Jonothon Starsmore furnaceface
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Sixth Floor Safe Room, Friday Afternoon
To say that Jonothon was feeling a bit on the anxious side would probably be a gross understatement, today. More accurately, he'd done his best to draw all of his mental processes to a standstill, to keep from over-thinking what was about to happen, to keep from talking himself out of this.

With Jono, attempts to stop thinking rarely lasted long.

//This is going to work. This is going to work, and then...// He was grasping at straws. He had no idea, what then. But it all seemed worthwhile. //This is going to work.//

It was like a new mantra.

Raven gave Jono a reassuring smile. "It will work, I know it will," she said. "There has never been an injury I could not heal. But you must relax and trust me."

She was a tiny bit nervous about this as well but refused to let it show. Her words weren't a lie -- she'd never encountered anything she couldn't heal, but Jono's condition was very unusual and she'd never attempted to heal anything like it before.

"Even if it doesn't," Didi said, seeming utterly at peace as she leaned against a wall and reached to give Jono's hand one last squeeze, "everything will be okay. This is just ... something new to try."

She glanced to Raven and added, "But it will work."

//Right.// Jono looked down at Didi's hand, and then he squared his shoulders. Soon, he'd be able to steel himself with a deep breath, instead. That thought alone was nearly enough to make him dizzy. //Anyhow, what do I really have to lose?//

That was morbid, Jonothon.

"You have much to gain, Jono," Raven corrected him. She laid a gentle hand on his arm and projected a warm pulse of comfort. "Now, please, sit down. And you should remove or loosen your wrappings, from around your face at least." Or else it was going to be awfully uncomfortable when she reformed his face.

Sit down. That part was easy. There was the floor, and... Jono suspected that the comfort that he was feeling wasn't entirely his own, but he was thankful for it. It kept him from the usual unease that came from doing the rest of what Raven had asked of him.

That didn't stop him from wincing a little as he pulled his bandages down to hang loosely around his neck, letting the fire curl up to frame what remained of his face.

//I'm going to need to invest in more shirts.//

"I'll take you shopping," Didi promised, watching him with concerned eyes as she took a seat near him, but at enough of a distance that she was at no risk no matter what happened.

"Or," she added, going for levity, "you might decide to go shirtless for a couple weeks. Gotta make up for the Welcome Picnics you couldn't do it at, right?"

//Well, that wouldn't be drafty at all.//

After so long being on fire, it probably would be. But... It was tempting, all the same. Perhaps. He wasn't entirely certain how Raven's healing worked, and there'd been a tattoo on his chest that he'd been none too fond of.

Shirts probably couldn't hurt.

"I do not think there will be any complaints about that," Raven agreed teasingly. "But what I most wish to see when I am done is your smile."

She knelt down beside Jono, sitting back on her heels, then reached out to take his hands in hers. "Are you ready?" she said.

"Let me know if you need me to move," Didi said. She leaned to quickly kiss the top of Jono's head then retreated further from the pair. Her hand didn't leave her ankh, but that was the only way to see how apprehensive she was -- less over whether this worked or not, but more over what it would do to Jono if it didn't.

Jonothon's gaze followed Didi, a sort of silent plea that she not stray too far, but he only let that gaze linger for an instant. If he hesitated too long, he'd give himself more room for doubt, more time to talk himself out of this.

But this was what he wanted.

//I'm ready,// he firmly stated, eyebrows furrowed as he looked to Raven again. //Let's get this over with, shall we?//

Raven glanced over to Didi and smiled serenely. "You are fine right there," she said. "Your presence will not hamper my abilities at all, and I am glad to have you here." Didi should be the first to see Jono once she restored him, after all.

She looked back to Jono and squeezed his hands. "This will not hurt you, but it may feel strange," she said. She imagined that feeling your flesh knit itself could be a little disconcerting.

Letting go of Jono's hands, she leaned in to gently press her fingertips to the sides of his face, above the fire. She drew in a deep breath and closed her eyes.

The scars first, those were easy. The white lines vanished from Jono's face as she drew them into herself. For a moment, the scars criss-crossed her own cheeks, then vanished.

Now for the harder part.

It was... odd, feeling the numb, tight scar-tissue on his face shift and fade and vanish entirely, leaving healthy skin behind as though he'd never been burned. Jonothon's eyebrows furrowed slightly.

He was trying to hold on to that moment in his mind. Step one on the way to being whole again.

He couldn't imagine what the rest would feel like. He suspected that rebuilding muscle and bone, putting together a half a body that simply wasn't there would be something he'd be less willing to remember. But then, maybe he'd find himself surprised, yet.

