2019-09-18 - Meanwhile: Reconstitution


Priscilla helps Jimmy come back to himself.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Thu Sep 18 12:42:13 2019
Location: A hill miles from the fair grounds.

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Something had happened to Jimmy, when that directive had tried to make him attack Sarah. He'd gone from an almost-emotionless husk to shining with Jimmy-ness, fighting from within. Hulk took him and most of not-Thea's body clear of the area, to reduce the explosions' harm… but in the end, Jimmy didn't explode.

There he still lies, on the hilltop where the Hulk had left him. His glow continued to flash, and then began to struggle, flaring back and forth. No longer as halogen-steady as it had been when he was definitely Not Himself.

Now, that question is more up in the air. Especially while the portal is open, it seems to be feeding back into Jimmy, data streaming from the fairground. He twitches, he pops, snapping sounds audible from deep within. Even while he just groans, barely conscious, Priscilla can feel the pain screaming from his mind. That serves as a beacon for her to find him, even so far removed from the fair grounds.

As the portal closes, the connection goes with it. Jimmy slumps, his glow fading, and leaving him just gasping and whimpering with his own voice. The pain still throbs from him, but it's not as intense. The ends of his arms have, at least, stopped bleeding. As Priscilla reaches the hill, Jimmy begins to stir, letting out a groan.

Voodoo runs with incredible - nearly incredulous - speed. There are faster, out there, but with rare exception they are those whose sole power is speed itself. Her own advantage is sheer physical prowess. She sprints up the hill, following the beacon in her heart and mind … and then comes skidding to a halt, her feet shredding what is left of the grass upon the hilltop.

What she sees before her … beggars the mind. Clockwork, mixed with flesh, and all suffused, weakly, sutteringly, with the Light that is Jimmy's essence. Priscilla shakes her head, but there's no denying what she sees; only questioning what it may mean.

But to her, emotion is reality. To the empathic Voodoo, there is no higher Truth. And so she walks closer and kneels, her hands reaching out to touch the light-infused, flickering flesh, avoiding contact with the clockwork bits as best she can. She reaches beyond mere speech, despite knowing that her power often makes this painful: it should still be easier to think, than to get lungs to force air past trachea in all of this. « Jimmy? Jimmy, can you hear me? How can I help? »

As she watches, the living flesh rejects the clockwork. Much of it has already been overwritten by that re-conversion process, but now some of the innermost brass 'bones' and gears are being physically pushed out. She's spent a few days coughing up gears; Jimmy's doing similar now. That's a sizable part of why it hurts to much, why that agony still burns like red fire across her senses.

As he wakes, Jimmy twitches. He can't speak quite yet, not with how he's coughing as his body remakes itself in the correct image. Linking minds helps him, though it'll expose her more sharply to these less-than-pleasant sensations. «Pris? I'm sorry, God, I'm sorry.» His mind isn't in the best shape; now that he's all himself, some of those locked-away memories are coming back. With effort, he manages to actually answer her question. «Stay. Stay with me.» Little by little, he gets the strength to sit up there on the scorched grass… but as he tries to prop himself, he sees the state of his arms, and a new wave of shock washes over him.

« STAY WITH ME! » Voodoo compels, begging her friend not to retreat. It hurts; it is in fact agony. But there's a secret, one Priscilla has not shared with anyone: her specialty is surviving pain. The pain of others. The pain of herself. Her truest gift causes almost unimaginable pain to at least three entities at once, and she - the empath, bred to the bone - feels and suffers it all. She can stomach this. She can be the tether to keep Jimmy whole through this.

« You don't have to be sorry. It wasn't you, Jimmy. I knew that. Darcy knew it too. We're both safe. » Voodoo sends into his mind, as her hands keep contact, supporting and anchoring him. She would dampen his pain, but right now he needs it. The clockwork cannot feel pain; the reality of his pain is helping to make him - the real him - more real than the metallic lie. « I've got you. »

Though she doesn't damp the pain directly, those words of reassurance — knowing they understand, knowing they're safe — brings a splash of relief washing over him. Enough that he can struggle on, leaning into her. His eyes close, and he hunches in on himself. A few sharp coughs bring little bits of brass out of his lungs, and after that, he breathes easier. The light flickers — his light, not the machine — and then softens. When his eyes open, they're normal blue, not the blazing things. He's exhausted, skin shining with sweat, but the main battle is over. He manages to speak now, though haltingly. "Th-Thank you." His throat rasps; that'll take some healing too, as forcing metal out isn't a comfortable process.

