I Wish We Had More Time...
“Where do you think you’re going?!”
Kurt had walked back into his parents’ bedroom to find Jordan sitting on the edge of the bed trying desperately to tie her shoes without putting any pressure on her injured side. She had thrown on her uniform coat over her sweats and her hair was a black bramble, making her appearance decidedly un-hero like. At his statement she looked up from her task momentarily but continued with the endeavor.
“You know where… Please don’t make this harder than it already is…” Her voice still sounded like it was being dragged over a cheese grater. Having vomited mini-robots earlier that day had not helped.
He moved toward the bed and knelt in front of her, pulling her hands into his. She kept her head down, avoiding eye contact knowing she would crack if she looked into his eyes. He had known as soon as she saw the creatures tearing apart the city on the news; she would be rearing to go. It had barely been a few hours since he forced the nanites from her system and she’d awoken from her slumber to find the city in chaos. Her desire to go was spurned on even more strongly by the footage of her friends and teammates trying to ward off the monsters while protecting innocent citizens.
“Would you at least look at me?”
She raised her head and he could see her emerald eyes shining with unshed tears. He used his thumb to gently wipe away one that had managed to escape. She took a shaky breath inward, her lower lip trembling slightly.
“It’s not fair. I really wish we had more time.” He smiled back up at her as he bent to finish tying her shoes.
“Me too, love. Me too.”
She nodded then leaned down to kiss him, eyes squeezed shut as she tried to remember every detail. He pulled away first, standing abruptly, shocking her. Kurt reached a hand out to her, pulling her to her feet. He began hurriedly dragging her through the house, his decision made.
“No time to talk love. WE have a city to save.”
It was obvious they were close to the danger. All around them vehicles were at a standstill, most of them abandoned by their drivers in a moment of panic. Though the atmosphere outside the car was complete chaos, people fleeing in terror in every direction, inside the car there was a cloud of sorrow that permeated the air.
“This is as far you go.” She told him sadly. He lifted her hand, pressing a kiss to her wrist as he tried to make peace with what she was about to do.
Throughout the drive not a word had been spoken. They had driven through the broken city, hands entwined, eyes forward facing the inevitable. Kurt leaned over and kissed Jordan as deeply as he could muster knowing this might be the last time he would be able to do so. The kiss tasted salty to him and he couldn’t be sure if it was from his tears or hers. Abruptly, her lips vanished.
“I wish we had more time…” She whispered once more against his cheek and then she was gone.
He heard the car door close and knew she was headed straight towards the danger, willing to give everything to save her family. He kept his eyes closed, wallowing in his self-pity for a moment more. When he opened them again he knew what he had to.
He was NOT going to let Jordan sacrifice herself if he could help it. He jumped out of the car, moving in the same direction as she had. All around him people were fleeing, pushing in the opposite direction, knocking Kurt back a few steps for every one he took but he was determined to help his lover, no matter what!
He searched the crowd frantically but could find no sign of Jordan. It wasn’t possible! There was no way she could move that fast in her condition and she wouldn’t risk flying because she needed to spare her energy. He felt sick to his stomach. Something was wrong, terribly, terribly wrong. As he continued to spin in a circle, desperately searching for any indication of her whereabouts, Kurt spotted that telltale blue shimmer which had been haunting them for days now. He had found her.
Jordan tried her best to remain calm, even as the sea of nanites picked her up and deposited her roughly onto the roof. She rolled a few times across the gravel before she came to a stop, clutching her side but otherwise unharmed. She moved to her feet quickly, wanting to finish this confrontation face to face. CLU towered before her, an exoskeleton constructed completely of nanites adding several feet to his already 6-foot frame. The suit pulsed and glittered with a life all it’s own. None of that mattered to Jordan. What caught her attention was the figure struggling in his grasp, suspended several feet off the ground.
CLU had her sister by the neck, seconds away from crushing her throat if she showed even the slightest resistance. Her eyes pleaded with Jordan to save herself.
RUN! Her expression practically screamed it! But she knew it was for naught. Jordan would never walk away, she had already proven that and now Nona was in no position to stop her from doing something stupid.
“Let her go! You wanted me and now I’m here. There’s no reason to hurt anyone else.” Jordan took a step forward but stopped when he pulled Nona closer to him. All around her she could hear the sounds of his mechanical monsters destroying the city, terrorizing the people. “Why are you doing this?”
