Green and Red Hourglasses
By: Tori Morris
Disclaimer: You're on crack if you think I own this. Warren Ellis owns 'em and so do DC, but if you did believe, Spider would highly approve, and hand you something stronger.
Extreme Spoiler Warning: Takes place between #45 and #46. IF YOU HAVE NOT YET READ 46 AND INTEND TO, DON'T READ THIS FIC.
Notes: Why not more Transmet fic? Well, I'm fixing that now. Channon POV I haven't read #47 yet although I've read some spoilers, so if I contradict, I'm very sorry. This concerns the four day gap between 45 and 46-what happened? Scenes in the last half come from Issue 46 and deal with Channon getting used to the idea of...wait, no spoilage here.
The last of the rain is tapering off outside. I can't see it, but I can here it. The rain was drowning out the noise in here, and but now that it's quieter, I can here the quick tap-taps of the keys as Yelena's fingers run over them, trying to finish quickly, but also keep to Spider's voice. The only light is from the broken window outside this back room, and I can hardly see.
And Spider is saying nothing. I'm afraid. I don't know enough about first aid to say what exactly is wrong, but it seems like he's drifted off into a coma. It has to be a coma. I've never seen him so still in his sleep. In the lack of light, it's almost like he and the pool table which is serving as a makeshift bed have melded together, becoming one giant monster, and the only thing that let's me know I'm imagining things is the rise and fall of his chest. I bite my lip in time to his breathing.
Time has stretched indefinitely to this moment, and I'm not all together sure what time it is now. It could have been hours, or even a day or two since we escaped the storm.
Yelena stops, and leans back in the chair with an exhausted sigh, sending off the column. "Not bad. 40 minutes." I blink at the sound of her voice.
"That's all?" I say, and wonder if my voice sounds as dry as it feels.
"Yeah." The rain pit pats slowly outside, and the silence uneasily stretches between us as we both watch Spider out of the corner of our eye.
"How is he?" Yelena asks, worried, forgetting that she's asked twice already.
"Not well. He's completely out of it." I repeat for the sake of the dance.
Yelena bites her lip too.
"I thought he would have come out of it by now." She confesses, and I shrug. She stands up and stretches, and then gives me a hand standing up. "Shit." She says, looking at him. "Where are we going to go?"
"We need to get him to a doctor." I say, bluntly stating the obvious, dancing around our masks of nonchalance.
"No shit. Where?" And I can't think of anywhere safe that we can get to. Yelena lights a cig and stands motionless, considering. "My dad's place. He owns a fucking mansion up City." She releases the smoke she was holding in her mouth, waiting for me to say something, to object.
"Ok. Let's do it."
In the cab, the sun begins to shine, and I shake off the melancholy haunting me from the bar. Spider's head rests in Yelena's lap, and she watches him, while I look out the window.
The cabbie dumps us off in front of Yelena's father's mansion as fast as possible, no explanation given. If Spider had been awake, instead of being dragged, prone in my arms as Yelena rang the doorbell, the cabbie might have regretted that, but between the three of us, we were in no mood to stop to yell at a cab driver.
I can't see the house behind me directly, because I'm dragging Spider. But from the corner of my eyes, I see a large white building, and I imagine that it's one of those faux classical style homes owned by the very elite. The fact that it has a driveway and a yard alone indicate the owner's more than your typical city dweller.
I manage to get Spider on the steps, and turned around, so we face the door, where Yelena is pounding on buttons. The vidscreen above Yelena's door crackles to life, and an elderly woman looks through. "We don't want any." She bristles, and hangs up. Yelena presses the button again, and I wonder where we'll go if this fails.
She pounds on the buttons once more. "It's me. Yelena. Open the fuck up. " She half begs, half growls. The vidscreen crackles once more and the elderly woman squints in alarm.
"So it is. You've brought guests, I see." And she sneers and the door flies open.
"Bastard door bot..." she mutters under her breath and takes Spider's feet. Together we lead him in and struggle through hallways, 'till we reach a large room that Yelena calls the guest room. We drop him on the bed, exhaustedly, and I lower myself to the floor, feeling the faux 20th century recreation carpet comfort me. Yelena falls back against a wall, and gently sliding down, lights a cigarette and then throws me the pack. I take one and we sit, smoking quietly for a while while the nicotine comforts us.
Slowly but surely, I feel better. "Let's find a doctor."
I absently watch vid-screens and smoke. 'Spider's' story is big news, and the channels that are slowly coming back online are a buzz with the implications about the President. Yelena pads into the room, carpet making a slight soft sound as she walks barefoot. She tips her current cigarette and the ash falls to the floor.
"He's big news again, huh?" No reference to the fact that she was the author of the column.