Unfortunately, it seems Jimmy does not have the benefits of a healing factor nearly so strong as Priscilla's. Nevertheless, she believes he will heal. « Stop trying to talk, silly. You just spat out metal. » Pris sends. « The arms are going to take a while. But apparently it's what you needed to do, early in the fight, to save Sarah. Good job, by the way. »

Beyond that reassurance, Priscilla just stays with Jimmy. There is little need for more conversation right at the moment. He is alive, back to himself, and getting better. And he is not alone. If she could help him heal, she would. But this part will have to be all him; that's not a talent she has.

Jimmy's eyes draw downwards, to where his arms used to be. «I remember,» he sends. «God, I remember everything.» There's a flash of memory at the forefront there, of helplessness — paralysis, a clockwork creature wrapping him in a coccoon. He shakes his head and banishes it, as best he can. No, better to focus on the present for now. Even if he's in no shape to help in the battle at the fairgrounds.

And he is coming back to himself. Enough to give her a wry smile. «Sorry my hug's a bit lacking right now. Maybe the wings will help?» He transforms again, light shining, wings spreading… and ghostly images sprout from his shoulders, taking the form of his arms. His glowing eyes widen. «What the…» That's new. But the wings curve around her: not tangible, but a kind of ethereal warmth at her back.

Priscilla leans into the touch of the wings, and it helps her bullwark against the pain, easing the razor's edge of it. « This isn't how it worked for Sarah, or the other woman. I think this … this is your essence, mucking about. » Which is as close as the ill-educated young woman can get to explaining or processing what is happening. But she tries instinctually and grasps for truth even in the heart of confusion. « Sarah is safe. The other woman is safe. And Darcy is safe. Now … you just lie here, and heal. We can discuss the rest of this later. » After all, Pris doesn't even know how all of this began, or why. She did rather end up dropped in the middle of it all near the end.

Jimmy lets out a sigh, his strength steadily growing as she leans into him. That's two empaths for you: comfort feeds back into comfort, each bolstering the other. No wonder Priscilla likes hugs so much. «I honestly have no idea. This… I've never lost a limb before.» Would it always have responded like that? Or did the clockwork change kickstart something?

But she's right. They can discuss the rest later. Right now, they just need to recover. Jimmy needs to recover. Those memories creep around the edge of consciousness, like the monsters circling the edge of a campfire. He looks for something else to think about.

His eyes drop to Priscilla's lips. There's a moment of yearning, of hunger for a closer comfort.

After just a second or two, he tears his gaze away, looking off to the side. Even though he hadn't acted on anything, abashment still glows at his cheeks. Because she definitely heard that. "S-Sorry." He expects she knows what for. His throat doesn't sound as pained as it had before; even if it's slow going, he is healing.

Priscilla leans close and nuzzles Jimmy's cheek as she hugs him against her. « You'e nothing to be sorry for, Jimmy. I am well aware that you're attracted to me. Hells, almost no one fails to be. » She can be mighty blunt at times. « But I also know you're taken. You are with Darcy. » And he should know enough, feeling her as he feels him, that he knows she would never 'poach', doing harm to someone else by interfering with their relationship. It's just not who she is.

« Should I scoop you up and get you back to the SHIELD people? Take you to Darcy? » Of course, they could stay here. But Priscilla asks, and leaves the decision on his care up to Jimmy; she has no right to make that decision for him.

Jimmy sighs at the nuzzling, letting it relax him. «It's not the attraction I'm apologising for. Here you are, being as supportive and comforting as any friend can ask for, and then I almost try to make it something else. Something less.» To Jimmy's eyes, friendship is essential. The only reason you'd call a platonic relationship 'just friends' is if you also band together to fight for justice. (So, you know, actually somewhat relevant here.)

