House of a Thousand Chases

Part 2

Long, long minutes later, Jack had finally gotten himself under control – not barring the occasional giggle-snort every time he took a bite of his red KA Pickle.

“…So, now that I’ve plotted the points in space and time—“

“Theoretically,” countered Chase, his tone sniping.  He still wasn’t over the pickle debacle.

Jack nodded.  “Right. Well, I’m going to load that data into the program for the device.  It will mathematically compensate for space as well as time.  Of course, I have to scan each of the alternates as well as you.”


“Well, you as the base comparison.  You’ll stand on a sensor plate and diagnostic devices will read your biosignature; your personal energy levels. I’ll tag that reading as the ‘alpha’ designation for the program to run against so it can keep everything nice and neat.  See, the Chases will match their respective realities; part of everyone’s biosignature is made up of a bit of the place they live because they’ve imprinted on it, or vice-versa.  Those Chases… mmmm… taste, for lack of a better word, like their realities, just as you ‘taste’ like yours, in so far as a scanner is concerned.  Once I have all of the biosignatures loaded into the computer, the device will begin searching through time and space for duplicates to match those signatures.”

“Which it should be able to do if you’ve done the math correctly,” drawled Chase as he caught on.

Another nod.  “Right.  The sensor plate stuff… that’s stand-alone of the project. I have that anyway, so the project doesn’t have to wait to be completed for that.  I’ll work on the programming while the bots finish splicing and dicing. All I need is for you seven to stand on the sensor plate, let the diagnostic scanner read all of you, and load it into the computer.”

“You’ll do the software construction while your robots handle the hardware construction.”

“You got it.  I’ve already done the sensitive stuff; the wiring and motherboard replacements and all that delicate finger work. The heavy, broad-piece stuff, the Jackbots can handle without a problem.”

Chase lifted an eyebrow.  “Then, you were correct: This really isn’t all that difficult for you.”

Jack snorted and finished his banayo sandwich before answering.  “I could practically do it in my sleep; don’t think I haven’t been tempted.”

The dragon-lord smirked.  “Yes, I had noticed the dark circles under your eyes. It’s almost as if you’re wearing that dreadful make-up again.”

The albino man scowled.  “I’ve been up for almost three days straight.  I had planned on taking a long, cozy nap when I got home from that business dinner party, but no-o-o-o-o-o… someone just had to go frigging around with transdimensional magic spells at the most inopportune time.”

“The instant Omi touched the Cube of Haniku, the very nature of the Shen-Gong-Wu set in motion the events that led up to the lot of us coming here. After all, is it not ironic that after all the times I pushed you away and called you inadequate, worthless, and a general waste of time that I come to you now, seeking your help?”

Jack flicked his fingers dismissively. “Okay, point for you.”

Chase was about to add something further when one of the Good-Chases walked in.

“Hello,” said the short-haired man dressed in homespun blue tunic and trousers.  He offered a polite bow and didn’t seem to take notice of the instant, bristling revulsion both men before him displayed. “How is the project progressing, Jack Spicer?”

“The project took a little break so I could re-fuel – if that’s alright,” said Jack snidely.

The good-natured man nodded and turned to go.

“Wait!” said Jack imperiously, and the man-in-blue turned back to face him.  “Where are the others?”

“My monk brethren went to the Xiaolin Temple to speak with the monks there, courtesy of your driver and mechanical conveyance.  The scarred one is watching something on a square box in the parlor; the warrior in battle-robes is performing tai chi in the west garden, and the, er, modern one among us is in the room that holds the rest of your mechanical conveyances, trying to figure out how to—“

Jack bolted past the man in a fast sprint; quickly enough that the short, silky black hair fanned out around the man’s head in the breeze of Jack’s passing.

“—start the vehicles,” finished the Chase of Jack’s reality with a huge smile.  Standing, he decided he wanted to see this bit of payback, and quit the room without acknowledging his Good doppelganger.

The good-natured man watched his evil counterpart go.  Then, sighing, he moved to begin tidying up the kitchen.


Hours later, after Jack and the civilian Chase had had a shouting match about respecting the sanctity of another man’s vehicles versus level of skill that made it okay to take one for a joyride, Jackbots had been sent out to retrieve the various Chases; informing them that Master Spicer needed to speak with them about the project.

The individual Chases made their way quickly towards the center of the house and congregated in the hallway leading to Jack's lab at the same time.

"Y' think it's finished?" asked the civilian Chase around his cigarette.  He’d needed one after discovering how fast a motorcycle that had been “souped up” by Jack Spicer could go.

"It had better be," growled the scar-faced Chase as he snatched the cigarette from his counterpart's mouth and crushed it.  "I'm tired of hanging around this dump!"

Rather than become offended, the indifferent-Chase simply shrugged and stuck his hands in the pockets of his jeans and walked among the others towards the door to the lab.

In short order, the seven Chases had assembled in the lab and were facing Jack.