“Why?” CLU sneered at her. “And here I thought you were the smart one. I don’t just want you but you are the backbone of this dysfunctional little “family” aren’t you? I get rid of you and the other’s fall apart like a house of cards. Surrender and I’ll let her go.”
“I don’t believe you. I know you want to control us, sell us to the highest bidder. If I surrender you’ll just make me help you capture the others. I won’t let you use me to destroy my family!”
CLU wrinkled his nose in disgust at the realization that Jordan really considered these people as her family, would protect them with blood, hers if necessary. He was going to make sure it was necessary. He tightened his grasp on Nona, listening with satisfaction to her strangled response.
“Stop! Please stop…” Jordan knew begging made her look weak but she was getting nowhere trying to reason with him. Meanwhile both her sister and the city were running out of time. She needed a new approach. “Let’s make a deal?”
CLU raised an eyebrow in interest. This he had not expected but he was feeling quite confident in his plans at the moment so he decided to hear her out. He nodded lightly for her to continue and loosened his grip on Nona’s neck enough for her to draw a ragged breath.
“This is all about proving science is stronger than freaks like us. That you’re the better hero right?” He nodded smugly.
“None of you deserve what you have, I’ve witnessed that over and over in the intolerable months I spent with all of you. What is your offer Firebird? The clock is ticking…”
“Fight me.” Both CLU and Nona seemed stunned by the suggestion. “Fight me one on one. You win and I will surrender but only me. You don’t need the others; I’ll do whatever you want. You have my word.”
“What makes you think your word means anything to me?”
“Because you know us, you know me. And you know I would never go back on my word if it would endanger other people, especially those I care about.”
CLU looked her up and down, appraising her weakened condition. The bruises, the bandages peeking out of her shirt, and the way she favored her left side. He had no doubts he could take her but…
“If you win? How far are you willing to go stop me?”
Jordan stilled. He was testing her but it was a fair question. How far would she go to end this nightmare? “As far as I need to.” She answered him simply, not fully believing the statement herself. He sneered again as he considered her offer.
While he was distracted, Nona took the opportunity to increase her density, throwing CLU off balance and allowing her to break free! CLU tried without success to crush her underfoot but she was able to roll hurriedly toward Jordan who used her good arm to pull her sister into a kneeling position.
“What are you doing?!” Nona wheezed. “You can’t trust him to keep his word!”
“I don’t. But I trust you to obey my wishes,” she responded loudly enough for CLU to hear. Awareness dawned on Nona as she picked up the hidden message in her sister’s words.
“What do you want us to do?” She asked as her sister pulled her all the way to her feet, even as she firmly planted her own.
“Fight. Protect our family, the people of this city, now and after I’m gone.” Jordan was getting ready to fight as well, hopefully having a plan beyond sacrificing herself.
“Jay please don’t…” She didn’t get to finish as Jordan pulled her against her chest.
“I’m so sorry. I love you. Tell Taylor…” Jordan began but her eyes were focused on some point behind Nona. Her hands gripped Nona’s jacket tightly before she flung her across the rooftop! Nona landed with a thud in time to see her sister throw up a hasty firewall as CLU hit her full force with a spike made completely of nanites. He hadn’t even given them a chance to say goodbye!
“No!” She lunged for Jordan even as a pair of strong hands pulled her away. She spun her head around to find Vixen pulling her off the roof. “Taylor? What the hell are you doing here?!”
“Field trip finished early?” She shrugged, even as she continued pulling them away from Jordan. Nona resisted again.
“We can’t leave her!”
“She knows what she’s doing!” She grabbed Nona’s shoulders. “We have to trust her. She’s giving us the chance to regroup.” Nona stared at her, surprised by her sudden maturity.
“When did you become the voice of reason?” She quipped.
“I don’t know but I don’t like it! You can take over anytime you like.” Taylor made a disgusted face at her sudden burst of clarity. She glanced back at Jordan putting up a fierce defense and added, “Plus she’d be super-pissed if we got killed trying to protect her.”
Nona had to admit she had a point. As they neared the edge of the roof, they could see Jordan holding her own against CLU even as he edged her towards the opposite end. At the last second she took to the air and CLU followed on a platform of nanites. He was yelling at Jordan but they were too far away for her to hear what they were saying.