00088: When does a person die?
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How is everyone? Hope you had a good weekend. Here is the first chapter for the week, hope you enjoy it. Also not sure about you guys, but it's raining here...

Gabby was seated in her sister's hospital room as she watched her sister’s in their comatose sleep. Her only real companion was the sounds from the medical equipment, letting her know they were still alive.

The last couple of months had been crazy for her and her sisters. Well mostly for her, he sister’s were still asleep and wouldn’t wake up. They still weren't fully healed, and the people who rescued them said they were trying their best. But to her, their best just wasn’t good enough. Her sisters were still dying.

The corners of her eyes started to mist up as she thought about finally being free with her sisters, but not being able to enjoy it. The thing they all dreamed about was now here and yet…

She wanted to blame the people who had come to rescue them, but she knew she couldn't. It wasn’t their fault. Sure, their attack on the base forced them to become injected with that weird serum. But the serum wasn't the issue. It just showed the underlying issue faster. Her sister's bodies were already breaking down from being cloned. The only reason she wasn't like them was because she was blessed with a working healing factor.

She shook her head to clear it and think about the positives. They were free while also getting to meet the woman and man who were pretty much their parents from a genetics perspective. And they met the person they were cloned from, Laura. 

Laura was nice and even said she considered them all to be her little sisters. It was nice to have a new older sister. Hopefully her other sisters woke up to meet Laura and the others properly. It would be nice if they woke up soon…

Gabby wouldn’t admit it, but she was so lonely without her sisters. Laura came to visit a lot, but it wasn’t the same. Her sisters were with her since she could remember, Gabby was sad when they weren’t around.

Gabby looked up to the door as she heard someone knock before it opened up and a few people walked inside the room. She knew one of them, it was the man who didn't smell. The other two were new, both of them were women who smelled a little weird. The man smiled as he said, "Gabby, I want you to meet some friends of mine. This is Tao and Agatha."

Gabby nodded to the women in greeting before she looked back at Ezekiel and asked, "Did you figure out how to save them?"

Ezekiel shook his head as he said, "No, but we have an idea. We just need to test something first."

Ezekiel turned to Tao as he said, "You can start whenever you like."

Tao moved over to one of the girls and began to chat slowly as she moved her arms in a pattern above the girl's body. After about a minute, an orangish golden spell formula appeared above the girl, and Gabby let out a small gasp as she watched.

This was magic, like the portal thing she saw before. Were they going to use healing magic to help her sisters she thought getting a little excited.

The formula slowly spread out and covered the girl from head to toe before it shot out golden wisps. The wisps connected to different points all over the girl's body before they started to expand in size.

After she finished with the first girl, she moved to the next and then finished with the last girl. A spell formula floated above each girl and pulsed slightly for about ten minutes. Then the spell formulas slowly faded from view as Tao let out a sigh. She frowned as she glanced over to Ezekiel and said, "It won't work. Their souls are too weak."

Gabby glanced between Tao and Ezekiel for a moment before she asked, "Is there a way to make them stronger?"

"Yes, but it requires time. The best way would be for them to age normally." Tao shook her head.

Agatha nodded as she said, "We could try to speed up the process, but trying that on souls that are already weak… It could completely destroy them."

Gabby's eyes started to mist up again as she looked at her sister's. Why did life hate them so much? Because they were clones? Because they weren’t born normally? Were they not meant to be happy like everyone else? Tears started to run down her face as she thought about a life without her sisters. The sisters who did everything they could to protect her from the shitty life they were born into.

Ezekiel placed a gentle hand on her shoulder as he said, "We still have a few more things we can try, don't give up hope."

She numbly nodded her head, tears still streaking down her face as she watched her sisters quietly. Ezekiel turned to the others and motioned them out of the room, before he softly shut the door.

Ezekiel let out a sigh as they walked down the hallway before he said, "I have no idea what I’m going to do."

Tao placed a comforting hand on his shoulder as she said, "Sometimes there is nothing you can do."

Ezekiel glanced over at Tao as he said, "That doesn't make me feel any better about it."

"It wasn't meant to."

A week passed and nothing changed for the sisters, the handful of things they attempted didn't work. Even the experimental longevity drug failed to work. It was dangerous, but it was the very last thing they could do for the girls. When even that failed to improve the girl's situation, Gabby resigned herself to watch over her sisters till the end.

vvvvv

It was midnight and Theo was currently climbing his rock wall as some of his clones were reading in his personal training room. His thoughts were a mess as he thought over what else he could do for Gabby and her sisters. He had pulled out every obscure piece of knowledge about the marvel universe to help him. But he had still failed to help the dying girls, luck just wasn't on their side.

