Before I Sleep
Jon woke up as soon as his bedroom door started creeping open, his hand slowly wrapping around the k-bar under his pillow. Since he’d awakened one morning to find that he was a teenage clone, sleeping hadn’t really been the same.
A loudly whispered, “Shh!,” had him relaxing just before two tiny bodies clambered into the bed with him. Dawn curled into him and Connor wrapped around her.
“Nightmares,” she murmured into his shoulder, somehow knowing he was awake. They always seemed to know more than the average child would.
He released the k-bar, shifting until he could wrap his arm around both of them. “You wanna talk about it?”
“No,” she said, voice tiny.
After a few minutes of quiet breathing, Dawn and Connor went lax and Jon let himself slip back into slumber. He wasn’t expecting Daniel to be standing there in an ugly monk’s robe, glowing.
Jon sighed. “What now?”
“You need to start making long term plans,” Daniel said, shifting a little.
Jon blinked and rubbed his hand over his head. He’d kind of hoped that they could stay, but he’d never seriously considered it. Their people had the power to send them dimensions away. Surely, they’d be able to get them back.
“They’re not-? What-?” he took a deep breath and collected his thoughts before asking the most important question. “Why me?”
Daniel tilted his head with a little smile. “Everybody needs a purpose. And you’re a teenager in body only. That counts. Plus, you’ll keep them safe; you’ll champion them. They might have been heroes in their own right, but they could use one standing in their corner.”
“So I’m, what? Supposed to play house with four kids? I’m-This body is sixteen
`, regardless of what my brain thinks. Sixteen-year-olds don’t have four kids, not in this country and day and age, anyway,” he said, exasperated.
“Sixteen-year-olds have siblings that they sometimes end up raising,” Daniel said, shrugging. “And it’s not like you won’t have help. I bet if you really think about it, you’ll come up with a solution.”
Daniel disappeared and Jon woke with a start. He was staring into Dawn’s wide blue troubled eyes.
“We’re staying,” she whispered, hand knotting in his shirt. She, frankly, looked freaked out.
“I-yeah, I think so,” he said, gathering her closer to him.
“I felt the doorway close,” she said, perturbed. “They can’t open it by themselves and I’m too little.”
Her chin wobbled and Jon kissed her forehead, shushing her. “It’ll be okay, Dawn. I’ll take care of you, I swear.”
Her sob woke Connor and, because Dawn was crying, he started crying too. His door burst open, Faith and Tara standing in his doorway, wild eyed. “It’s okay,” he said, just a little frantically. He seriously did not need four bawling children on his hands. Two was bad enough. “It’s just, the, uh, the move seems to be permanent and Dawn’s not, um, handling it well.”
The tension flowed out of Faith’s body and her shoulders slumped. She pressed a hand to her face and seemed to count to three, even as Tara clambered into bed with them.
“You sh-should call Janet, now,” she said quietly, folding Connor against her. It was one of the most bizarre things he’d ever seen and-wait. Just wait a minute.
“Janet?” he said carefully, although if he thought about it, it made sense. She had the most stable schedule of pretty much anyone at the SGC and she rarely went off-world, she was already a mom, and she had at least one spare room and a basement in her house. “Well, Janet it is, then.”
He reached for his phone as Faith scooted onto the bed but Tara laid her hand on his wrist before he could start dialing.
“We won’t-I don’t think we’ll remember,” she said, worrying her bottom lip, frowning. “The magic here, it’s different, less used to being wielded, and I don’t think any of us have the power to cast a spell to keep them. And when the tie was cut to the other world, that cut off our connection. I don’t think we’ll keep those memories.”
He took a deep breath and asked, “Will they go away gradually? Because we could find a way to record them or write them down or something.”
“No,” she said, scrubbing a fist against her eye. “I can already feel mine slipping. I think, when we wake up in the morning, we’ll be the age our bodies are.”
He maybe panicked a little, arms clenching around Dawn, who’d already passed out against his chest. “That’s-I’m sorry.”
She patted his arm and said through a yawn, “It’s okay. We kind of thought, after the first day, that we probably weren’t going to be able to go back again. And we chose you b-because we know you’ll keep us safe.”
She lay down before he could stop her and fell asleep, Connor dozing against her shoulder. He looked at Faith, who was staring at him with dark, fathomless eyes.
“This is gonna be a shit show,” she said, hands fisting in the covers. “I wasn’t-I didn’t have anybody when I was this little and Connor was in a hell dimension. Baby D and T will be okay, but Con and I’ll be- Jonny, bubs, we’re the dangerous ones. I don’t know if these bodies’ll keep our powers or if they’ll go with the memories. I guess it don’t matter. We’ll still be dangerous. Jon
“Stop,” he said, pulling her against him until she could bury her face in his shoulder for a moment. “You won’t be dangerous. Powers or no powers, memories or no memories. You’ll be safe, everything will be fine. I-I’ll call Janet and we’ll figure out what to do. Just-go to sleep. It’ll be fine in the morning.”
She stared at him for a second, then hesitantly lowered her head onto his chest. “You’ll still love me in the morning, even if I get mean?”
“Tomorrow and always,” he said, kissing the part in her hair. “Nothing will ever change that.”
She must have believed him because she went limp against him and he closed his eyes, breathing deep. Tomorrow was going to be a hell of a day.