"It's almost finished," Spicer said without preamble. "Well, the actual device is still being worked on—“ He waved his hand, indicating the Jackbots working on the large metal ring. “—but the program is all put together.  What I need from all of you is to stand on that pressure plate."

He pointed to a metal platform on the floor near the device.

"Your bioenergy signatures have to be scanned, analyzed, and processed, or you can't get home," he said, and paused for a jaw-cracking yawn.

"And once we're scanned in, then do we go home?" asked the scar-faced Chase coldly.

Jack shook his head and blinked.  He was so tired, and his eyelids felt like sandpaper scraping across his delicate eyeballs.

"No. The information has to be sorted and given an algorithm and a bunch of other mathematical and physics concepts that I'm not going to go into right now. It'll take several hours, so I'm just going to give it a full day and catch up on my rest so I won't make a mistake when it's time to send you home."

"If it is largely the work of the machine—“ asked the middle-aged, long-haired monk-Chase in gray and blue armor. "—then can you not simply let the machine do its job?"

Jack yawned again and stretched.  "If something goes wrong – not likely, but if it does – then I need to be there, fully awake and functioning, to counteract it," he said as he relaxed from the stretch.

"Spicer has spent nearly a full twenty-four hours working on this project non-stop," said the original Chase abruptly.  "And this on top of being awake for days taking care of other duties. It is not so much to allow him time for catching up on his rest, rather than risk losing yourselves in limbo by making him work through his fatigue."

The alternates looked amongst each other, silently conferring.  Eventually, the monk-Chases began nodding slowly.

"What you say is true, brother," said the short-haired monk in simple homespun clothes.  "Speaking for myself, there are a few errands I wish to accomplish before I leave."

The other alternates made noises of agreement, stating that they, too, had errands to run.

"Very well," said the Chase that belonged in Jack's world.  "Spicer will take his rest while the lot of you do whatever it is you need to do."

He turned, then, and looked at Jack.  "Go, Spicer, and do what you need to do. You are literally swaying on your feet."

"Pushy warlord," grumbled Jack, but he didn't argue. He walked past all of them without another word and disappeared upstairs.

The monk-Chases began to leave the lab, only to stop and turn to face the main computer as the scarred, evil-Chase walked forward with a determined air.

"Young!" snapped the evil and indifferent Chases.

"Brother!" called the monks, and they tensed for battle.

The scarred one ignored them all and touched a panel on the large dashboard of the mammoth computer.

Abruptly, the screen flashed to life with a message.


The scarred Chase gave a guttural snarl and called Spicer a vulgar name, once, twice, and again.

“Mind your tongue, if you please,” chided the middle-aged monk-warrior.

The angry warlord turned to face the forty-year-old mortal.  “I’m not about to take orders from a spineless creature like you who didn’t have the guts to take power when it was offered to you!”

“Oh, certainly – because you’ve done so very well for yourself since then,” replied the monk calmly, and traced a fingertip over his own face in a line mimicking the placement of the scar on the other man’s face.


The furious shout echoed through the room and the scarred dragon-lord froze just as he was about to leap at the monk-Chase.

The Chase that belonged in Jack’s reality stepped forward to command attention and glared at all of them when they gathered around him.

“This is precisely why Spicer’s help was necessary in the first place. He has proven he can send you all home. It is imperative that this happens, or we will destroy ourselves and the world if we remain together too much longer,” growled Chase.  “I realize that we are getting on each other’s nerves. Therefore, it makes more sense for us to simply get this over with so we can spread out for the remainder of your time in this dimension.”

Seeing that they were all in agreement despite their dislike of him and each other, Chase walked over to the pressure plate and stood on it with his arms at his sides.

Instantly, bright green lasers flicked on.  Three tiny nozzles on robotic arms lowered from the ceiling, shining the laser light over Chase from head to toe: One from the front and the other two at an angle to his right rear and left rear sides.  A moment later it was done, and the screen on the large computer monitor changed from its taunting message to say “Scan Complete.”

Chase stepped off the pressure plate and walked over to inspect the Jackbots’ construction work – amused at the way they all paused to salute him as he approached.

“At ease,” he murmured, and tucked his arms at the small of his back.

“Yes, sir,” they replied in unison and went back to work.

In very short order, the other six Chases had been scanned in and were dispersing.

“I’m going out for another ride since Jack was cool enough to okay my using his toys,” said the motorcyclist with a grin.  “Can I drop anyone somewhere?”

“We would like to return to the Xiaolin Temple,” said the middle-aged monk warrior, indicating himself and the two other Good-Chases.

“Cool,” said young mortal.  “Here’s hoping we all fit in the Lamborghini.”

The three Good-Chases exchanged concerned glances even as they followed their modern counterpart up the stairs and out of the lab.

The scarred Chase had already left the lab, so only the robed, villainous Chase remained.

He stepped up beside the “original” Chase and watched the Jackbots (who once again saluted) work on the transportation device.

“Have you thought about what I said earlier?” he inquired of his host calmly.

“I have no need to. I know my own mind – as well as my plans for Spicer.” A gently couched warning.

