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Trapped in Jade

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Drago looked apathetically down at the unconscious girl in his lap. He ought to kill her. She was the biggest thorn in his side, the only person truly capable of making him stop.

All she had to do was ask.

If he killed her, there'd be a paradox. He'd never come back to life if her uncle Jackie (his uncle Jackie) didn't have her along on the dig. If he never came back to life, he'd never come back in time. If he never came back in time, he wouldn't kill her. So she'd be with Jackie when he was on that archaelogical dig in China.

Jade would find the casket- she'd told him she'd been the one who found it. It'd be tagged and labelled and carefully packed away from prying eyes and nosy little girls. Except no one had ever been able to keep her out of anything when she wanted to get in.

So she would open the casket and discover the carefully carved dragon bones. She'd take a few pictures and forget about it.

A few weeks later, when the film got developed, the old man would take a look at it. He'd recognize the bones as something magical and go immediately to research them. He wouldn't learn much based on the photographs, but what he would learn was more than enough for Jade.

The carved bones were a prison- his prison. Tso Lan had grown weary of Shendu's teenage son and had banished him into his own skeleton. Shortly afterwards, the eight demons were imprisoned by the Eight Immortals. He'd slumbered in his bones for centuries, Lo Pei having carefully hidden the casket they were held in.

Then the little Chinese girl decided that she just had to find out what was inside the bones. Well, not so little then. She'd been fifteen, a year younger than he was when he was imprisoned.

It would be a shock waking up, especially to the sight of a horrified human girl. He'd thought she was a powerful sorceress, though, (well, she was) and had reacted appropriately.

He ran.

He'd got out of the shop just fine, but the city-! Almost a thousand years had passed since his father had ruled and everything had changed so much! There was so much strange technology (magic, he'd thought at the time), and everyone spoke a language he didn't understand-

Drago had almost been killed a hundred times when he found a place to hide for the night. The abandoned building didn't bother him or his dignity. It was dark and quiet, and teenage half-breed sons of demon sorcerors got used to sleeping wherever they could find a place to lie down.

Well, he thought they did. As far as he knew, he was the only offspring of the demon sorcerors. His mother had been a very pleasing temple maiden, and Lord Shendu had visited her often.

The next morning hadn't been much better than the night before. At least he could see what was going on, but that made it worse. He didn't understand anything he saw and if he hadn't been so hungry, he'd have just holed up in his building till dark.

He scrounged well enough, and the pickings that these strange people threw away were a lot better than what he had found in the Chinese villages. Father hadn't always cared to have his son around; more than half of his life, he'd wandered from village to village, either begging or stealing or just scrounging to stay alive.

That afternoon, Jackie Chan found him. He found out later that the old man had used his chi magic to search for the half-demon. He didn't know that then, but it had almost been a relief to find someone whose language he could almost understand.

Not that Jackie had tried Chinese first, of course. He was too Americanized for that. In the end, he had resorted to all the different languages he knew, and Drago had responded the most to Chinese.

He hadn't really understood what the human was saying then, and he didn't think Jackie understood him in return. A thousand years of language drift seperated them, but hearing a familiar tongue had made him trust the man. Not too much, because he wasn't stupid, but enough to follow him home.

Then he saw the girl again. He'd tried to bolt, but Captain Black was there with Section 13 operatives. He'd ended up with several guns pointed at his chest, and the bald man barking at him in that omnipresent, unknown language. He caught his name, of course, but the rest of it....

That night he spent in Section 13's prison, curled up on a bunk bed. He still didn't understand what was going on, but at least he was fed. He could leave whenever he wanted to, of course. His fire would melt this stupid metal cage they'd put him in. (He'd found out later that there were other things to deal with besides the cell.)

Jade had come down to try to talk to him. Her Chinese wasn't as rusty as Jackie's, and through several hours of babbling at each other in the same, yet completely different, language, he'd managed to pick up a few things. Including a pretty good grasp of modern Chinese. He still used words and conjugations that confused her, but they could carry on fairly simple conversations.

Demons tended to learn faster than humans. For the most part, they used that to manipulate people or just plain ignored it. Tso Lan, though, had put that trait to devastating use with the way he devoured all information he could get his hands on. The moon demon had almost devised a way to disable the Pan Ku box before he himself was imprisoned.

Drago learned that later, though. It tooks years before the Chans would tell him the fate of his aunts and uncles, and he'd had to discover what happened to his father himself.

So he could handle simple modern Chinese by the time Jackie chased his niece down and took her away. He asked Chan why he was being kept here.

"You are Drago. It is just until we can figure out what to do with you."

Jade was the one who talked them into letting him out and giving him a chance. He hadn't understood why- he was the son of a demon, even if he was mostly ignored.