"They don't know we're here, right?" She asks. I wonder if Yelena is unwelcome here, and we'll be tossed out whenever her father returns. I shrug it aside, she's probably just being careful.
"Not a clue."
"Good." She responds, and finishes her cigarette, tossing it on the floor. I follow her lead and toss mine as well. We've gone through a whole pack in the last hour.
"Did you get a hold of a doctor?"
"Not yet. They're busy with the storm victims." She says, taking the remote and flipping through a few channels, to a porno. We watch and giggle in the appropriate parts, and every few minutes one of us checks on Spider.
It's late, and Yelena is snoring on the floor next to Spider's bed. I'm still absently flipping through channels, avoiding the rumors about Spider, and looking for decent entertainment, when I hear the door open slightly and voices murmuring. I stand up quietly and pull out my gun, just in case.
A large man slips through the door, the only light coming from the TV. He starts to walk over to the bed. I move out from the shadows, pointing my gun towards him
"Who the fuck are you, and what the fuck do you want?" I snarl, and he screams.
Yelena's eyes pop open from her spot by the bed and she pulls out her gun as a snap instinct. I see her relax.
"Hey daddy." She says, and throws her gun and yawns instead. Once she finishes, she glares at me, and I drop my weapon as well.
"I-um, sorry about there." I say, tucking the gun away as he breaths deeply from his chest. Yelena turns the lights on and rubs her face where the carpet left red marks. I take a good look at Yelena's dad. He's a littler taller than Yelena, but shorter than I am, with dark brown hair, and a bit of a roman nose. His eyes are blue like hers, and he reminds me of an unholy hellspawn of a mix between Spider and the President.
Yelena and her father hug, and I pang a little bit. Who has a family member they hug anymore these days? Certainly not me. And as I consider that, Yelena begins to tell her father everything.
I poke my stork eggs despondently while Yelena and her father ramble on like some terrible twentieth century television show, and I wonder when exactly I stepped through the time warp. Oh, and how to make my escape. That took up a big chunk of time.
The part of me paying attention to her and her father noted that he was a Mayor, and that they were catching up on the old times they'd missed over the last years. Right. I poked the stork embryos a little more and slowly lifted a head to my mouth. Right now, she's telling him about how she became Spider Jerusalem's assistant.
"And you, Channon, how did you meet him?" He's asking in the tone of a politician, slick, but not all the way polished. He still had some human qualities. As well as a freakish obsession for the decorating styles of the past.
"Mmm, I met Spider at the Angel 8 riots. In a strip bar." I add, and munch on an embryo head. This doesn't shake him and he nods.
"That was a fascinating report." He says neutrally. I nod. "I've followed his work since before he took that break." He explains, and carefully cuts his egg and embryos.
I contemplate suicide. How did Yelena stand this growing up?
A doctor finally comes, and tells us Spider's in a coma, and we nod. I wonder if he'll wake up. I don't know what Yelena thinks. He tells us he found something else-something he's not familiar with, and is sending a different doctor. I worry.
Yelena comes in the room, chugging a bottle of vodka and holding the cat.
"Hey, where'd you find her?" I said, smiling to see a touch of home. Yelena looked at me puzzled, and then looks at the bottle.
"I got this from the bar?" She says, questioning and holding up the bottle. . She's bombed already, I thought and sighed. How could she get wasted at a time like this?
On second thought, why wouldn't you get wasted at a time like this.
"I meant the cat." I said, taking the half full bottle out of her hand and chugging some. The cat leaps out of her arms and onto Spider's bed, curling up by his feat.
"Ooh...I didn't find her, she found me in the bar, and she just hopped into my lap," she said making elaborate gestures. "-And off we went. 'S funny how she can do that." Yelena said, as I finished the bottle in record time.
"Got any more?" I asked, already feeling it start to take effect.
Yelena opened her coat and handed me a new bottle. I cracked it open and started drinking.
I giggle, laughing as I walk over to the maker. "He's gonna need his glasses, you know, when he wakes up." I hear myself saying.
"Oh, what happnd to Mrss I-don't think he's going to be ok Schannon?" She slurs.
"I got drunk. Maker, I need a pair of glasses..."
Another doctor comes, and she pokes and prods him for a few minutes. Then she asks us about his symptoms, and we tell her about the headaches, the slight memory loss, and the nosebleeds. She asks us more information about what kind of drugs he took, and we tried to fill that out to the best of our abilities as well. She asked a lot of questions, did a lot of tests.
Then she asked about I-Pollen.
The cigarette trembled in my mouth a little bit, as I remembered every horrible factoid I had ever heard about Information Pollen. The number of people who had died in the mass pollination's before. The percentage of people who had remained alive, but not really, after.
