A few hours after The One in the CommissaryWhere:
The Russian baseStatus:
"You didn't have to do this." Ami sat on the foot of the lower of the two bunk beds. In keeping with the motif that they were "guests," she'd been provided with reading materials, pens and paper at her request. Dr. Markov had even gone as far to make certain that the books and magazines were in English and on a variety of topics. She leaned against the cool wall, knees bent, magazine open against her thighs.
"Sure I did." Jon mimicked her position, his body perpendicular to hers with the exception of his magazine being held up by his outstretched arms. "I would never have gotten any sleep tonight with you freaking out in the back of my head. All worked up on being left alone in a strange place as a prisoner."
Initially, Ami's escort had been resistant to Jon returning to Ami's quarters. The young soldier was under strict orders to escort 'Miss Jackson' and Miss Jackson only. When Jon turned on his usual charm and brilliant personality, Daniel had to step in before the other soldiers did. However, it was the arrival of Dr. Markov that smoothed over all things as she stated that General Vaslovik would have no problem with "the young man remaining with Miss Jackson when it is only logical that one would not want to be alone in a strange place under these circumstances."
"I'm going to be alone," Jack pointed out, but no one seemed to care about his pain.
"I would not have freaked out," Ami scooped up her magazine and whacked his legs with it.
"Whatever you say, Jackson." Jon pulled his legs up to avoid her onslaught. "But I'm here now and they've locked us in so we're kind of stuck together. I've had worse roommates." Jon raised his head a bit to look at her. "You don't snore do you?"
"No, but I do sleep starkers."
Jon gave her a wolfish grin that would have done Jack proud. If Ami hadn't felt his amusement and teasing, she might have actually been worried and embarrassed by it. "Really?"
She thwacked him again. Hard. "No." Jon flinched back and gave a slight wince, then frowned when she hit him yet again. "You are absolutely incorrigible."
"Yeah, I've heard that before." Jon sat up and swung his legs over the side of the bed, laying the magazine aside. "I've always kind of preferred rakish."
"You know. Rogue. Scoundrel." Jon crossed to the small table and snatched up two pieces of fruit from the small bowl there. That, and several bottles of water had been the concession to a 'nighttime' snack before they were sequestered for the night. He impressively tossed both shiny red apples in the air and started juggling them. "Think they'll send us up a board game if we ask?"
Ami watched him, a wry smile on her face, while he juggled. She suspected that if she looked up the word enigma in the dictionary, she would find a picture of Jon. After nearly a year, Ami still think that she got him or had even scratched the surface of figuring him out. The past twenty four hours added no clarity; he'd run the gauntlet of his usual overprotective and annoying paternalism to a low of self-depreciation and doubt that Ami wouldn't have thought him to be capable of.
(It changed something,) Ami realized with sudden comprehension. Seeing Jon disarmed and doubting himself last night had changed something between them. She had caught a glimpse of a part of him that she hadn't suspected existed, probably a bit none of the other Tomorrow People thought was even there.
More importantly, he'd allowed
her to see such and didn't immediately turn her aside. He let down his guard and permitted her to get close telepathically. Different circumstances and a different place and time and none of that would have happened.
But what did that mean?
Jon faced her, pulling his eyes away from the juggling balls. He frowned and lost pace juggling. An apple dropped, caught in mid-air telekinetically for a beat before continuing its fall. "Stop looking at me like that."
"Like what?" Ami asked.
"Like I'm some kind of puzzle you can figure out," Jon waved his hands at her. "I'm not a puzzle that you need to solve, so stop that."
"Certainly," Ami returned her attention to her magazine, though she was already bored with it. It was a standard fashion magazine – filled with beauty tips, expensive clothing and the requisite sex and relationship articles. There was a reason that she hadn't bothered reading the bloody things since her days at uni, back when she actually thought she needed the hints to chat up a bloke, keep his attention and drive him wild in bed with ten different secrets that women never knew.
Ami tossed the magazine aside with a heavy sigh. "Right then, I'm bored." She sat up and then froze, surprised to find Jon's eyes trained intently on her from where he sat in one of the less than comfortable wooden chairs. His face was completely unreadable and nothing untoward leaked past his shields.
"You too, huh?" Jon offered. He wasn't embarrassed to have been caught studying her so intently.
Ami slid to the edge of the bed, trying to ignore the inexplicable full body blush that warmed her from her head to her toes. She reached up and tugged her hands through her hair, pulling loose the hair tie that held it back from her face. /We're stuck here together for the rest of the night. So, unless there's some top secret escape plan that I haven't heard about, I think I'm going to focus on getting some sleep./
/We shouldn't do this./
/Talk? Telepathically?/ Ami frowned at him. Now, he was carrying paranoia to extremes. She made her way toward the provided change of clothing. If she had to sleep here, she was going to do it in something more comfortable. Also, she didn't relish sleeping in the same clothes she spent the entire day wearing. /Do you think they can hear us?/
/No, but I think that we're going to look pretty suspicious staring at each other and not
/That's why the lights will be off and we'll be sleeping
./ Ami glanced back at him, "Turn about. I need to change."
"You really were joking about the whole sleeping nude thing?" Jon teased, but he obediently turned his back to her, granting her a modicum of privacy.
"Let's just say that you aren't in any position to find out, mister."
After she changed, Ami drank a bottle of water, and ate a few slices of apple, they turned off the lights and prepared to turn in for the night. Jon opted for the top bunk, but Ami halted him before he could climb up there, grabbing his arm.
"Jon, wait a minute."
"You want the top bunk."
"No, I –" Ami took a breath, grateful for the darkness of the room. It meant Jon couldn't see her face, although he no doubt could feel her humiliation at her display of and admittance to weakness. "You were right. I didn't want to be alone. Here. I would have been complete rubbish left alone."
"It's okay, you now that right?" Jon asked quietly. "No one was expecting superwoman."
"I know, but … would you just … stay down here with me for a bit? Just until I'm asleep?" Ami closed her eyes, though there was little difference between that and the darkness of the room. She felt a fool for showing this much weakness, particularly given Jon's protectiveness and her inherent uselessness thus far.
The bed shifted, dipped and creaked beneath Jon's weight. He nudged her with what she presumed was his knee, "Slide over."
Ami did, startling briefly but then relaxing as his arm encircled her shoulders. She leaned against him, resting her head on his shoulder. "Thank you."
/You're not useless,/ Jon said, his telepathic voice gentle and soothing in her head. /Don't think that. You're human and this is all so far away from anything you've ever done – being freaked out and afraid is normal. I kinda envy that you have that./
/Do you really?/
/Yeah, I do./
Ami sensed that he truly meant it. They didn't say anything else, but he was still holding her when she fell into an uncomfortable slumber.