He hadn't understood a lot back then. He only understood some things now that he had gone back in time that he had overheard and saw in the future that was his past. Like why Jade had argued with Jackie to give him a chance, because he hadn't done anything yet. It was always yet in their arguments. He hadn't done anything yet. But he will do it. We don't know that, he might not.

Time travel really messed things up.

English had taken him a week or so to get a grip on. In that time, they let him out of his cell, though he was still confined to Section 13. Mostly to a bedroom near Jackie's apartment and the training rooms, at that. He was only allowed in the training rooms because Jade wanted someone to spar with. It had quickly degenerated into training him- he'd never learned how to really fight, just how to scrap. He could fight dirty and he could take a lot of punishment without folding, but he couldn't really fight.

He learned that none of the people he'd scrapped with could really fight, either.

Jade could, though, and she seemed to take great delight in teaching him how. The adults hadn't been too pleased, but it had kept her out of trouble for weeks....

Then school started. For Jade.

He got bored after a whole day of her being away. So, the second day of her school, he broke out of Section 13 and went wandering. He understood a lot more now and he could actually speak the language. So it wasn't too much trouble to go find a bauble for Jade.

Not that he bothered paying for it, of course. Not only did he not have money, he wanted to keep in practice with his thieving skills.

Unfortunately, he hadn't figured out video cameras by then. That night, it was back to the cell and his bauble got returned.

Jackie made a novel and singularly crucial decision after that. He enrolled Drago at Jade's high school, made sure they had the same classes, and sent him off to school. His argument was that Jade could keep him out of trouble and he could keep Jade out of trouble.

It mostly worked. Between school, asserting his dominance over the other males, and Jade, he kept himself busy. He hadn't really felt it then, but now he knew that he'd also been happy. He'd liked the challenge of their mathematics, he liked the challenge of proving himself as good as those human boys, and he'd loved being around Jade.

She seemed to like being around him, too. She demanded he show up for all of her gymnastics meets and martial arts competitions. She always had time to workout with him in the training rooms. She forced him to tutor her in math, even though one of the human boys was slightly better than he was.

Their third and final year in the high school together, they had sex. They left Homecoming early and drove off to the edge of the city, where it actually got dark at night and no one came over to see what you were doing if you just parked and didn't get out.

There wasn't any doubt about it, they were doubly blessed that night- they were barely seventeen and barely dressed.

She became a part-time Section 13 agent after high school, while she went to college. He, on the other hand, had no real interest in going to college. After all, there wasn't much he could do with his life except become a Section 13 agent. They let him pick out a cool outfit, though, and he was more than happy to ditch the uniform he'd been trapped in.

It was the same clothing he wore now. He didn't understand then why they all reacted badly to the clothes he wore, but now it was blatantly obvious.

They'd seen him dressed like this before and they thought he was going to do exactly what he did before.

They were right, of course, but they were off on their time scale. He was a model Section 13 agent for a few years before he started to turn.

Jackie had told him shortly after he became a Section 13 agent what had happened to his aunts and uncles. He hadn't exactly stated what happened to Shendu, but the implications were that he was trapped in the void with his siblings.

So, three years later, Drago was more than a little surprised when he found the vault where they kept Shendu.

He hadn't been meant to find it. Jade had needed medical attention, though, and someone had to put away the newest bit of weird magic. So he got the bright idea to take care of it for her. And he didn't know what was in that vault, but no one ever put anything in it so there must be room for a little jewel.

Damn it. It still made him angry to think about. His father trapped in a statue. Not just trapped in a statue, but trapped in the place where Drago had been living for years. He had never even suspected.

The Chans had suspected him. He saw it after that- he'd told no one of what he'd found, but he had watched. He saw the way the humans kept a close eye on him, always watching. Wondering when he'd turn on them like they knew he would.

He hadn't known that they knew he would turn, but he hadn't taken any chances. He kept his plans to himself, never even writing anything down. He didn't do any uncharacteristic or extra research for the missions he got assigned. He didn't go out of his way to find items of power to aid him in destroying the world.

He just used the one true spell his father had ever taught him- how to summon dragon minions. He used all the benefits he got from being a half-demon - the fire magic, agility, speed, and strength from his father, and the self-control from his mother.

Drago did what none of Jackie's foes had ever done before- he almost won. He took out their support pegs with subtlety and guile, and he destroyed the Chan clan itself with magic and strength.

And in the end, he couldn't bring himself to kill Jade. He knew he should have. He should have burned her to ashes or ripped her heart out. She was the one who could and did stop him, and he had known that before he made his move.

He should have killed her.

He didn't, though. For the same reason he wouldn't now and never would.

He loved her.

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