“Oh…? You actually have plans? Surprise, surprise,” the robed Chase replied with a catty smile.

Chase turned and walked away without another word.

“How rude,” said the alternate, and sighed.  “Now… What to do until departure time?”

A smile – wicked and calculating – slipped across his face.

A moment later, he teleported out of the lab.


Jack's skin was gilded with moonlight as it flooded through the windows in the young man's room that stretched from floor to ceiling.  The cool light of the full moon easily fell across the bed that held the sleeping genius, and because the covers had been mostly kicked aside, Jack's white skin glowed with a soft radiance that was as blinding as it was charming; giving him the look of some supernatural creature that found its way to Earth simply to take a nap.

The evil, battle-robed, alternate Chase stood by the bed, watching Jack for several long moments.  His first intentions had been to make sure his counterpart in this reality didn’t make the mistake of ignoring Spicer… but then, Jack had grinned at him and Chase had felt his body respond as though electrified.

Had felt that empty, echoing space where his soul used to be tremble and heat as if that long-missing piece of him could feel Jack's presence.

He looked at the broad, young shoulders.  Jack wasn't a soldier; didn't find himself in a physical fight nearly every day.  His was the build of someone who exercised and ate properly to keep themselves healthy, and it showed in the defined musculature, but those definitions weren't so acute as Chase's, or Guan's, or any of the monks.

Jack was long and lean; strong, yes, but with a wiry build that spoke of speed and mastery of evasion, rather than head-on confrontations.

Chase smiled slightly, a pained expression, as he thought of his Jack.  His own young albino genius had been that way; preferring to side-step or evade rather than face a fight head-on.

He winced as he recalled that last, disastrous fight they'd had; when he had accused the young man of being too cowardly to pull his head out of the sand and face reality head-on.

Jack had done so just to prove him wrong.

The look on Clay's face when he realized Jack wasn't going to dodge in time after he'd sent the stomp-wave of earth careening at the albino genius hadn't been nearly as horrified as Chase's had been.

Later, much later, after the last mourners had left the funeral to comfort the grieving Spicer family, Clay had given Chase one miserable look, choked out an apology, and run away before anyone could see him crying.

Chase had been too dead inside to give a damn.

And now... here was Jack, all over again; this young man almost a perfect match to his own lost protégé.

Chase wasn't certain he was strong enough to walk away from this young man.  He knew this Jack wasn't "his" – not in the way the other had been.  But he knew he could very easily pick up with this one where he'd left off with the other, and it wouldn't be the same, but it wouldn't be bad, either.

Why should I leave him behind? he asked himself, watching as Jack rolled over slowly to flop onto his back.  One hand, open and lax with sleep, curled and tucked against Jack's forehead while the other hand splayed limply atop the slender young chest.

Why should I leave him?  His Chase has no clue of Jack's value; has no true appreciation for this vibrant young man.  If he had, then there wouldn't be this rift between them now. No... There's no reason to leave him behind.  He could come with me; rule my world with me. And I will do all in my power to see to it that he never mourns the home he'd leave behind....

Jack sighed in his sleep and the hand on his chest slipped down, trailing in an unintentionally suggestive move towards his sheet-covered groin.

Chase shivered and arched, just a bit.  His mouth opened and he shivered again as he felt the tips of his fangs graze his bottom lip.

He made up his mind, then and there: Jack Spicer would be coming home with him.

Quickly, he stripped off his clothing and carefully climbed into bed with Jack; fitting himself alongside the younger man.

He knew just how he was going to persuade the beautiful genius into accompanying him back home.


Jack's sleeping patterns had changed over the last few years.

It used to be that he'd sleep and sleep and sleep, and then ever-so-sluggishly pull awake and stay in that hazy, dazy half-asleep mode until the first rush of caffeine hit his system.

Nowadays, he would transition instantly: From sleeping to awake in less than a second.

It happened when he felt something hot and moist approaching his neck. One moment, he was sound asleep; the next, he was wide awake and his hands slammed hard against the shoulders above him and he shoved, pushing the body atop his further away.

He narrowed his eyes angrily.  "What the hell are you doing?"

The dragon-lord perched above him smiled lazily.  "Easy, Jack... I'm not here to hurt you."

Jack sighed, but didn't relax.  "C-2... Are you screwin' around? Tryin' to punk me in my sleep?"

"I'm not a robot, Jack. Try calling me Chase – it is my name."

"No – my world's Chase is 'Chase'. I've gotta keep you guys apart in my head somehow."

"Why is that so important? The others all easily set themselves apart."

Jack looked up at the Chase still kneeling upwards, still straddling his body, and shook his head.  "It's important," he said quietly.

"Because you're afraid you might respond to me the way you would like to respond to him?"

Jack blinked, his eyes going wide.

Chase grinned and shook his head.  "We can all see it. Most of us know it, from personal experience, but the simple fact of the matter is, Jack, that you want Chase.  Sexually, romantically, intellectually... you want Chase Young. You want him to want you."