He looks down at himself, at his ghostly hands, at the mention of Darcy. «I need to talk with her, but… I can't exactly send a text like this, or drop in on her unannounced. Imagine the heart attack she'd have, seeing me in this state. I think I should go to SHIELD first; they'll know… what to do with me.» Darkness passes over Jimmy's thoughts; they may not be as forgiving as Priscilla. He honestly doesn't know. «Could you let Darcy know for me? And let her know I'll be at the Triskelion, on Governors Island? Either of you, just ask for Heavensent.»

Priscilla considers Jimmy and just chuckles, shaking her head. « You just felt me, my aura, for the first time in a week. Cravings are normal and natural, Jimmy. » She is apparently not worried about it whatsoever; then again, being Pris, she has to deal with others desires and lusts on a constant basis, so this is how she gets through her life. « Physical intimacy is a way to express and deepen emotional intimacy. The emotional intimacy is pulling you together, so of course a part of you longs to deepen it right now. »

Voodoo considers Jimmy, and his thoughts, and nods. « OK. I'll carry you to them, and then I'll call Darcy and go see her myself. » There is the feeling of amusement at his callsign, at least. She has not heard that before. He's always just been 'Jimmy'. « You know how to reach us both, when they'll let you. » That said, she shifts position and scoops her rams up and around him, lifting him up, and then she goes jogging back towards the SHIELD team. Jimmy will feel her reaching out now to Sarah. « Hey, Sarah? I have Jimmy. I'm bringing him in. Can you tell the nice sniper people not to shoot me, please? That stuff hurts, even if I will get better. »

The more they talk about the not-even-almost kiss, the more Jimmy blushes over the thought. And given their current connection, Priscilla knows all about those thoughts — and he knows it. Yes, it's more pleasant than thinking about that fight in the sewer which started all this, but that doesn't lessen his cheeks-burning embarrassment. Particularly not when he catches himself thinking about 'physical intimacy' between Priscilla and Darcy. No, no, bad thought, shake it off.

He goes quiet for a bit, then, to lean into her and let her carry him. His eyes linger on her face, probing. «You're more than an assassin, Priscilla.» The tone of his thoughts is slow and musing. As if it's not a pep talk, but simple observations which he's putting together as she hears them. «An assassin would just go in for the kill, for the violence. You? As soon as there was even a glimmer of hope that rescue was on the table, you went for it. While so many others focused on fighting the threat, you came after me, to care for the victim. You're a damn sight more than you give yourself credit for.»

Voodoo leaves Jimmy to his thoughts and feelings about herself, and Darcy, without continuing to push at him; he deserves his privacy, or at least respect for his thoughts and his feelings. It's the least she can do. She takes her jogging a bit more slowly, however, than she got here, so as to be much easier on her passenger.

« No one is just any one thing, Jimmy. » Voodoo offers, with a wry chuckle that's as much aloud as it is in her mind. « Given what that thing had already stood up to, I figured even my blade couldn't cut it, and I wasn't strong enough to break it. But I was the only one who could find you, who knew you were here. It was a practical division of labor. » And so much more, of course; Jimmy would feel a pale echo of a tremendous void of emptiness and loss and loneliness inside Priscilla, but it is one she is carefully not looking at, not making stronger or more poignant. « I am what I am, Jimmy. I have no illusions. » Just self-deprecation.

Jimmy's eyes stay trained on her face while he listens. And in the end, he sighs. A ghost-hand pokes the tip of her nose — just as ethereal, intangible, and warm as the wings around her. «When I have arms again — assuming I do — you are getting such a hug.» As for the thoughts he put in words, he leaves it at that… but while she carefully avoids looking at that particular branch of her emotions, Jimmy does the opposite. He focuses on that friendship, that affection, bringing it to the forefront to make sure she sees it. It's not going to banish her sense of loss, but he's still going to do his best to show that she has those who care for her.

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