Cracker on Fire
Universe: Battle the Universe
Word Count: very short
Summary: Jake's stupidity nearly kills him.
Notes: No context required for this one. Just Jake (aka Cracker Jack) has minor super strength--on par with Zambi's toughness, but he's a touch stronger. She's better trained, though, and he still would get easily wiped by, say, Martial Law. Jake isn't that powerful, he just THINKS he is.
Reggie never forgot the time Jake nearly died and REALIZED it.
Like any normal human being, Reggie knew that he was courting death every time he went out with Jake on his crazy night adventures. He couldn't NOT. Kevlar and skills be damned; every night, he ran with adrenaline in his ears, the constant knowledge that any second, one stray bullet would make Black Man an obituary. He wasn't no superhero. He was just some dumbass in a Kevlar vest with his pockets stuffed with homemade smoke bombs, and the only reason everyone else hadn't figured it out yet was because Jake made a brightly colored, superpowered distraction.
Jake never had a problem with plowing into the middle of danger, because he didn't have that normal human sense of self-preservation. And why would he? Bullets might penetrate his chest, but they never made it to his ribs. Getting hit across the face with a tire iron had as much force as the muscles he used to turn his head. Jake didn't have to worry about getting killed; he had to be worried about killing someone else by accident.
Except one time, some idiot in a gas-mask with a dumbass name like Pyroteknik set Jake on fire. Super-strength was good at protecting against force and impact. But it did absolutely NOTHING for fire.
Reggie had never heard Jake scream like that before. In a movie, "I'm burning! I'm burning!" would've sounded ridiculous, but coming out of Jake's mouth, with all that shock, terror, and delayed pain, it froze Reggie solid enough that Pyroteknik got away.
Jake was flailing uselessly, trying to outrun the flames. Dumb from panic, Reggie fished through his pockets for a moment, then had his brains come back, pulled off his coat, and tackled Jake to the ground.
"Stop, drop, and roll, you dumbass shit!" He bellowed. "STAY DOWN!"
Of course, Jake didn't--not that he paid attention to anything Reggie said even when he WASN'T on fire--but with all the panic-stricken wrestling and rolling around with the trenchcoat getting in the way, somehow the flames got out, and despite everything, Jake was fine. He'd lost a few inches off his ponytail, but otherwise...
Except that even after the flames were out, Jake's voice still had that high-pitched edge in it, and he just sat on the pavement, shaking and pale.
"Man. Black. I was on FIRE."
"You stupid motherfucker, of course you were! I've told you a hundred times, you can't RUN in point-blank like that! Are you crazy? What's wrong with you?"
"God. I was on FIRE."
"Man, I am going to have to start making portable fire extinguishers, you running around like that. Lord give me strength." Reggie rubbed his shoulder. "Christ man, I think you bruised something, if you dislocated my shoulder and your crankyass sister has to fix it..."
"Reggie." Jake's voice was pleading, like he wanted a candy bar. "Reggie. I was on FIRE."
The tone of voice finally worked its way into Reggie's head. He sat down next to Jake.
"You be fine, man. You be fine. Ain't nothing burned, right? You be fine..."
Jake's only response was a hitched breath and covering his face.
They sat in the alleyway for twenty minutes in silence, until Jake was ready to go. This entry was originally posted at http://lb-lee.dreamwidth.org/805835.html.