At that, Jack began struggling, trying to get out from under the dragon-lord pinning him down.

"Jack... Jack!" Chase easily fielded the strikes Jack lashed out with; caught the strong white wrists in his own hands and pressed them down to the bed and leaned until he could meet the younger man's gaze.  "Jack, listen to me! It's alright, Jack. I promise, it's alright."

Jack glared up at the evil man.  "How can it possibly be 'alright'? You just told me that my... my... admiration of Cha—my Chase is flaming obvious!  Which means that he doesn't..."

His voice trailed off and Jack slowly relaxed back against his mattress and closed his eyes.

"He doesn't want me."

"If he's anything like the rest of us, he's at the very least interested," said the Chase atop him kindly.  "But if he has willfully chosen to not take you while he can, then he's a fool.  An utter dunce."

At that, Jack's eyes snapped open, and he stared with frank incredulity at the man above him.

Chase grinned. Leaning down, he nuzzled his nose gently against Jack's, and then moved to begin ghosting feather-light kisses over the younger man's face.

"He's an idiot," the dragon-lord murmured.  "How can he not be, to pass up the chance to take you?  To have all that brilliance, all that beauty, all that admiration for himself until the end of time?"

Jack closed his eyes again and shivered at the feel of Chase's thin, warm lips stroking his skin.

"I'm not beautiful," he said with a small smile.  "Not like him.  I'm... a different kind of beautiful."

"And that is most excellent," replied Chase, and he shifted so he could lick a possessive stripe across Jack's throat. He enjoyed the arch-and-gasp that Spicer gave, and began nipping in between words.  "Contrast is important in a relationship, Jack – otherwise it's only masturbation."

Jack sputtered on laughter.  When he calmed down, he found that the alternate Chase had released his wrists; had twined his arms beneath him, and now their bodies were pressed together, warm and snug.  To make things more comfortable, Jack spread his legs, allowing Chase to drop down between them.

"Why are you doing this?" he asked quietly.  "Why not go home to your own—?” Suddenly, his eyes widened, and then he winced. “Oh. Oh, yeah… I forgot; sorry.”

Chase shook his head and buried his face in Jack's thick, red hair.  "My Jack Spicer is no more.  It happened so quickly... I had fully planned to take him and make him mine. He was very similar to you: Brains, beauty, and passion.  He admired me, as well.  There were a few differences, as there must be to make it an alternate reality from yours, but..."

"Then, I'm only a stand-in?"

Another head shake as Chase pulled back to meet Jack's gaze.  "No. I know who you are.  I know who he was.  No one will ever be able to take his place. I don't want to pretend with you. I do, however, want Jack Spicer. I think we would do very well together."

"Except for the part of you being in a different reality, and I've never been okay with the concept of long-distance dating," said Jack mildly.

Chase laughed.  "No, my sarcastic friend – I had thought to ask you to come with me."

Jack went completely still and couldn't tear his gaze from the older man.

Chase smiled understandingly.  "I realize it's a weighty invitation, Spicer. I know it's a 'big deal'. But I'm not making this gesture lightly.  I want you to come with me; live with me, be with me... forever.  I believe we will do well together."

The younger man made a strained noise and looked away.  "Oh, sure – that's as good an endorsement as I've ever heard: 'We'll do well together'."

"Would you rather I give you sweet lies?  I don't love you, Jack – at least, not yet. I barely know you. But... if you come home with me..." He dipped, and began kissing Jack's neck again, slow and sensuously.

"...What? We could learn to love each other?" muttered Jack, even as he tilted his head back to give Chase room.

"Is it so unfathomable a concept? So outside the range of consideration?"  Chase carefully, yet strongly, sucked a bruise to the surface of the white skin of Jack's throat, and purred roughly with satisfaction at seeing the mark when he moved to look at it.

Jack shivered.  "No... It isn't so strange.  Just... you're asking me to give up my home."

"And make a new one with me."


"I know it won't be easy, Jack.  In my world, your parents know you are dead and they mourn you.  If you were to show yourself to them, you would never have a moment's peace again.  Everything else is nearly the same in my world."

"Except that I'd have no finances or property to fall back on should you get tired of me and kick me out.  I would be stranded there—“

"I would not have made the offer if I didn't believe we'd have enough in common and enough not in common to make things interesting between us!"

"What in common? So far, what we have is an acknowledgement that I like the idea of having sex with you, and vice versa!"

Chase grinned.  Bracing himself up on his hands, he pressed his groin to Jack's, and then rubbed in a slow, deep, sliding stroke that caused the albino man to arch with a strangled shriek.  Strong hands, square and callused with blunt fingernails, clawed onto his shoulders; seeking support as Jack's body surged towards the pleasurable sensation.

"Would starting with sex be such a bad idea?  It will give us a connection to build on," murmured the dragon-lord, and he stroked again with his hips.  He shivered and fought the snarly growl that wanted to burst loose as he felt his spine heat up.  "I very much want to connect with you, Jack.  I want to reduce you to a panting, desperate wreck. I want to open you and get inside you and ride you until we both come hard enough to pass out."

