2010-07-28: Up In Flames



Date: July 28, 2010


Don't ever say "Maybe it'll be your turn once" cause then it will happen.

"Up In Flames"

Taine's Apartment

Whenever she stays over at Taine's house, Erin can't help looking out the window from time to time, just to make sure there's no waiting vans out there. She never leaves alone, and she's always hesitant to go if there's someone out there. She'd intended to leave tonight, but she's seen a couple people loitering on the sidewalk below; call it paranoia, but she's since asked Taine if she can stay.

She's leaning on the wall next to the window, looking down on the young couple talking below. She just knows they're up to something! And yet, at the same time, she knows they're probably just a couple people waiting for a bus. Pulling the cord next to her, she closes the blinds with a dramatic snap, before turning back into Taine's living room.

Staying with him won't be so bad.

Smiling, she heads toward the kitchen, pulling open the fridge to look for something to eat. Nothing too heavy, since it's late, but something that'll satiate the hunger she always feels when she's nervous. Eventually, she pulls out a basket of strawberries, setting them on the stove while she goes to the cupboard for a glass for some ice water.

There's never a lot of food in the fridge. The curse of a bachelor's home. The strawberries had been exclusively for her, as they are intended for romantic snacking, rather than an actual meal. So is the wine. Wine isn't something he drinks recreationally on his own, but he also doesn't drink beer, either. Not often, at least.

American beer doesn't even smell good.

But there's a sound of something moving from deeper in the apartment, as he steps out of the bathroom. Not too long after she got over her fever, Taine began to get one of his own. "Are you sure I don't have a cold?" he asks, looking back at the bathroom, where a thermometer might give an answer that her super senses can't. Running a fever, but nothing shows up in his system that indicates a flu or cold.

Admittedly, Erin's ability has been really weird lately. She thinks it's back, but then whatever Taine has isn't showing up at all. "No. Nothing viral. Nothing…" She pauses for a moment. "…Bacterial." He likely knows about the new aspect of her power by now. Everyone's full of bacteria, but she's starting to learn to separate the beneficial ones from the bad ones. "I mean, I could be wrong? Look, if it's this bad tomorrow, I'll take you to a hospital." She does look worried, but she can't sense anything wrong…

"Maybe it's allergies." Allergies can cause a fever, right? She doesn't know. Reaching up to feel his forehead, Erin draws her hand back before she touches it, because she can feel the heat radiating off of him. "…maybe we should get you into a cold bath," she mutters. Or, maybe they should skip the romantic evening and go to the hospital now. Maybe she should call Janet. Hesitating for a moment, she places both her hands on Taine's arms and closes her eyes. He's so warm… But she maintains the contact as she searches for something that could be doing this to him.

"Could be allergies— and it is really hot this year," Taine admits, thinking of the record heatwave that the news keeps talking about. It could be worse, but it's pretty bad, even then. Maybe the heat's just gotten to him. "I'm Australian. This is supposed to be my winter," he jokes, but says so with some truth, leaning in to kiss her on the forehead. His face is warm, his lips are warm, but he doesn't have the same weakness often associated with the flu, or even most fevers.

Just the temperature, the flushed skin.

"What were you looking at out there?" he nods toward the window, perhaps having heard the dramatic snap. Or it could just be that the bathroom happened to have a clear view of her standing at the window looking out.

Erin nods, and takes a step back. "Nothing. It's gotta be allergies, or… Heat stroke or something. Are you seeing spots? Are you dizzy? If you see a bright light don't go toward it." It's an attempt at a joke as Taine kisses her forehead. The touch of his lips is almost uncomfortable.

Eventually, when he asks the question, she pulls away. For some reason, she's uncomfortable with the truth. She's looking at normal people at a normal bus stop, waiting for a normal bus. "Just an old demon named Jo," she says, leaning on the counter and going after one of the strawberries. "I mean, I'm sure she's not around. But I kinda feel unsafe out there, you know. At night."

"That only happens on TV— the bright light," Taine says, laughing a little, as if he finds that particular worry to be on the silly side. It's her worries that have most of his attention, as he looks toward the window. Is he seeing spots? Not really— But that doesn't mean he won't eventually.

"She's one of the ones who hurt you while you were with the Protocol?" he asks, frowning a bit. In many ways, it's not fair that she's been through so much. "It makes me so mad, that so much bad stuff happens to you. They didn't even really thank you for saving the world from a virus. Sure you killed a couple trees, but they tortured and nearly killed you." As he says this, he starts to move away, toward his blinds, still dramatically closed, arm brushing against the drapes.

"She's one of them," Erin says. They made their peace, in a way. But there will always be another waiting to take up the reins where Jo left off. The world is full of people who want to use people like her, even if they're hiding at the moment.

She picks out the best of the strawberries from the basket and totes them over to the sink so she can rinse off all the gross things, like pesticides and… Well, a whole bunch of bacteria that she can sense all over them. The first couple days she could sense them, it was really hard to eat anything at all, but after she started starving, she just sucked it up and ate her food, gross crawly things and all. She's still alive.

With the berries wrapped in a paper towel, she starts back over toward the window. "Don't worry about it too much. I mean, I'm sure something else'll come up." She chuckles, biting into one of the strawberries and tossing the stem toward the sink. She misses. "Maybe it'll be your turn once, huh?"

"It was my turn on set!" Taine insists, looking back at her as she mentions those cursed words. It's like saying 'what else could go wrong?' and then in the next few seconds of the movie— something else goes wrong, and the words are shamefully regretted. This would be one of those moments. While his arm brushes the drapes, there's a sudden hissing sound. Like something got dropped onto the stove by accident. The cloth blackens and then brightens like embers, before the drapes light up, fire rippling up the wall and toward the ceiling.

