Please

Fanfic: Extreme Ghostbusters

Author's note: The fanfic was inspired by the scene in the Extreme Ghostbusters episode "The Crawler," where Egon shouted "Please, don't leave me" as Janine the Hive Queen walked away from him. While the declaration of love in that scene seemed forced and awkward, Egon's plea seemed genuine. Usual disclaimers on character ownership apply.

It was late, and everything seemed silent in the firehouse. Not that I would have noticed anything going on outside my lab that night. I was busy cross-referencing data on the Nexus for a case study I was working on. I vaguely remember Roland and Eduardo peeking in to say they're going home for the night.

As I was preoccupied with the task I had at hand, I did not look up from my computer screen when I heard someone pull up a chair close to my desk and sit upon it. I assumed it was just Kylie with another one of her questions about some ancient text she read. That girl is apt to bring up discussions on the arcane with me when she is on nightshift. A most promising student, that girl is. I do have high hopes for her.

A brief glance away from the screen, however, gave me a glimpse of red hair. Not Kylie, then. Janine. It's not uncommon for her to stay so late in the firehouse or even sleep over. I took a deep breath and braced myself. With Janine, it's always some complaint about how the firehouse is falling apart. Or how our operations aren't making enough money to pay the bills or keep us out of the red. I do greatly appreciate what she does for us, but sometimes she can go on and on about her grievances, imagined or not.

To my surprise, she remained silent. She merely sat there beside me with her hands clasped on her lap and her legs crossed at the ankles. She had a pensive air about her, and the way she was staring at her hands made me sense that she wanted to tell me something but is weighing how she would tell it.

Returning my gaze to my computer screen, I asked her, "I thought you already left for the night."

"I did," she replied. "Obviously."

Obviously? Of course. She wasn't wearing the suit she had on that morning. Rather, she was dressed for the evening in a short black thing with lace and capped sleeves, her hair pulled up to the crown of her head in a more elegant style than her usual hairdo.

She looked fetching, I have to admit. She smelled very pleasant as well. Did she go to one of those trendy restaurants she kept pestering me to take her to? And then, an unbidden thought wormed its way to the front of my mind: If yes, then with whom?

I stopped working and turned my seat so I could face her. I rested my elbows on the armrests of my chair and tented my fingers. And then, I waited.

For a period of time that I was sure lasted only a few moments but felt like a year, we sat together quietly – I staring intently at her and her sitting with her head bowed and looking away from me. After a while, she broke the silence.

"I'm leaving, Egon."

I gave a small sigh and resumed working at my computer. "I thought you already left," I told her, my fingers busy on my keyboard.

"No. You don't understand. I'm leaving."

The way she repeated those words at me made my hands freeze and hover over the computer keyboard. A kind of cold dread suddenly began crawling its way slowly up my spine. It brought me back to the night when she told me her place was with Cojilla.

I shall never forget that night, as I have never forgotten that other fateful night, when she changed before my eyes and held the strings of my life in her hands. On that night so many years ago, I told Janine I loved her to save her. I said those words again the night Cojilla took her from us. It was the only plan we could come up with to break Cojilla's psychic grip on her.

I only uttered those words to save her. Nonetheless, those words left me vulnerable and exposed. For even though I would deny them, deep in my mind I know them to be true.

As she sat there before me, telling me she was leaving, I felt my mental barriers rise. I never cared about being vulnerable and exposed. And yet, there I was, struggling to master with my mind the one weakness I had, the weakness only Janine could exploit if only she knew about it. A weakness I tried so hard to hide for so many years.

With that battle raging in my head, I rested my chin on my hands and listened as Janine told me a story of how she met this man who is not me. How she had been seeing him without my knowledge these past few months. And how, tonight, he had asked her to marry him.

For a woman who had been proposed to by a man she supposedly liked, she didn't seem happy as she told me her tale. Her demeanor was subdued that entire time. But each word that fell from her mouth was laden with an emotion I could not face. And each of those loaded words battered at me, at the barriers I tried so hard to maintain.

She had pinned her hopes on me, she said, and all this time she had been waiting. Twelve years she had been waiting. She said she didn't know how much longer she could wait, but if only I gave her a sign that she should, no matter how small that sign was, then she would.

When the tale got to its end, her voice faded, and once again we sat in silence.

I closed my eyes briefly. I didn't realize that I had been staring at my computer screen all that time she had been telling me the story. The glare hurt. I felt exhausted all of a sudden. Moisture began to coat the surface of my eyeballs, and the sting the tears made me feel brought even more.

"Aren't you even going to say anything?" I heard her ask me. I sensed anger, and perhaps despair, edging her voice. I didn't dare turn my head to look at her. Instead I kept my elbows propped on my desk and my chin resting on my hands.

A muffled sound came from her, or so I heard. Then I saw her get up from her chair.

My mental barriers crashed then. With a speed I didn't know I still had, I reached out and grabbed her hand before she could run away. And then, I looked up at her face as she stood over me, her face flushed and her blue-green eyes gleaming.

Her eyes took my breath away. I have always thought her beautiful. Even when we were younger, even before she was transformed by her fairy godmother, she always looked beautiful to me.

I didn't think any differently at that moment. Twelve years may have passed, but she still looked beautiful to me. Older, certainly, but age seemed to have given even greater depth to what I had erroneously perceived to be a shallow personality. For more than a decade she was in my life. I could not imagine the next decades of my life without her.

Without letting go of her hand, I rose from my chair and stood facing her. She held herself stiffly before me. I could feel the anger and the frustration leaking from her the way psychokinetic energy leaks from the supernatural beings we pursue day in and day out.

The hand I grasped I clasped against my chest. My free arm I wrapped tightly around her. She began struggling like a bird against me, pounding furiously at me with her free hand. But I kept her locked in my embrace.

I could not tell her I love her even though it is true. There weren't any evil fairy godmothers or insect gods threatening death upon us. I was not there to save her life.

But I needed her to save mine. To say "I love you" then would not be enough. It would never be enough.

"Please, Janine," I whispered to her hair. "Please. Don't leave me."

That was all I could make myself tell her. Yet it seemed those words were enough for her. With those words, I felt her give up her fight and yield calmly to me. I held her close and did not let her go, not even when Kylie came up and told us that we had a call.

April 27, 2012