He thought of possibly putting them into some kinda stasis chamber, but Tao said it would just weaken their souls more. If their soul was complete and had no issues, it wouldn’t be a problem. But a weak soul will only get weaker since the soul itself can’t be put into stasis and the body itself won’t be able to help the soul heal while it’s in stasis.

Theo really did try everything he could think of to save the girls. He even begged Tao to use the time stone on them, but after her examination of the girls. She said that even with the time stone, it wouldn’t help. Their souls were too fragile and it could rip them apart. Unless of course we had the soul stone to help stabilize them, but then we wouldn't need to use the time stone at that point.

While Theo was lost in thought his chakra control lapsed and his next hand hold didn't contact properly. As he released his other hand he immediately slipped off the wall and fell into the water pit below.

As he pulled himself up out of the water, Shisui commented from the reading area nearby as he said, "You should just accept that you can't save them."

Theo let out a sigh as he walked over and sat down next to Shisui and his other clones. After about a minute Theo said, "I know, it's just hard. Gabby should be this super positive kid that’s always optimistic about everything. At least that’s how she was in the comics after her sisters died. But the Gabby I’ve met is barely holding it together.”

Theo shook his head and said, “Inoichi has tried to help the girl, but he said if her sisters die… He doesn’t know if he’ll be able to help her get over that trauma. It might break her will to live.”

Theo leaned forward and rested his head on the palms of his hands as he said, “If only there was a way I could give them a full and happy life together."

"You still can, or at least a fake one."

Theo glanced over at Shisui, who smiled and pointed at another clone. Theo followed his finger and tried to figure out why he was pointing to Itachi. As Theo tried to figure out what Shisui meant, Shisui said, "Itachi gave Izumi a full and happy life…"

"Son of a…"

"Language young man." Agatha said as she interrupted Theo.

Theo glanced over to Agatha who was smiling at him and he said, "You know I'm actually pretty old right?"

"You will always be considered a child compared to me." Agatha winked as she finished and turned back to the book she was reading.

Theo glanced back at Itachi for a few moments before he said, "It could work, but would we be able to group all the sisters together in one Tsukuyomi?"

"Why not? That's what Madara wanted to do."

"Good point." Theo said, before he shook his head and said, "Thanks. I was so concerned about not being able to cure them. I forgot I could still do something for them."

"That's what you pay me for." Shisui flashed a cheeky grin when he finished.

Theo shook his head as one of his other clones nearby asked, "You pay Shisui?"

"I don't pay him anything."

The clone looked over at Theo as he said, "But he just said you did…"

Theo reached up to rub the bridge of his nose with his fingers as he said, "I still have no idea how some of my clones get like this."

Tobirama, who was seated close by, spoke up as he said, "It's some flaw I missed from the shadow clone jutsu when I made it. When you make more than ten, the rest tend to have a weird personality quirk. Then again, I never thought people would be able to make more than a handful at a time in the first place."

Tobirama pointed at the clone of Theo who thought Shisui was paid as he said, "That one seems more gullible than normal."

vvvvv

Gabby watched as Ezekiel and some other people were working on her sisters. Ezekiel had come by the day before and told her he figured something out. Something that would give her sisters a full life.

As Ezekiel and the others finished. One by one her sisters started to wake up. She instantly bolted from her chair to greet them as her oldest sister Zelda said, "You're a mess."

Gabby cracked a weak smile as she said, "You aren't much better yourself."

Another sister, Bellona scoffed before she said, "At least we aren't crying like a little kid."

Gabby tried to wipe her face as she said, "I wasn't crying, something was in my eyes."

Ezekiel smirked as he said, "I believe the proper response is, 'Oh look, it's raining."

All the girls turned to glare at him, he just gave a friendly wave before he said, "I'll leave you girls alone."

vvvvv

Ezekiel, Tao, Itachi, Inoichi and Agatha watched the girls who were all laid out on beds. The four beds were placed in an X so that all of their heads were next to each other. In the middle of the X was a weird looking pyramid.

The pyramid was made of vibranium and had a bunch of runic symbols etched into its surface. It also contained a few rare gems and other precious metals laid out on its surface almost like a circuit board.

It glowed with an otherworldly light as it pulsed where orangish spell lines connected to it. Those spell lines connected to each of the girl's heads and to a complicated spell matrix floating above them all.

Ezekiel glanced at Tao as he asked, "You think it will stay stable?"

Tao nodded as she said, "With the vibranium as the core focus, it should have no issues."

