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We'll Always Have Paris Archives
Starcross, Part IX
Character(s): Jack, Crandall, the Rat
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris: Endgame
Title of Post: Home Again?
Jack and Crandall had stepped out to the bar, sneaking out at night like in the old days when Cori sat watch. Now they sat, two old friends, nursing their beers like lost lovers.
"I just wanted to say that I'm really sorry about what you've been going through, Jack," Crandall said.
"All what?" Jack asked.
"This stuff with Val. It must be hard."
Jack crinkled his nose. "You know, it's confusing, but I feel like I hardly know her. It's the other Jack that was dating her. I guess most of what I feel is some sort of nervous regret. Like I passed a freeway exit that might or might not have had something wonderful there. Other than that... hard to say. I think everyone else is taking it worse than I am."
"Jack--well, you, I guess--inspires a lot of loyalty and caring, pal."
"Oh, like you don't?" Jack smiled embarassedly. "I can't tell you how glad I am that you're around here, Crandall. It's nice to have one good friend in a sea of str--"
"Thank you!" chirped the Rat, who had apparently also come out into the Starcross night. It crawled up Jack's leg and leapt onto the table.
"What is it, boy?" Jack asked. "Is Marty in trouble?"
The rat drew a large flat circle in the spilled beer. He gestured to it insistantly.
"Ataniel?" Jack asked. "Is that supposed to be Ataniel?"
The Rat nodded.
"I think he means to indicate that we should return to Ataniel," Crandall said.
"Yeah," Jack said. "But I don't think anyone's going to want to hear that plan..."
"For a group that's supposed to follow a rat," Crandall laughed, "you guys never listen to the poor guy."
"He seems insistant," Jack said. "It must be something big going on there."
"But the Remnant is here... the other Jack--"
"Is here," Jack said, staring into space.
"Here here?" Crandall asked, looking around. The Rat mimicked his staring.
Standing in the door of the tavern was a lean man, his clothes torn and battered, a tall armored woman barely supported by his shoulders.
Jack turned around and looked into the eyes of Jack Paris.
"Jack Paris, I presume," he said.
Jack--the one who had just entered--nodded. "But... you... what?"
"Jack, it's okay," Crandall said, leaping across the room to help the newcomer with his burden. "We're here. We're all here."
"Oh, no," Jack said. "You weren't supposed to..."
"Jack," Jack said, "let's get back to the mansion. We came here to get you, and if we have... we can head back home."
"Subset, right?" Jack asked.
"Flarking hell," Jack sighed.
"Come on," Crandall said, "let's get back before my eyes start crossing."
Character(s): Crandall, who can die a happy man
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: WAHP: Starcrossed
Title of Post: Hell Hath No Fury
"Really?" Jack laughed, a little nervously. "Khyrisse has got to keep that Oyster Totem in a safer place..."
Crandall didn't laugh.
The subset Jack didn't laugh.
Jack Paris stopped laughing.
"I'm sorry to have to be the one to tell you this, Jack," lied Crandall.
The mathematician looked to his subset for confirmation. "Um," said the subset, the answer obvious
on his face.
Jack's lips pressed even thinner than they usually were.
And if Crandall's undead heart sang a triumphant fugue of vengeance at the look that skimmed silently across the soft eyes of Jack Paris, the only sound the passersby heard were their three pairs of feet on the sidewalk back to the Mansion.
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