All the same, he was closing his eyes. No, he couldn't see his own, face, wouldn't be able to watch what was happening to himself. But he wasn't in any terrible hurry to watch his own broken state of being twist and shift and play nightmare distortions over Raven's body, if taking away those injuries went at all the same way that taking away his scars had.

Jono couldn't see his face, but Didi could. She watched it build itself behind the still-present flames and smoke.

She'd seen his face before, in photographs and on a weekend when she wasn't herself. But seeing it now, and knowing it might stay, filled her with anticipation even as she kept one anxious eye on Raven's contortions.

Raven drew her hands slowly down Jono's face, mending the flesh under her finger tips. But all her work would be undone if she didn't remove the source of his disfigurement, so she reached out to pull the psionic fire into herself. She braced herself for it, though she still couldn't help but gasp at the sudden shock to her body. It hurt, but she did her best not to let it show, not wanting to panic Jono or Didi. The pain was the price every time she used her gifts to heal, and she paid it gladly.

She continued to draw the psionic energy into her own body, biting her lip hard enough to taste blood. The energy was what sustained Jono's life, so she had to take care to repair what it had taken from him quickly as she removed it. "Feel my life become your life," she whispered, sending her own living energies to replace what she took. His jaw and chin reformed beneath her hands, then his neck, even as her own flesh tore and healed, then tore and healed again.

She was shaking now from the effort and the pain, but she refused to stop. Her hands began to move down his chest, knitting the flesh together as she rebuilt the organs and bones and muscle beneath it.

Twisting. It was like everything that made Jonothon into Chamber was roiling inside of him, twisting out and away from him while other things, things that he hadn't known for ages now, took over from there.

He realized, dimly, that he was clenching his teeth.

There was a lump in his throat. He swallowed it.

And then, after what felt like a lifetime later, a deep, desperate gasp as his heart started to beat in his chest. And that was when he opened his eyes, pulling in gulps of air as though he'd spent the last year and a half drowning.

Really, that wasn't so far from the truth. Just... backwards, a little.

Raven had gasped in pain; that was enough to get Didi to lean forward, watching the empath carefully. Intellectually, she understood Raven's gift, but she'd never seen it pushed this way before.

And, especially, she'd never seen it pushed this way in a way that involved Jono.

She watched him grind his teeth, watched flesh emerge from fire, held back the Endless urge to shove Raven aside, the sudden realization this might be too big for the girl, too much -

And then there was Jono, a Jono with flames still coming from his chest but less now, almost unnoticable, almost gone as the flesh and bone that belonged there was replaced. And she could see his face. And Raven was shaking. She placed a palm on Raven's shoulder for comfort and tried to think of the perfect words.

The perfect words were nowhere.

"Hi," she said, suddenly shy but desperate to hear his voice. "How are you?"


No. Not that way. He didn't have to speak that way, now. Not while there was breath in his lungs. Not after all of that.

He licked his lips, silently marvelling at just that. Lips. A tongue. Breathing that was making its way from desperate to normal, as though he was falling into the embrace of an old friend. A heartbeat in his ears.

His heartbeat, he realized.

"I'm..." Voice. He paused for a moment to dwell on that. Voice. His own. Spoken from his lips, his throat, his words, his- Him. So very close to being whole that he could taste it. "I'm... fine."

Raven smiled despite how much she hurt, tears of both joy and pain rolling down her cheeks. She drew strength and comfort from Didi's touch and the sound of Jono's voice, and it spurred her on to finish. His body was whole again now, and all that remained was taking the last of the psionic energy.

Her own chest was burning beneath her clothes as she struggled to absorb and banish the energies that once consumed Jono. It was more difficult than she thought it would be -- the source of the energies was resisting her pull. It didn't seem to be a finite amount. That merely made her all the more determined to conquer it, though her own body was no more capable of containing the energies than Jono's had been.

Wisps of smoke rose from her chest, and she couldn't hold back a cry of pain, though she didn't falter. She was going to take it all into herself.

It was that cry that finally made Jono look, finally made him realize what Raven was trying to do, next. His hand was shooting upward to take her by the wrist before the rest of his mind caught up with the situation.

"You'd have as much luck," he said, his words rolling out of his mouth in a painfully careful near-whisper, "tryin' to change a lion into a tomcat."

Ridding Jonothon of his power would be a far more difficult task than simply pulling it all away. She would have to change what he was, as well.

"You'll just tear yerself apart, this way."

