He shifted her against his arm and stepped out of the tub, pulling a towel off the rack as he did so. He gently wrapped the soft cotton around her as he knelt to pick her up. Carrying her to the other room he laid her on the bed as he went back to the bathroom to get a towel to dry her hair.
“Still with me love?” he was pleased when she murmured a little in response.
Kurt dried her hair lovingly before moving on with great difficulty to the rest of her. She murmured occasionally, making small sounds of pleasure when he lingered at a particular spot too long and whimpers of pain at others. Once she was dry, he slipped a pair of cashmere sweatpants over her legs before re-bandaging her ribs and back. Then he slipped the matching top over her head, carefully sliding her arms in.
Going by her house earlier that day he had retrieved a few personal items for her. Kurt had purchased the pajama set; it had been her go-to ensemble when she wasn’t feeling her best and he hoped the familiarity would help her get comfortable. Next he gently touched her throat, drawing a few groans of protest. Sliding a hand under her head he tilted her face towards him.
“Can you open your eyes for me?” No response. “Jordan, open them sweetheart.” With a short delay they finally flickered open, slowly and unfocused. The green orbs roved around the room before settling on him.
“Hi.” She croaked.
“Hi.” He smiled at her, running his thumb along her jaw. “Your fever’s down. You should probably eat something.” She shook her head almost imperceptibly.
“Not hungry.” She sighed before closing her eyes again. He pulled her into a seated position and this time she groaned loudly. He grabbed a cup off the nightstand and held the straw to her lips. Her eyes fluttered open as he forced the straw between her teeth.
“Just a little, love.” She obliged him by taking a short sip, then another. The cup was filled with warm chicken broth. Kurt hoped it would be both easy on her throat and fill her up some. A few more small sips and she weakly pushed the cup away. “That’s my girl.”
He helped her get settled towards the middle of the bed, turning her on her uninjured side and covering her with a soft blanket. He settled with his back against the headboard gently stroking her hair. He hadn’t realized how tired he was until he nodded off…
Kurt was in the dark living room of an apartment. There was a presence behind him. Before he could turn to look the unseen assailant slammed him into the countertop. He fell to the ground gasping for air and was shocked when he finally spotted the perpetrator.
He closed his eyes in disbelief and when he opened them again he was on an abandoned street as demolished vehicles flew all around him. Then he was flying, soaring backwards with no control until he connected with an unyielding force. Pain radiated all over his body!
He clenched his eyes shut unable to deal with the searing agony. What’s happening to me?! He forced his eyes open again to find himself back in his bedroom. He hurt all over as unseen hands wrapped him in bandages. He turned his head to the side to see his saviors only to stare into an all to familiar face… HIS!
“OH MY GOD!”
Kurt sprang upright in the bed, unconsciously patting himself all over, searching for injury! He deduced quickly enough that he was fine save for the busted lip and bruised knuckles from his scrap with Goliath, not to mention the jackhammer in his chest. Turning over in the bed he was relieved to find Jordan sleeping there, undisturbed by his outburst. Wait, Jordan? The realization struck him like a thunderbolt. It wasn’t a bad dream! He was reliving Jordan’s memories from the past few days.
Somehow their connection had been strong enough for him to see the past through her eyes. Remembering what he had just seen explained a lot about her injuries. The windshield of a car? No wonder her back was so torn up.She had tried to tell him before but he hadn’t understood. He lightly rubbed his own ribs remembering the punishing kick Nona had given them; he could still feel it.
As he mulled over his recent discovery, he thought he caught something out of the corner of his eye. He turned toward Jordan in time to see a slight shimmer of blue pass over her skin. It couldn’t be! But it was the only explanation.
Nothing shimmered the same shade of blue as nanites. They were in Jordan somehow, moving under her skin and he now knew, preventing her recovery. Clearly, there were more than a few uses for the pesky nano-bugs. He needed to test his theory. It seemed Jordan’s condition worsened only after she used her powers. That was it! He leaned over the bed, his mouth to her ear.