Jack groaned and pulled on Chase's shoulders; seeking leverage so he could roll and flick his hips up to meet the other man's sliding, thrusting motion.  His skin was hot-hot, and he was hard and needy and he wanted to just have sex and come, already!


"If we do this, what does that mean?" he asked, and deliberately tilted and circled his hips in a small motion that made Chase hiss and buck against him.  "If I let you have sex with me now, am I agreeing to anything?"

Chase laughed darkly and bent down to kiss Jack deeply, hungrily, until Jack's lips were swollen and pink when the other man pulled away.

"Very intelligent question, Jack – excellent instincts," he growled approvingly.  "But, no: In this instance, this is just a bonus; a preview of what you can have with me if you agree."

Jack shuddered hard.  He wrapped his legs around Chase's hips, let his own do another slow roll, and when the older man stiffened against him and gave a guttural growl, he laughed wickedly and said, "Then, give me something to think about."

Chase dove in for another kiss. His arms went beneath Jack's torso to hold the younger man tightly against him, and he began to rock, to sway and thrust and stroke Jack's sensitive skin in very creative ways.

The bed became a sweltering sauna as they rutted against each other amid the blankets.  They gasped for air between hungry, desperate kisses, and their bodies never stopped moving.  The bed squeaked and shook beneath them with every wild, rocking, thrusting motion as they arched and surged together.  Bruises and welts were kissed and bitten and scratched onto Jack’s skin, and Jack wrapped his arms around Chase and hung on hard, hung on tight, and he was beginning to make frantic, ascending cries as he climbed towards orgasm—

—and then, Chase was gone; literally torn away from him and out of the bed.

Shocked and shaking, Jack looked around wildly, and was startled to see his maybe-lover lying in a crumpled heap on the other side of the bedroom.  The alternate Chase was already climbing up onto his feet, so Jack knew he wasn't hurt, but what startled the young albino genius was that the attacker was his Chase.

His world's Chase, who was poised in a stance that clearly placed him between his alternate self and Jack; settled in a stance that declared he would kill the other man before he would allow their fornication to continue.

There was no time for words.  The naked, alternate Chase launched a rushing attack.  The fully-clothed Chase didn't dodge, as that would have left Jack vulnerable to the attack. Instead, he met himself head-on and the two of them dissolved into a blurred, whirling mass of fists and feet and fury.

Jack managed to roll onto his side, and then up onto his knees.  He could barely think straight because his body was so locked on the need for orgasm.  Bracing himself on one hand, he reached down with the other and got a solid grip on his cock.  He moaned in lustful desperation and stroked, hard and fast. His hips moved in the instinctive rhythm of fucking, and in only a few strokes, he was coming hard.

Jack dropped down, buried his face in the bedding, and sobbed with relief as he came and came and came.

Wrung out, he wanted nothing more than to curl up and sleep, but he didn't dare – not with two fully enraged and dangerous fighting masters doing their level best to kill each other in his bedroom.

By now, the other Chases were arriving, crowding into the room, and they were attempting to get close to break up the fight, but they were forced to deflect blows that would have damaged them instead, and retreated back towards the door with frustrated expressions.

Abruptly, two bolts of brilliant green light lanced across the room, striking one combatant and then another.

No sound was made as the two fighters dropped to the ground instantly.  They sprawled, limp and inelegant, on the dark-dark blue carpeting; completely unconscious.

The other Chases looked to the source of the light.

Jack – still naked, gleaming with sweat and come and his cock half-hard – was kneeling on his bed and aiming a gun of some sort at the two bodies on the ground.

He looked pissed.

Slowly, carefully, the three "good" Chases edged forward towards their alternate selves.  When it became apparent that Jack wasn't going to continue the attack, they gathered up the unconscious warlords and departed the room quickly.

The indifferent Chase – the civilian – paused long enough to ask Jack, "You okay?"

Jack nodded, but said nothing. He knew that if he opened his mouth, he'd start ranting and he wouldn't stop until he lost his voice.

"Cool." The civilian Chase turned and left the room, already lighting up a cigarette.

The scar-faced evil Chase paused and gave Jack's body a slow perusal. Then, he smirked coldly, blew a lewd kiss to the young man, and left – shutting the door behind him.

Jack dropped the gun to the floor and began beating his pillows into shapeless lumps.


A few hours later, after the stunner had worn off, Chase and his doppelganger stood in Jack’s living room, several feet apart from each other. Jack stared at the two Chases and had the absurd feeling that he was the mediator of a playground fight.

"Chase... this world's Chase... I would really like an explanation for that tantrum you threw," Jack said calmly, if a bit coldly.

"Like as you will, Spicer," growled the warlord, "I won't tell you anything."

"There's nothing to tell!" snapped the alternate Chase, once again covered in his own clothes and armor. "Territorial imperative – that's all it was.  He doesn't want you, but he's not going to let anyone else poach on his 'turf'."