Inoichi agreed as he said, "When Itachi cast his Tsukuyomi on the girls, it was stable. I also made a mental block for Gabby, she won't be affected when she dies."

Ezekiel let out a sigh of relief before he asked, "How long do they have before it ends?"

"It will end sometime tomorrow night."

Inoichi frowned as he asked, "Don't you think you should have told Gabby the truth?"

"I wanted to, but I felt it might dampen her mood going in. I will deal with the consequences when she comes out of it."

Tao smiled as she put a hand on Ezekiel's shoulder as she said, "I am sure she will appreciate the gesture when she comes out."

Ezekiel just nodded his head as he watched the girls dream of what their life should have been like together.

vvvvv

Gabby slowly opened her eyes, which were fuzzy from sleeping. As she blinked to clear her eyes, she tried to remember what just happened, her memory was being a little hazy. She was…

Gabby shot up in bed, she had just died. She paused, this wasn’t her home… She glanced around the room for a few moments, trying to figure out where she was. Then her eyes landed on her sisters, her sisters that were still young.

Her eyes widened as she remembered, they were trying something to cure them. But it worked, they were cured… They lived a whole life together… Was she reliving her life just before she died, she remembered hearing that could happen.

But this didn’t feel like a dream to her. She glanced down at her hands, her young looking hands. She clenched her fists and her blades popped out, one out of each fist. As she looked at them a creeping feeling over took her and she somehow knew this wasn’t a dream.

This… This was real.

As she retracted her claws she stood up out of bed and glanced around the room. She saw Ezekeil seated in the corner of the room, he had looked up at her when she made noise getting out of bed. As he stood up, he motioned her to come towards him.

Her feet dragged on the ground as she shuffled closer to him as she tried to figure out what was going on. She clearly remembered living a full and happy life with her sisters. So many happy memories flashed through her mind, all of them with her sisters.

But she also knew that she was now here and that this was real. Everything in the room felt and smelled real, this had to be real. But the life she just lived was also real. It had to be, she felt all of it. You couldn’t fake that…

Her eyes started to mist up as every fiber of her being screamed at her, that it couldn’t have been fake… That this was fake and her memories were what was real.

Ezekiel waited as she made her way over to him, lost in her own thoughts. When she finally stopped in front of him, he gave her a sad smile as he said, “I’m sorry. I couldn’t save your sisters.”

Gabby’s mind raced as she thought over his words and the implication behind them. She took a deep shaking breath, tears threatening to spill out as she asked in a trembling voice, “Then… Then that wasn’t real?”

“What do you think?”

Gabby looked down at her shaking hands, which she was clenching unconsciously. She glanced back at her sisters for a moment, before she looked at Ezekiel again as she said, “Everything felt so real…” Her voice cracked with hope as she asked, “It had to be real… Right?”

Ezekiel placed a comforting hand on Gabby’s shoulder and gave it a gentle squeeze. That slight touch helped to calm the girls shaking body as he said, “It was the only thing I could do to give you and your sisters a full life.”

Gabby's body started to shake again as Ezekiel said, “All of your minds were connected together, everything you shared with them. Everything they shared with you. It all happened in your collective minds. If that isn’t real, I don’t know what is.”

Gabby teared up, her voice weavering in her throat as she looked down at her feet. It took a few moments before she asked, her voice barely above a whisper, “They’re dead, aren’t they?”

Ezekiel lifted his hand from her shoulder as he softly asked, “When do you think a person truly dies? Is it when they’re shot in the heart?”

Gabby choked back a sob and nodded her head as hot tears streamed down her cheeks.

“Maybe when they drink some kind of deadly poison? Or have an incurable illness?”

Gabby couldn’t help herself, as a sob ripped through her shaking body as she nodded again. Not really understanding what Ezekiel was trying to say.

Ezekiel placed his hand under her chin and raised her head so he could look her in the eyes as he said, “You’re wrong. A person only truly dies when they’re forgotten!”

Gabby’s breath hitched in her throat as she matched Ezekiel’s unwavering gaze. His other hand tapped her on the head and then her heart as he said, “As long as you keep them in your thoughts and in your heart, they will never truly be gone.”

Gabby let out an anguished sob that wrecked her whole body as Ezekiel pulled her into a tight hug. Minutes passed as Gabby cried into Ezekiel’s chest, her whole body shaking as she let out her feelings. She wasn’t sure how long they stayed like that, but eventually her body gave out and she started to collapse from fatigue. The last thing she thought before she drifted into unconsciousness was, this was the first time she could actually smell Ezekiel.

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