They have candles around the house, but none close to the drapes, none lit yet. The romantic evening hadn't started— and perhaps, now, never will.

There's a shocked sound as Taine moves away from the drapes, the initial instinct to get away overpowering everything else… except he's not really getting away. His sleeve seems to be on fire.

Yeah, you never really want to insinuate that something else could possibly going wrong, because that's the moment that something will go wrong.

The weird thing is, Erin was staring right at the curtains when they suddenly burst into flames, and she can't quite grasp how that would happen. No one's brain is programmed to assume the paranormal, even if they live it every single day. She'll tell herself later that she'd suspected for quite awhile.

Her arm comes over her face to shield it from the sudden heat and light, and she even takes a few steps back, as if to escape the sudden conflagration that's starting to consume the apartment. When everything finally registers - that there were no candles, that there was no way the curtains could have spontanously combusted, she has all of a quarter second to stare dumbfoundedly at her fiancee before she runs to the kitchen to grab that glass of icewater she'd gotten for herself earlier. "Hold— Hold still, just— " She'd intended to dump it on his sleeve but, being rather surprised herself, she just ends up throwing it all over him.

Skin reddens and even blisters in plain sight, on arms and hands and neck. Taine'd raised his hands up to shield his face, but even then there's a blister appearing on one of his cheeks, a burn that's fairly severe, and it seems to effect the fire a little, though not much. It spreads, rising up his arm and onto his back, setting his shirt on fire. For a moment, it does look like the strangest and most sudden case of house-fire of all. And… it seems more like spontaneous combustion

Until something seems to go wrong with his hand. It's like the hand changes, turning bright blue, with licks of yellow and red surrounding it like an veil. For a second, she can even see his eyes through the hand, an even brighter blue. As if his hand isn't quite solid. The heat in the room rises quite a bit. As he stumbles back away from her, more things catch on fire. The carpet, the floor, he falls down with a stumble as his legs seem to give out.

Stop drop and roll?

It doesn't do much good when you're the fire.

What's happening!? What's happening!?!? With everything going on at once, with the apartment catching fire around her, it's hard to put all the knowledge together to form one opinion. But as the coughs and shields herself from the heat of the fire - as it turns her skin red and sears the ends of her hair, she manages to choke out, "It's— hh. It's you, Taine, it's you!" Her voice is little more than a whine at this time. It's too hot for her to cry. The tears just dry up.

Taine would have told her to calm down, to try to will all this away. Erin is far more direct; when she sees his eyes, she knows, beyond any doubt she had before, that by some miracle - or curse - Taine has become like her. More like Tracy, really, as it seems that his very hand is made out of fire.

Her own fear has prompted her ability, but she doesn't try to fight it this time. Instead, she uses it. Directs it. "I'm so sorry," she mutters, but she doesn't even know if he'll hear her at this point. It's horrible, one of the worst things she can possible do to him. But if it causes him to lose consciousness and stop all this, she's done a good thing, right?

Not just his hand, but his legs, too, and it seems to be growing toward his inner body, even the bacteria that's constantly present in the body seeming to just vanish. Soon, there may not be enough of him left to infect…

But the woman acts fast, and his head is still intact, which gives something to infect quite strongly. There's panic in his eyes, barely visible through the haze of heated air, but the viruses are.

He'd not been sick before, but in a few moments she makes him sicker than he's probably been in his entire life. Even considering how much they've dated. But it doesn't mean Taine will blame her for that, as his body turns back, and his eyes roll up toward his hair. Even his clothes stop burning, a little.

But the floor doesn't. The drapes don't. The furnature. The fire continues around him, threatening him— threatening them both.

Erin steps toward him, but the fire… Her foot shuffles backward all on its own, and she stays there, looking utterly helpless for a moment. She's not going to let him be burned alive, though. She can't. He left her — she won't leave him. They barely knew each other back then. Now, they know each other better than anyone else ever will.

Whimpering, Erin takes another look at the fire. It has to be now. It has to be—


She can see him because of the disease tearing apart his body. Quickly, she clamps down on the replication so that the viruses don't kill him, as she pulls him up on her shoulders. He's heavy, but she barely notices as she drags him toward his apartment door. Her own energy reserves are nearly dead, but she doesn't need the hospital staff finding this strange mixture of Ebola and Yellow Fever in his system when they finally get him there. Hoping that the trauma will keep him unconscious for some time, she begins to destroy what she created.

Once they're away from the fire, she drops him near the door. She's gone as far as she can. Her legs feel like jello, and so she has to crawl toward the door before pulling it open. "Help?" she croaks, though the fire alarm that's already blaring in the hallway drowns out the sound of her plea. Thankfully, a couple of the people who are evacuating see her, and manage to drag her to safety. As she leans against the wall in the hallway, she watches as they go back for Taine. He'll be okay.

He has to be okay.

God, let him be okay.

The soft droning sound of machines can be heard in the room. Soft beeps that have a steady tone, the smallest movements seem to create sound. People might try to be quiet, but it's as if the floors and walls have other things in mind. The footsteps of the nurses remains audible, even with the soft shoes with wrapping that they all wear. There's bacteria and viruses everywhere, especially in the hospital. No matter how much they try to keep it clean…

But there's one person who can make this enviroment as stable as possible. And it's not the one laying in the bed, wrapped in bandages to cover up the burns on his neck, upper chest and arms. Oddly enough the burns on his hands seem less than they were originally, as if the partial transformation had sped up the healing process, but the burns remain even then. Including one on his cheek, covered by a bandage.

The beeping seems to change for a moment, and then the tone is set differently, as blue eyes blink open, a groan. His skin isn't warm or flushed, nor are his eyes glowing. And at least the bed doesn't set on fire, immediately. Perhaps whatever is going through his IV is helping with that. Painkillers, no doubt.

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