“Babe? Sweetheart, you awake?”
“No…” came the sleepy reply, although she did shift towards his voice.
“That’s okay, you don’t have to be awake. I just need to you to do me a little favor.”
“Tired…what favor?” She mumbled. She had yet to open her eyes.
“I need you to use your powers. Just a little flame, love?” He held her hand open at the palm. “Just right here, okay?” This garnered a moan of protest from her as she tried to pull her hand away. He held her firmly and asked again. “Please love?”
“No powers…” She grumbled some more but he felt her hand grow warm and then a tiny flame leapt out of her palm. Kurt stared at it, fascinated that she could exhibit such control even in her weakened state. He watched her closely for more signs of the nanites. Her flame flickered, then disappeared all together as she let out a painful moan!
“What’s wrong? What hurts?” He grabbed her face between his hands.
“Stomach…” she let out another pitiful moan. Kurt snatched the hem of her shirt up to check and saw what was causing her discomfort. Her stomach moved and glowed bright blue beneath the bandages!
“It’s gonna be okay baby, it’s gonna be okay…” He wrapped his arms around her trying to think of a solution. His experiment had worked. Jordan’s powers emanated from her core and spread outward which explained why the nanites swarmed there when she used them. She lurched in his arms as if she needed to vomit.
“You need to throw up?”
“Noooooo…” She kept moaning even as her body tried to complete the act. Why couldn’t she throw up?
“Suppression!” He yelled out loud, causing Jordan to flinch.
The nanites were suppressing her system, keeping her weak when she used her powers and suppressing the urge to vomit so they couldn’t be expelled! There was only one thing to do. He gathered her in his arms, racing to the bathroom. Leaning her over the tub he urged her to let it go.
“Come on baby, you can do it! You have to. This stuff is killing you!” He encouraged her but she kept her mouth clamped shut even as her body continued to lurch.
“I’m sorry. Forgive me…I didn’t want to do this…” He grabbed her jaw firmly and prepared to do something he had hoped never to do.
Once the expulsion began, Kurt clenched his eyes shut, unable to look at Jordan suffer through this painful ordeal. The sounds of her agony filled the bathroom, echoing off the walls and making Kurt pray he was right. If he was putting her through this for nothing he could never forgive himself.
Her entire body shook and convulsed, shuddering violently. It seemed to Kurt that it went on forever until she finally sagged against him, completely exhausted. Her head leaned heavily against his chest, her breathing ragged; passed out from the effort every few seconds she shuddered with aftershocks of the painful event, her stomach clenching unconsciously.
Kurt peeked into the tub cautiously, afraid of what he might find. There in the bottom of it was a mass of blue liquid, still undulating and writhing with life! He quickly grabbed a bottle of nail polish remover, unscrewed the top and threw it in the tub. Next his hand closed around the electric lighter his mother used for candles. Flicking the switch to high he tossed that in the tub too. The resulting flames shot straight up and singed the tile on the walls of the tub but remained contained.
When he peeked again, he was relieved to see the nanites reduced to a charred black mass with no discernible life. He turned his attention back to Jordan. She hadn’t moved, her breathing still ragged and shallow. He was worried he may have missed some nanites so he laid her head on a towel then poured water from a cup into her mouth as he held her head sideways. He was hoping to rinse any residual effects away. He was pleased to see the water staining the towel ran clear. Pulling her against his chest again, he could feel her normal warmth, her breathing began to even out and more color in her cheeks than he had seen in days.
He had to let Nona know what he had discovered; he had cracked the secret to Jordan’s recovery. Moving from the bathroom he deposited her softly on the bed, encouraged by the way she moved herself around to find a comfortable spot. He scrambled off the bed and grabbed his phone noting it had been nearly four hours since Nona had left. As he dialed, he kept one eye on Jordan looking for any more signs of the unwanted guests. Something told him that the danger to the team hadn’t passed and he needed to get Jordan on her feet, QUICKLY.