Jack's eyes narrowed.  "Oh, so now I'm 'turf'?"

The alternate Chase wasn't the slightest bit repentant.  With a beautiful, arrogantly charming grin, he replied, "You have always belonged to Chase Young in one way or another."

"Yes, he does," growled Jack's Chase, whirling to face his counterpart, "and that is why I interrupted your rude shenanigans last night! You—“

Jack suddenly started laughing and put his face in his hands.

"Oh, my God," he tittered, his shoulders shaking.  "You said 'shenanigans'."

When he looked up, Chase was scowling with sheer frustration at Jack, while the alternate Chase was smirking in a way that meant he didn't understand what was so funny, but he was finding his counterpart's predicament amusing.

Jack cleared his throat and waved the moment of hilarity away.  "Never mind. Look, Chase—“ He pointed at the one that belonged in his world. "—you can't just barge in like that.  No matter what you like to think, I don't belong to you.  You made it clear enough years ago that you despise me; hate my very existence. It's why I finally gave up and left you all alone to play your stupid little Shen-Gong-Wu games.  So, if I want to fuck a hot guy who just happens to look like you, big deal. Suck it up and get over it."

Chase was across the room in a flash. His hands went around Jack's biceps and gripped tightly. He shook the younger man once, twice, and then pulled Jack close against him until their faces were only inches apart.

"You are mine, Spicer," he snarled, very, very quietly.  "I have not invested all this time and patience in waiting for you to lose your childish sense of humor, your infantile way of thinking, only to let you go now.  I waited for you to grow up, Jack.  And you dare tell me no?"

Jack glared into angry gold eyes.  "And I was supposed to know that how? You never told me: 'Hey, Jack! Get over yourself, yo! Straighten up and fly right, and you can get with me all night!'"

Chase rolled his eyes and let go of Jack.  He crossed his arms over his chest to grip his own biceps and took a step back.

"One, I would never use such stupid slang.  Two, I couldn't make you a promise like that."

"If he had, you'd have grown up to be what you think he'd want, instead of growing up to be yourself," added the alternate Chase.  His expression was a little bit distant, a little bit sad as a memory played in his mind.  "My Jack had to be led down that same path."

"So? Weren't you at all worried that he would become an adult and decide that maybe he's wasting his time on you?" challenged Jack as he turned to face that warlord.

The original warlord stepped closer; fitted himself against Jack's back, and the younger man went rigid with tension.

"No, Jack," murmured Chase against one white ear.  "Despite the estrangement, I know you've kept track of me. I know you're as interested in me now as you were then. The only difference is that you finally have self-esteem; finally have pride that prevents you from openly showing it."

"No... No, I—“

The alternate Chase glared and came forward to catch hold of Jack's right arm and began tugging the albino man towards him.

"Don't listen to him, Spicer," snapped the alternate warlord.  "He'll say anything to keep you under his thumb."

Jack's Chase caught hold of the young genius' left arm and tugged.  "Oh, and you won't do the same to get your way?"

"The difference being is that I'm genuinely interested in Jack!  I have always seen his value and planned to make use of it! You yourself said—“

"What matters is that I have seen it!  I know what he is capable of; that he is a strong enough man in his own right that he is in no danger of being completely overwhelmed by me!  We will be stronger together, playing to each other's strengths and bolstering whatever weaknesses we have!"

"What a crock!" snarled the alternate.  "Why not say what you really mean, nuò fu?"

The host Chase paled with the force of his fury.  "Coward? You call me a coward?"

"If the shoe fits..." taunted the other warlord.

Jack shifted so that he was still between them when they both let go of him and made a motion to step into another fight.

"Whoa!  Hold it!" he bellowed, and crossed his hands in the "T" signal for "Time Out."

Both Chases backed away, glaring murderously at each other.

Jack raked his hands through his hair, messing up the thick, red pelt, and sighed roughly.  "Why did you call him a coward?"

"Because he will not admit why he doesn't want you to go," said the alternate Chase. His voice was frigid with disapproval.  "He is allowing his pride to get in the way – which is fine with me. It only proves that you are better off with me, and not this zhu tou."

Jack sighed even as he moved to intercept his world's Chase. With his hands pressed against the warlord's chest armor, Jack glanced over his shoulder and said, "I know he's pig-headed, but insulting him right now is not going to get this mess straightened out."

Alternate Chase simply shrugged and crossed his arms over his chest.

Jack turned back to face his own Chase, who was now looking at him.  The albino man swallowed and shivered to feel the intensity of the dragon-lord's regard settled entirely on him.

"Chase...? What's going on? Just... just tell me... please?" Jack asked softly.

Chase, looking into crimson eyes that haunted his dreams, sighed quietly and gave in. There had been, and would be again, times in his life when he'd denied Jack Spicer's demands for many different reasons.

Today, he would give Jack what the young man asked for.