"Raven, don't," Didi added, more sharply than she meant to. She bit her lip and modulated her tone before speaking again. "I know this is what you do. But if it's hurting you ... "

If Raven couldn't hold the flames, then they had a girl on fire. A girl whose body hadn't gotten used to it, as Jono's had; a girl who didn't share the mutation that kept the fire from killing Jono.

"If it's hurting you that much, please stop," she finished softly. "Just stop. He'll be all right."

Their words snapped her out of her healing trance, though it took some effort for her to stop pulling at the energy. Her own body began healing itself as she disconnected, and the smoldering stopped. She was still shaking though; the pain would still take some time and rest to disperse.

But that didn't matter when she opened her eyes and looked down. A tired but delighted smile spread across her face. "Hello, Jono," she said.

"Hello, luv." His words were still soft, yes, but he was putting effort into speaking up at least a little. Had it really been so long? Exhaling and making noise, that was all it was. He just needed a little practise again.

It probably didn't help him focus on speaking much, when he felt Raven's pull on his power ebb, and he was suddenly focusing on keeping a wave of psionic energy in check. It was the same battle that he'd lived with every minute of the day since his powers had manifested, but with a considerable amount more practise to it now than he'd had when he'd blown his own bloody face off.

It was a familiar struggle. He'd manage it. It was easy enough at the moment, considering the amount of power that Raven had managed to pull, after all. Right now, it was barely an afterthought. It was easy.

And so he did what he was certain she'd been waiting for. It had been a long time coming, and for a moment it was almost as weak as his voice seemed to be. But it wasn't forced, it was there and real and his, just like the rest of it, and that knowledge alone made it broaden a bit.

Jonothon smiled.

"Thank you, Raven." The words were true and essential, but Didi's mind was elsewhere. She had seen Jono smile -- with his eyes, anyhow. He could say more with his eyes than a lot of people managed with faces, voices and thesauruses at their fingertips.

But it was never quite so easy as this smile. This one made Didi warm, even as she kept a concerned eye on Raven. She thought, As soon as I'm sure Raven is okay I am going to kiss him senseless.

"Hey," she answered, hands casual in her pockets. "You have nice teeth for a British guy. I didn't know that."

"How do you feel?" Raven asked, utterly ecstatic to see that smile. It was definitely worth all the pain. Her insides were still churning, but she barely felt it now.

Jonothon's smile had broadened a little more, now. Turned upward until his cheeks felt like they were going to break, and then he laughed.

How did he feel? How did he feel?

"Like somebody who has nice teeth for a British bloke," he replied, a little more confident in his own voice, still. "And whole. I feel whole."

It would occur to him to say thank you to Raven as well, in a moment. Right now, he was still riding some sort of near-lunatic high that came from really laughing, for once.

"You look whole," Didi said. She'd never even imagined his laugh, so hearing it was making her giggle a bit along, giddily. "You look ... really, really good."

She swallowed, tearing her eyes way from him. "Raven? How do you feel?"

"I am well," Raven said, looking up at Didi. "Tired. I will need rest to recover fully." She'd stopped shaking, but her insides were still burning as she struggled to expel the lingering effects of the healing. It had been the most difficult one she'd ever attempted, but she was pleased and proud of her success.

She looked back to Jono and could not help but add, "You should have listened to me long ago."

"Probably should have," Jono agreed, looking perhaps slightly abashed. He was getting the hang of this whole 'facial expressions' thing again fairly quickly, he thought. And that had him smiling again, slightly. "I suppose it took me that long to get so sick of speaking like-" //-this-// "-that I was willing to leap into it headfirst, so to speak."

He now had two voices. That was kind of novel, all on its own.

Raven leaned in to give him a hug. "No matter," she said, feeling almost giddy now. "You have your smile back, and that is what I have long wished to see."

She drew back then tried to stand, though her legs were wobbly and unsteady. "I suspect you two have much you wish to discuss," she said, though by "discuss" she meant "kissing." "And I should rest and recover my strength."

That was a hug. A safe hug, and he even took a moment to hold her as a friend against his chest- his chest!- hoping that the gesture could even begin to express his gratitude.

"Thank you," he said once she'd pulled away again. "I mean that. Thank you."

"You are welcome," Raven said, looking from him to Didi with a radiant smile. "I will speak to both of you later."

She was far too weak to teleport, so she walked slowly to the door. Pausing there, she looked back at them. "And Jono, do not forget to eat. Your stomach is empty," she said teasingly before heading down the hall to take the stairs down to her room on the floor below.

[NFI for locked Safe Room funtimes, and preplayed with the amazing trigons_child and the uncanny living_endless. Followed by this. OOC is made of pie and deliciousness!]