"Why do you think she was asking about I-pollen?" I say, out loud. Yelena would know if he'd been exposed to it. She was there when I wasn't.
"I have no idea." She said, drinking a little and flipping through the vid channels.
"I..." I trailed off. Yelena looked at me and I stopped talking and slouched in my seat a little.
"Listen, it could still be something highly curable, you know?" She said, lighting another cigarette. "I'm sure she was just going through the formalities." Flip. Flip. Flip.
"Yeah." I said, unconvinced. Flip. Flip. Fl-
"Hey!" She said and pointed at the screen. "I had sex with someone who had those!" She talks about sexual implants. I think about incurable diseases, and denial. And the pounding headache left over from last night.
The doctor calls us in the morning. She tells us she's coming down and that she has a diagnosis. Yelena and I do not speak. We watch Spider instead. The cat pisses in a corner.
The doctor treats him for about an hour, running different equipment and tiny nanobots in his body. Yelena and I stand to the side. The cat doesn't move an inch from her spot. Finally, the doctor puts her equipment down and the nano's come out.
"Since the patient is not awake, I'm allowed to inform you two of his illness first. However, he'll be waking up in about half an hour." She said, and folded the nano packets into her mini comp. "Mr. Jerusalem is suffering from I-Pollen related cognition disease."
I bit my lip hard. I knew this wasn't going to be any good. Yelena whimpers a little and drops her head. Spider's eyelids flicker in faint movement, catching my eye.
"Is it serious?" She asks.
"It's degenerative." She answered in a calm, voice, with a glance towards Spider. I look at Yelena, who is still looking at her feet. Spider's finger twitched gently.
"Is it anything to do with his drug use? Could that have exacerbated it?" I ask.
Spider sits straight up and shouts. I jump out of my skin, and I see Yelena doing the same. Only the doctor remains unshocked. She jots notes down on her comp. The three of us breath hard in the still room, catching our breaths. Immediately, the scene shifts into a familiar existence, from the nether world of the last four days.
He asks the usual questions, after the nurse banters with him a bit. Yelena is the only one to find her voice and tell him where we are. Then he asks the doctor what is wrong with him and I tense up.
"I don't know if you should even be here." She says, looking at me and Yelena dubiously, as if she didn't already tell us. Maybe it was a game for Spider's comfort. I would have played along, had I been able to speak.
Spider lets us stay, and then she drops the I-Pollen Bombshell. I watch his reaction closely, not recording the other details correctly. I don't want to remember this later, when the doctor filled him in about the symptoms, each robbing him of exactly who he was. Then she tells him he has a year left.
I stand like a stone as he looks upward. I've never seen him look so despondent, and then I don't even want to look at him, but I can't stop. I think, 'Oh god, what if he starts crying?' I'd never be able to stand that.
Yelena says his name softly, and I envy her ability to comfort right then. And then Spider gets up, and asks for his computer.
Maybe, just maybe, things will be all right after all.
No. How could it? Spider's going to lose his mind in just a few short months.
His fucking mind. That was the only thing he owned most days and it had gotten him out of terrible jams before. It made connections about things that sometimes I couldn't even understand.
Yelena could, but I couldn't. And as Spider caught up on the world from Yelena, I thought about what life was going to be like in a year. Fuck. I really liked this job, most days. I liked being a 'filthy assistant'. Spider wasn't the best boss, but at least he didn't ask me to strip nude so he could throw his eyeballs on me.
"We secure here, Channon?" He asked, waking me back up to the real world. '"Yelena's dad's a cool guy." I forced out of my mouth. Well, he probably wouldn't betray us, at any rate. I tell him about the rest and then I handed him his new glasses.
And then he thanked me. I couldn't remember the last time he'd done that. If he'd ever done that.
"I hope I remember this. You know." He said, and I could feel that sweeping wave of despair rise up in me again. What would happen to us in a year?
"Aw shit, Spider..." I said.
He tried to comfort me, but I had to say it. "It's not fucking fair." I said, burying my face in my hand. This fucking sucks.
"C'mon, when's life ever been fair to us?" He asks me, and I wonder how the fuck he can possibly comfort me. How the fuck is he comforting himself? He's the one losing his mind. Not me.
"I know, I know..." I say, and then he turns, and triumphantly orders us around, just like the old days. Yelena grins like a Cheshire Cat, and I ask, "Spider...what're you going to do? You might not be able to write a year from now. Or anything." I protest.
He whips on his new shades and grins. "So we've got a deadline. We can do deadlines."
And then he storms out of the room, shouting for the bathroom. Me and Yelena look at each other, and she's still grinning. "We're gonna do this together, right?"
"Absolutely." I say. And she's right. Spider's right. He's got a year. We can't waste a second of it.