"He is correct," said the warlord, and his voice was low and gravelly with the weight of his admission.  "Part of my protest is that my pride will be injured if you turn your back and walk away from me – especially for someone else, even if that someone else is a different 'me'."

Jack nodded silently in understanding.

"The rest of it... I want you, Jack Spicer.  That is the plain and simple truth of it. I noticed you when you were fifteen, going on sixteen; took notice of the fact that you were beginning to grow up in both mind and body.  But you were at a critical juncture of your life. Had you remained so closely in my domain, your full potential would never have been realized. I thought about it, long and hard. And, finally, I decided that I could only have you in an 'all or nothing' way. Either you would be completely my servant... or completely my partner."

Chase sighed and shook his head.  "I have servants.  I wanted a partner."

"So you... drove me away?  And I'd become an adult, only slightly influenced by my contact with you...." Jack mused aloud.

A nod.  "It was a risk.  After all, you might very well have decided that I was more trouble than you were willing to deal with. You might have fallen out of love with me—“

Jack flinched and took a step back, but Chase caught him and pulled him closer.

"No," said the dragon-lord quietly. "There is no harm in this, Jack. No shame. Stand and face the truth."

Jack's jaw clenched, his teeth grinding for a moment, and he looked away.  "I don't want to. What happens when I admit it and then it's used against me? I don't want that."

Chase deftly stroked the knuckles of his right hand along the line of Jack's left cheek.

"That won't happen. I want you to remain in love with me. I want all of you devoted to me," he said with a slow smile.

Jack closed his eyes. "What about... you?  What will you feel for me?"

"It will be different, perhaps, from yours.  Everything about me is done from darkness, Jack – that includes love.  Jealous fury, hatred for imagined slights, animalistic need to hold you down and take what I want from you... tempered by passionate pride in you for being mine, for being so brilliant, for being so beautiful."

Jack looked at the older man for a long moment.

Then, sighing, he shook his head slightly and stepped back.

"I can't... I need time to think," he said.  "This is all so sudden. I can't decide right now. I can't."

Both Chases nodded, even though Jack couldn't see the alternate dragon-lord behind him.

"You have until tomorrow, when the other Chase Youngs are sent back to their worlds," said Jack's Chase.  "You must give your answer then."

And with that, both Chases walked out of Jack's room; the two of them calm now that a choice had been presented and a decision would be made.

Jack walked – staggered, more like – over to his armchair-recliner and collapsed into it with a whooshing sigh.


The next day, the Good-Chases informed Jack that five of the visitors had consulted with each other and had decided on an extra day to give everyone time to meditate and to speak to whomever they needed to or wanted to before they left.

Faced with an extra 24 hours of “free time,” Jack kept himself sequestered and thought about the pros and cons of staying versus going.

When he arrived to breakfast the next day, it was obvious he hadn't slept well.

All of the Chases made it a point to not watch him overtly.  Everyone knew what was at stake, everyone knew Jack was under a tremendous amount of pressure; no one wanted to make it worse.

Breakfast was finished and the good-Chases helped do the kitchen clean-up.  Then, all belongings were gathered, and everyone assembled in Jack's workshop down in the basement.

The old time machine had been re-worked splendidly, and now sat gleaming dully beneath the overhead lights; power set to standby mode on the giant metal ring.

Jack pressed a button on the large computer bank that functioned as his work station.  The massive flatscreen lit up with a diagram.

"All of you were scanned at some point or another during the last few days, as you'll recall," he said.  "That's because each person carries a special biorhythm that matches them to their plane of existence. I won't bore you with the intricate and vast amounts of math and science entailed. All you need to know is that the machine is set and ready to go, and can easily locate your realities and send you back.  There is a tracking program in the computer that works with the transportation device to help lock onto your reality.  Once you step on that pressure plate in front of the machine, the scanners will read your biorhythm and you'll be matched to your reality. The tracking program will then let us know when you've arrived home safely."

All of the Chases nodded, but strangely, it was the indifferent one that stepped forward first.

"It's been real, kid, but I wanna get back to my own stompin' grounds," said the modern, mortal version of Chase Young, and behind him, the others all winced at his syntax.

Jack nodded.  "Stand on the plate."

The civilian Chase walked over to stand on the square pressure plate and set his feet into the impressions shaped like footprints.

A hum filled the air.  Immediately, the activation and tracking program flashed onto the screen.  A slowly circling wheel that represented the waiting machine hung in the upper left corner.  Various data graphs and schematics took up the rest of the screen.  In the middle was a Chase-shaped silhouette wearing the clothing the man standing on the pressure plate wore.

Abruptly, the graphs stopped moving, locked on a point graph, and the icon in the upper left hand corner suddenly glowed red in the middle at the same time the machine itself formed a bright, sizzling red energy field in the middle of itself.

"Your reality is found; the tracking program has a lock on that dimension as well as you.  Walk through and you're gone," said Jack.

The civilian Chase nodded once.  He looked back over his shoulder and flashed a sloppy, sideways "peace" sign at his counterparts, and received nods in return.

