Time & Again

Chapter 5 - Time Lords Say, "Go ahead, make my yesterday."


Jack slumped wearily as he followed behind Jun-Han and Guan. Omi, of course, was choosing to keep him company.

“Are you still pouting because of your lack of sleep?” Omi asked, looking up at Jack.

“No,” growled Jack, “I’m pouting because of my lack of sleep, my lack of caffeine, my lack of robots, and my abundance of blisters!”

Omi glanced down, then, and noticed that Jack was limping slightly and tsked. “You are in very sad shape for someone who wishes to take over the world, Jack Spicer.”

Jack whirled, reaching for the yellow annoyance, but Omi had skittered out of range.

“Are you two fighting again?” Jun-Han asked, and the two youths looked up to see him looking back over his shoulder at them.

“What fighting? Jack cannot fight, only lose,” Omi replied with a smile, then squeaked when Jack succeeded in knocking him over.

“Now, Spicer, be nice,” the would-be evil everlord chided.

“This is being nice,” Jack growled.

“And what are you the rest of the time?”

“Heavily armed, easily bored, and off my medication!”

Jun-Han blinked. “Off your what?

Jack sighed. “It was a joke, and one that doesn’t work well in a primitive time and place.”

Jun-Han and Omi frowned.

“This time and place are hardly primitive!” Omi said hotly. “The people—“

“Compared to our time,” Jack amended, grimacing.

“An unfair comparison, given that we, here and now, do not know what your time is like,” Guan commented.

“Fine, I’m an idiot – we know that. Can we drop the subject, please?”

Jun-Han frowned. Shortening his stride, he soon fell into step beside Jack and gestured to Omi to walk ahead with Guan. Casting a wary gaze between the two, Omi did as the older man wished and joined the tall, muscular monk.

Jack looked nervously at the man walking beside him, and Jun-Han took notice.

Flashing a smile, he said calmly, “Do not look at me as though I am about to bite your head off, Spicer.”

“If only I could believe that,” Jack grumbled, and then asked, “Why don’t you call me ‘Jack’?”

“’Spicer’ is easier to pronounce; the combination of sounds isn’t so strange.”

“Hmm. Whatever floats your boat, then.”

Jun-Han grinned. “You are an entertaining young man, Spicer. You say things that make sense to you; that are clearly connected to the future you are from. I admit I am curious to know what is waiting twelve-hundred years from now.”

“Guess you’ll just have to stick around and find out,” Jack replied with a smirk.

The older man snorted and wagged a finger as he said, “If your mission is to lead me to the dark side, you’ll have to try harder than that.”

Jack raised an eyebrow, then reached into an inner pocket and pulled out a thin, flat plastic binder, about the size of a standard envelope, and handed it over to Jun-Han. The man accepted it, his eyebrows high on his face; he turned the strange object over and over, examining the new thing.

“What is this?” he asked, curious.

“What are you referring to specifically?”

“The material,” Jun-Han replied, amazed at the flexibility of the object as he bent it into a curve.

“It’s called ‘plastic’; more durable than wood, stone, or glass. But it’s what’s inside that’s the real kicker.”

Jun-Han raised an eyebrow, but dutifully opened the strange object and blinked. It appeared to be images of people, and he quickly deduced that he was holding the object upside down. He righted it and then gaped at the sight of himself and various others.

He recognized Omi and Jack, but there were other people in the images that he did not know. Still, the fact that the images were there – and amazingly life-like, too – gave him pause.

“What sort of magic…?” he whispered.

“In my time, there are devices called ‘cameras’ that will record images of people onto material called ‘film’. Depending on the device, the recorded images are only for a split second of time, or last for hours and even move. These images are the split-second variety – they won’t move, but they were captured at a specific moment in time.”

“You – you captured my soul?” Jun-Han asked with a gulp.

Jack came very close to saying that wasn’t likely because Chase Young didn’t have a soul, but fought back the urge just in time. Instead, he said, “No, souls aren’t involved. It’s just a surface reflection, like in a puddle of water. Only the ‘water’ in this case is the ‘film’ and the reflection is frozen while the real person goes on about his or her life.”

“I look so… different,” Jun-Han remarked, tracing one finger lightly over the cruelly-smiling visage of his future self. “And yet, I am as young then as I am now.”

Jack took a closer look at Jun-Han, trying to spot the differences between Chase-from-the-Past and Chase-from-the-Future. After a moment, he realized that Jun-Han’s ears were the normal round human form, and the eyes – though gold colored – had normal human pupils instead of the vertical slits he was used to seeing. Even the emblem on the red sash was different: instead of a gold eye, the current symbol was a dragon.

