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Safer Before You Rescued Me

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She felt like hell--her head was pounding and the surface she was lying on was hard and uncomfortable. She groaned as she opened her eyes to the orange-yellow light of streetlamps and four concerned faces gathered around her. She put a hand to her forehead and blinked, but nothing changed. She frowned slightly at Egon, who was closest. "What’s going on?" She turned her head to the side, looking at the ships in the docks. "Where are we?"

Eduardo looked at her strangely. "We just busted Papa Grande." When she didn't respond he clarified, "You were the one who trapped him."

"Temporary memory loss isn't entirely unexpected," Egon said. "Memory of what?" she asked, feeling completely lost. She got to her knees, then closed her eyes against a sudden wave of nausea. It didn't help and she fell to all fours and was sick.

"You passed out as we were leaving the warehouse," Kylie said.

"You might want to lie down again," Egon said, catching her by the shoulders as she attempted to stand again. She didn't protest as he eased her back down to sit on the pavement.

"What warehouse?" They all just looked at her. "I feel awful," she complained, briefly struck by another wave of nausea. Ecto's distinctive siren became audible.

Garrett grinned. "Roland to the rescue. I think he's enjoying himself."

"Can you stand up now?" Kylie asked Janine.

"Guess we'll find out." She accepted her hands and let herself be pulled up--she made a slight face, but stood unassisted, and wasn't sick again. "I'm fine," she grumbled, waving away Roland and Egon as they tried to help her into the car.


"What do you remember?" Egon asked, glancing at her in the rear-view mirror.

"Coming back from dinner," she said absently, staring into space as she thought. She met his eyes briefly. "You practically threw him out of the firehouse." He looked away from her accusing glare. "I told him--we talked outside and then--" The memories slipped out of her grasp like beads of mercury. All she could get was a vague, distant sense of horror.

"Your memory should come back over time. The immediate concern is your physical health."

"I seem to be in one piece," she snapped. "Please tell me what it is I'm not remembering."

"Not until you've been medically evaluated."

Janine looked at passing street signs--they were obviously not headed for the firehouse. "Evaluated for what?"

“...I’m not sure. Anything. Signs of trauma.”

“What, we just walk in and tell them something might be wrong but we don’t know what?”

"Tell them you've had a fainting spell and memory loss." Egon was starting to rise to her confrontational tone. "That's all the information they need."

"Well, it's not all the information I need. I look like I've been dragged through the streets, I feel awful, I've forgotten the last few hours, and you won't even tell me what happened to me. I'm not going anywhere until I know what the hell is going on." Her voice cracked.

"We can get basic vital signs at the firehouse," Kylie jumped in before Egon could respond.

"Yeah, and we're not exactly persona grata at the hospitals anyway," Garrett said. "They woulda thrown us out earlier if they hadn't been so busy with the bugs."

Egon didn't say anything, but set his jaw and changed course.


Janine refused all assistance in getting out of the car once they arrived at the firehouse, though she'd started feeling a little green again. She let Egon chivvy her upstairs with a minimum of protest while the kids put away the equipment. As soon as they reached the third floor she rounded on him. "Egon Spengler, if you don't tell me what's going on right now--" She broke off, then made an unceremonious dash for the bathroom.

Unlike ordinary illness like the flu, being sick again didn't seem to ease the nausea. Her head was pounding and she felt weak and drained, her entire body sore as if she'd spent her missing hours moving furniture. A nap sounded like a really, really good idea right now.

She got herself looking reasonably presentable and emerged from the bathroom to find Kylie and Egon in the bunkroom looking serious. "--physical backlash from the sudden reversal," Egon was saying. She froze them in place with a basilisk glare and made her way unassisted to the bunk that had been readied for her, various medical and ectoplasmic diagnostic devices laid out on the bedside table.

She half-reclined as gracefully as she could, trying to retain what was left of her dignity. She didn't think she'd even seen half of the devices Egon had ready, and it was starting to undo the last of her self-composure.

Roland and Eduardo came up the stairs as Egon started his PKE scan, and from the lab she could hear the sound of the lift. Her particular misery was most certainly not loving company right now. "Well, since you're all here, will someone please--" she paused as her voice threatened to waver--"tell me what happened? I feel like I have a right to know."

There was an uncomfortable silence, broken finally by Eduardo's usual lack of tact. "You really don't remember anything? Not even when Egon said--" He yelped as Kylie whacked him on the arm and gave him one of her looks of death.

"You've suffered an involuntary transformative episode. Your 'friend' Greg was a South American insect demon. He abducted you and turned you into an insect as well. The abrupt reversal of that transformation may be the reason for your memory block. It should come back given time and rest. Auto accident victims sometimes experience a similar phenomenon." He never once looked up from the screens of his devices. Some bedside manner.

She felt another wave of nausea and closed her eyes. The idea should have been terrifying, but she still came up against a blank wall when she tried to find actual memories, and the vague, unpleasant emotions she could feel were too distant to really be upsetting.

Besides, she was so tired that she couldn't think straight. "Do I want to remember?"

"Probably not," Roland said.

"Maybe just the end," Eduardo added, grinning.

Kylie cuffed him again. "Can it," she muttered.

"C'mon, can't I just tell her about the part where--"

Kylie launched a full-scale attack as Slimer floated into the room, babbling happily at finding all the humans together in one place. He bobbed toward Janine and then froze, looking suddenly worried. "J'neen?" He rose up above Egon's head to see what was going on. "Badbadbad! Hurt J'neen?"

"Janine will be fine, Slimer," Egon said, trying to wave him away. "She needs to rest."

Slimer mumbled suspiciously to himself and floated to the other side of the bed, looking for reassurance from Janine herself. "I'm okay, Slimer," Janine told him. "I just really need a shower and some sleep right now."

"I think Eduardo has a sandwich in his locker," Garrett said. "I bet you can't find it."

Slimer brightened and darted out the door and down the stairs. Eduardo gave Garrett a dirty look. "All my stuff is gonna be soaked."

"It gets him out of our hair for a while."

Egon finished his tests. "Residual energy levels are still high, and the pattern is very similar to our readings from earlier. I suspect it will break down as the energy dissipates, but I'd like to get periodic readings to be sure. You'll need to stay overnight to be monitored."

His tone and obvious assumption that she'd agree to this plan irritated her, but she was too sick and sore and tired to fight about it right now. "Only if you're not all going to sit around and watch me."

Egon dug out a nightshirt for her and the team trickled out of the room one by one, murmuring various words of well-wishing as they went. "Considering the circumstances, class for today is canceled," Egon announced as he followed them, pulling the door shut.