Then, bravely, the man walked forward off the pressure plate, up onto the low platform that held the portal device, and walked through the red screen – vanishing instantly.

Everyone looked to the flatscreen monitor.  The Chase-shaped silhouette faded into several pixelated dots until it was gone completely.  The graphs reset themselves back to zero and the icon went back to standby mode while a small green square flashed into the middle of the screen where the silhouette had been.

"He made it," said Jack.  "Who's next?"

The scar-faced wicked Chase stepped forward immediately onto the pressure plate.  He never said a word or made a gesture. As soon as he heard Jack's "Link established," he walked forward and disappeared.

The green square appeared only a few moments later.

Swiftly, the good-Chases took their leave, bowing their thanks to Jack for all of his help.  In the space of six minutes, all three of them were shipped off home safely to their respective realities.

Leaving only Jack, his world's Chase, and the alternate Chase.

"So..." he said, and scratched slowly at the back of his head.  His sweatshirt rode up a bit, exposing the smooth flesh of his belly.

"What is your decision, Spicer?" asked that world's Chase quietly.

Jack paced in front of his computer for several moments.

Finally, he stopped and turned to face them both.

"I'm... I'm staying," he said, in a rush.  He watched a look of subtle relief fill the gold eyes of his world's Chase, while the alternate Chase's face tightened with anger and regret.  "I'm sorry – I know you wanted me to go, but this is my home. This is where my life is.  Whether he keeps me or not... this is where this Jack Spicer belongs. I know I've disappointed you, but... you asked me to make a choice. This is it. I'm staying."

Chase moved a few steps away from his alternate counterpart.  He saw Jack tense, but he kept his distance, knowing the young man was twitchy with nerves, and smiled.

"I plan to keep you," he said firmly.  "I want no one else except you, Jack."

Red eyes looked with grateful, eager adoration to the warlord – but subtly; with a calm, adult mannerism that pleased Chase to no end.

The alternate Chase sighed and slowly nodded.  "You are certain?"

"Yes," said Jack quietly.  And that was it: No explanation, no justification. He was sure of his decision, end of song.

"Very well. I regret it must be like this," said the alternate Chase.  "I really don't want to lose you."

Jack offered a hesitant grin.  "If it helps any... the concept of you hasn't, if that makes any sense."

The warlord gave a grim smirk, and then moved to the pressure plate.

Jack turned to the computer to monitor the linkage progress.

And when he said, "Link established," the alternate Chase's hand shot out in a flash.

Magic connected, and Jack was yanked swiftly to the waiting dragon-lord, who immediately leaped with all due haste towards the portal even as Jack screamed in ragged denial.

They were perhaps two inches away from the red screen when Chase landed on top of them, driving his doppelganger into the ground face-first.  The instant his counterpart had moved, he had leaped up high and forward, knowing what was about to happen.

His trajectory had been perfect.

Now, he tore Jack free from the other Chase and flung the albino genius away.  The alternate spun up onto his feet, roaring in his rage—

—A spin-kick that spun the alternate around to face the screen impacted with the man's jaw.

A moment later, a forward roundhouse kick that connected with the alternate Chase's rump sent the frantic and furious warlord flying through the portal – his enraged scream of denial disappearing the moment he dissolved.

The dots had just barely finished disappearing on the screen when the entire computer station was melted into slag at the same time the portal machine was hit with more of Chase's magical fire.

Jack was gaping wide-eyed at the destruction of his machines from where he lay propped up on one hip and one elbow.

"But... he might not have made it back yet!" he protested instinctively.

Abruptly, Chase was crouched down before him.  Large hands caught Jack by the shoulders and drew the eighteen-year-old up into a half-sitting, half-kneeling position.  Jack cried out as he felt himself bruise instantly from the biting pressure from the strong fingers gripping him.

"I would prefer it had he not arrived safely!" snarled Chase.  "Then, I would know he was gone, forever, with no chance of finding a way back here to steal you away from me as he tried to do only moments ago!"

Jack gasped and winced.  "Are you... are you so sure he'd do that?"

Chase growled.  "If it were I in his stead, I would stop at nothing to get you back, Spicer.  Had you left, I would have come after you."

Jack's eyes widened.

Any questions or comments he might have had were interrupted as Chase pressed him back down to the floor and wrapped around him; keeping him safely pinioned as he began kissing the albino genius, deeply and lustfully.

When they finally parted, both of them breathing hard, but secure in the knowledge that they were both where they really belonged, Jack nuzzled his face against Chase's and made a rough sound that might have resembled a purr.

"I love you," he confessed, almost whispering the words.  "I don't want just any Chase... I want you. I love you. I wasn't going to leave – even if you had changed your mind."

"No chance of that, my Jack," said Chase with a grin. His voice was deep, drawling, and sensual.  "There is no turning back now – you belong to me."

Jack snickered.  "I wouldn't have it any other way."

The End


Part 1 ~~~~~~~~ Back to Xiaolin Showdown ~~~~~~~~         



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