“I guess the ears and the eyes were changed when you started drinking the youth serum,” Jack said with a shrug. “For the record, it’s a good look for you.”

Jun-Han blinked again, then muttered, “Yes… I am not – unattractive.”

Jack laughed. “Let’s just say your mother knew what she was talking about when she named you.”

At that, the older man smirked, pleased. He handed the image-booklet back to Jack, who tucked it into an inside pocket of his jacket. He looked carefully at the youth for a long moment, then said, “I have never seen one such as you before.”

“I don’t doubt it. There probably aren’t many Goths roaming around these parts.”

“Is that what you are? A ‘Goth’?”


“Is a Goth some sort of demon? Is that why you have white skin?”

Jack frowned. “No, Goths aren’t demons; being a Goth is choosing a lifestyle different from that of societal standard. We like to dress in black and look different from what we call ‘mundanes’ – people who are really boring and normal. Goths are necromancers.”

Jun-Han’s eyes widened. “You call forth the spirits of the dead?”

Jack blinked. “Uh… no. No, not really.”

“Then why do you claim to be a necromancer?”

“Because it sounds cool, alright?!”


“Gah! Um… ‘cool’ is slang for ‘most excellent’.”


“Right, so we’re basically vegetarians pretending to be vampires. Nothing wrong with that.”

“And you choose to discolor your skin in order to make yourself readily identifiable?”

Jack sighed. “A lot of other Goths do. In my case… I was born with it.”

“Then, you are a magical being?”

The younger man laughed. “Not unless I’m using Shen-Gong-Wu. No, my skin is this color because I was born with a medical condition known, in my time, as albinism. I’m an albino. My hair is actually white, like my skin, but I dyed it the color you see now and used liquid kohl to make people think I chose to be this color on purpose.”


“People are less inclined to feel sorry for your freakishness if they think you did it deliberately.”

“You are hiding in plain sight, then.”

Jack grinned and nodded. “Exactly.”

Jun-Han was silent for a moment. Then he grinned and said, “I like your coloring, Spicer.”

Jack was unable to help himself – he blushed.

Jun-Han watched, intrigued, as a delicate pink color spread over the white-as-snow cheeks. Slowly, he reached out with one finger and, when Jack stopped walking to stare at him in surprise, he very lightly traced the pink skin with the tip of his finger.

“What are you doing?” Jack asked quietly, startled.

“I am fascinated,” Jun-Han said simply, and gently trailed his finger over the bridge of Jack’s nose; feeling the delicate framework of bone and cartilage beneath the younger man’s translucent skin.

Jack shivered and stepped back, deliberately breaking the contact between them. “Don’t do that,” he said, his voice tense with irritation.

“Did I hurt you?” Jun-Han asked, concerned.

“No – I just don’t like being touched.”

“I did not touch you with the intent to hurt you.”

“I don’t care – stop touching me.”

Jun-Han frowned. “Do I not touch you in the future?”

Jack’s eyes widened. “What do you mean?”

“You said that I am the one who sent you back to this time. Clearly, you and I interact with each other. Do I not touch you?”

“Why on earth would you think you touch me?” asked Jack, his tone incredulous.

“I happen to enjoy being with attractive people; you are very attractive. I cannot believe I am foolish enough to pass up the opportunity to be with you.”

Jack was certain that if his eyes went any wider, they’d fall out of his head. “You – you think I’m – oh, man.”

Jun-Han’s frown deepened. “Apparently, I am that foolish.”

Jack had no idea what to say to that remark.


They both turned their heads at the sound of Guan’s voice and saw him and Omi standing only a few feet away, watching them closely.

“Is everything well?” Guan asked curiously.

Jun-Han nodded shortly and said, “I was merely talking with Spicer about the future.”

Guan’s expression was solemn, but he bowed his head in acceptance.

Eager to change the subject, Jack asked, “So, where are we going, again?”

“There is a village nearby,” Jun-Han explained. “An old friend to Guan and myself lives there. We had thought to stop at his home for a real dinner and to catch up on any recent news.”

“I am up with that!” Omi burbled with a grin.

Jack facepalmed. “’Down’. You’re supposed to say ‘I’m down with that’.”

Omi blinked. “That does not make any sense.”

“You frequently don’t,” Jack sniped.

Guan and Jun-Han sighed and shook their heads, then began walking; leaving the two youths to catch up, which they quickly did.


Chapter 4 ~~~~~~~~ Back to Xiaolin Showdown ~~~~~~~~ Chapter 6



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