xp_erverse: (Magneto how's he work?)
[personal profile] xp_erverse posting in [community profile] xp_logs
Refusing to just sit around and mourn, Jean enlists Haller and Emma to join her as the Orpheus to Quentin's Eurydice.


Twenty-four hours later Jean hadn't slept. In fact, she wore the same clothing she had had on during her last encounter with the Shadow King. She stared at the jar of goo on her desk. She kept picturing Quentin's body melting away, replaced by this. In medical school, she'd seen the various states of decomposition. Fat broken down, becoming a goo-like substance. But this wasn't the same. It didn't have the same viscosity.

This was different. But that was one variable in a bigger puzzle. Because something kept bothering her. She'd had this feeling, every step of the way, and every step away she was right.

And this time, that feeling told her that Quentin was alive. He had to be. If the Shadow King survived without a body, so could Quentin.

In order to bring him back, however, it was good to have help. Which was why she'd texted Haller and Emma and asked them to join her down in her office. So she waited, patiently. Tried to anyway.

Jim arrived first. Unlike Jean he had showered and changed, but his entrance brought the smell of smoke. It was obvious he was buying his coping mechanisms by the pack.

"Hey. What's going on? Are you okay?" His eyes fell on the jar. He'd seen her collect it. He realized what was left of Quentin was on her desk, part memento mori, part paperweight.

"To whichever value of okay you would like to assign yourself," added Emma. "I think I'd prefer to know if you're coping?" The question was gently asked, as Emma slid into the seat opposite Jean.

It was hard not to pace but she managed to stop walking once they arrived and sat down in her office chair.

"I've asked you here because I'd like your help," she said. She studied them a moment, waiting for their reactions for what came next.

"I don't think Quentin's dead," she said. The jar of goo floated off the table and came to rest in her hands.

"This is not....normal. A human body shouldn't normally produce this substance. But we live in a house full not normal. I mean, yes, there are some human elements in the composition but it's entirely different. The psychic resonance..." She shook her head, letting out a breath.

"What I'm saying is--- I think...his body must've been unprepared for the Shadow King to use all of his power, unbridled and uncontrolled and the psionic energy must've...broken down his body. His mind could've--did what the Shadow King must've done before and somehow went to the Astral Plane," she said.

She realized she probably looked slightly unhinged. Didn't matter. What mattered was saving a life. She stared up at the two of them.

"So I'm going to go there and get him back," she said. She put the jar back on the table.

"I realize you might not believe me. Which is why I'm prepared to do it myself. But I'd appreciate the help for the search party."

Jim stared at the jar. This wasn't coming out of nowhere, strictly speaking; Marie-Ange created her constructs from ectoplasm, so there was a sort of relationship between unknown substances and psionics. The problem was he'd never heard of an otherwise normal body transmuting into the stuff.

Gingerly, Jim cast his mind towards the substance and prodded for any sign of consciousness. Of life. There was a . . . familiarity, of sorts, but it was to telepathy what a corpse was to the human eye. Empty. Inert.

"Are there any traces?" Jim asked, turning his eyes back to Jean. "Any trail we can follow?"

Jean was silent for a moment. "I don't...sense anything on the surface," she admitted. "But I know his mental signature very well. I suspect he's buried deep in the Astral Plane," she said. She shook her head.

"I got so wrapped up in the act of it but I realized...When he...did what he did...I...didn't feel...an ending. Like I've felt before. It was...there were too many emotions but--that wasn't one of them. It was more like....a burst, and like...a pull. If he doesn't know what he did, he might be discombobulated."

The counselor drew his hands down his face, considering. After a moment he turned to Emma.

"It's . . . not impossible," he ventured.

Emma gave the smallest of shrugs. "I've lived here long enough to know that nothing is impossible," she responded. "And if anyone's going to have the brute psychic strength to turn themselves into undead pinkish goo, it's probably Quire. But it's also the Shadow King and someone probably has to be Admiral Ackbar here and point out that it could be a trap."

Jean nodded. "I had my suspicions, especially since the Shadow King has a habit of not dying," she said.

"But I think Quentin's still alive. And I'm not going to leave him on the astral plane."

She stood up, shaking her head.

"I'd appreciate the help, but I'm willing to go alone. I'd rather have reinforcements, however."

Two potential futures flashed before Jim's eyes. One involved a long argument with Jean about probability and acceptance which ended in her going to the astral plane alone, with the likely event he and Emma would become involved in some degree anyway. The other involved agreeing and saving time for everyone.

Besides, she had been right before. And if it Quentin might still be out there . . .

"I'll help," he said after a minute. "But on top of everything else, there's no telling what Amanda's ritual might have done to the astral plane. If we have to go, we go."

Emma wore her most skeptical expression, but nodded in acquiescence. It was clear that she had gone through exactly the same sequence of thoughts as Haller. "If it is a trap, then best have a few options at your back," she said. "Though hopefully that," she waved a perfectly manicured finger at the jar of goo, "is not indicative of the state of the Plane. If I have to go traipsing through psychic goo, I may require a fainting couch and rather a large amount of champagne on our return."

Jean managed a faint smirk. It was the first time she'd smiled in what felt like days.

"I'll see what I can do," she said.

She stared at the jar for a moment, then back to the two of them. "I'd like to start tonight. I should probably get in a nap and eat first."

Now that she had a plan and some help she could finally relax a little.

"Thank you. It means a lot."

She had to do something for Quentin, as well as Haller and Emma after this was all over. She'd brought this on them, after all, by bringing Parker to the mansion. Even at their suggestion. She still had to figure out what they were going to do after they found Quentin, but...one step at a time.

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