Aeryn could see the dark circles under his eyes even from where she stood in the doorway of her and John’s quarters. It had been two monens since they had found Moya, and John had naturally taken it upon himself to see to every aspect of Johnny’s care, and it was already beginning to wear on him.
The doctor's at the surgical facility had been less than optimistic when they were told of Johnny's symptoms. Due to the fact they naturally did not have a neural template of a human brain, John submitted himself to their scans in order for the doctor’s to compare the differences between the two of them.
When it came time for Johnny to undergo the same examines, his cries of fear could be heard outside the thick steel doors. Aeryn had not heard him more terrified in the three cycles she had known him, and it felt as if her heart would break at the sound. They were told Johnny tried several times to get up from the examination table before being able to get away from the hands that tried to hold him down. Finally, both she and John were brought into the room where they found Johnny hiding beneath one of the equipment laden tables in the room. His face growing pale as his breathing became more rapid. John tried to calm him, but that did not seem to help as the man’s cries became loud once more and she could see him shaking with fear. One of the doctors arrived with a injector containing a sedative. Johnny tried to crawl away from all of them, but John held onto him while the injector was applied to the man’s arm. After several microts, Johnny’s struggles diminished and he fell into unconsciousness and they were able to continue with the needed scans.
The results had seemed to devastate John when the physician displayed the test readouts. Several areas in the front regions of Johnny’s brain were basically dead, the areas on the scan showing a total absence of color while they could easily see the rest of his brain functioning normally. John insisted they run every test they could once more, but she was not surprised when the doctors each shook their heads sadly and said there was nothing they could do to repair the damage. John screamed at the doctors, pointing his pistol at the men, demanding for them to run the tests again.
Aeryn had gently placed her hand on top of the weapon, causing him to focus on her instead of the terrified men. She could see the uncertainty and fear in his eyes. Realizing Johnny’s condition was not the fault of the doctors, John holstered Winona and apologized quietly before walking out of the room to wait for Johnny to wake up from the sedative. It had taken several weekens, but John was becoming resigned to the fact that his twin would, for the rest of his life, believe he was a child.
"Stop moving or you'll cut yourself, dammit!" John yelled, grabbing Johnny's shoulders to stop his fidgeting movements. Once they ended, John picked up the straight razor and said, "Okay, we're going to try this again. Hold...still."
Aeryn watched for a few more microts before turning to begin repairs on the damaged control node on the hanger door. Suddenly a scream of pain erupted behind her and heard John scream, "Dammit, Johnny...I told you…to hold still!"
Running back into the room, Aeryn saw John throwing objects off the shelf while Johnny sat crying on a chair beside the basin, blood running down his chin. "What happened?"
"He started playing around as I was shaving him and the razor nicked him." John said angrily as he found a large rag and placed it on Johnny's chin.
"I told you to quit frelling playing around, and now look at you. You need to start listening to me." His voice continued to rise in anger.
"John...why don't you take on the repairs in the hanger. I'll finish up here."
"You sure?" he asked, looking at her.
Looking at Johnny's tear streaked face, Aeryn said, "Yes, I'm unsure of the proper connections."
Giving her a surprised look, John nodded his head then looked down at the other. "Hold this on tight so the bleeding will stop." He said as he took Johnny's hand and made him press tightly.
"Ouch, th...that hurts."
John pressed his lips together about to say something else.
"John, the repairs...hanger."
"Yeah, but be careful. He doesn't like to sit still for very long,” he said sharply.
"Like you do?" she responded. Aeryn watched as John ignored the remark and walked out of the room.
Looking at Johnny sitting sadly in the chair, Aeryn smiled at him and said, “Let me take a look at that and then we will finish what John started.” Taking the cloth from his hand, Aeryn looked at it a moment. “That isn’t very deep…” Reaching for a skin sealant, Aeryn looked Johnny in the eye, she said, “This will sting a bit, but it will make that go away faster.”
Johnny looked at the jar in her hand and asked, “Blow on it to make it feel better?”
“Blow…on it.” Nodding in agreement, she wondered if she would ever become accustomed to the strange things both men continued to say.
As Aeryn applied the sealant, Johnny let out a hiss in pain, and she automatically began blowing on the wound. Feeling ridiculous, Aeryn continued when she saw that it seemed to bring him some kind of comfort, even if it was minute.
She felt Johnny’s hand as he reached up and began to run his fingers through her hair. It was strange, but she could tell a difference even within these simple movements how differently this man now thought. Before there was, not really purpose, but desire within his touch. Now, she couldn’t explain it even to herself, but there was something carefree now as his fingers touched and ran through the strands of hair. Lost in her thoughts, Aeryn didn’t realize that Johnny had began to hum as he played with her hair.
Leaning back, she asked, “Feel better?”
Johnny looked at her and smiled before focusing back on her hair, lifting it up and letting it fall slowly through his fingers. She was surprised when he asked, “Why you call Daddy my name?”
It took Aeryn a couple of microts to think about it, but finally she said, “Well…I like your name very much, and so does your father, so we decided to call him by your name too.”
Johnny dropped her hair and laughed at the idea. “You’re silly…”
Smiling back at him, she said, “Yes, I am. Now let’s see about cleaning up your face so you can go eat.”
Aeryn heard the banging long before she reached the hanger. Entering the room, she saw a crate fly through the air and crash against the side of the second module and fall to the floor with several others. "Do you feel better yet?" she asked.
John looked at her briefly and picked up another crate and threw it. "I can't do it...he's so damn helpless now. I thought maybe...maybe he would start to learn things again, but he'll be like this for the next thirty-forty cycles. He can't remember half of the things we tell him. Do you realize he's gotten lost five times within the last two weekens? I've had to....I'm just…frustrated," he said, leaning his head against the side of his own module.
Walking towards him slowly, Aeryn said, “What do you want to do? Leave him somewhere he’ll be safe? How long do you believe that will last?”
John turned and eyed her thoughtfully, but didn’t say anything.
Aeryn couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She knew that John’s uncertainty had grown over the past weekens, but the thought of leaving the other Crichton behind in this condition was unbearable.
“He is ‘you‘…the Peacekeepers still have wanted beacons active in most sectors.”
John laid his head back against the module. “I would never leave him. I just…don’t know how to take care of him. He doesn’t understand anything…and what he does, he forgets after only a few days,” he said quietly. The weariness of four cycles of impossible decisions apparent in his voice.
Coming up behind John and wrapping her arms around his waist, Aeryn laid her head against his back, and said, “I don’t know what to tell you, this is just as new and disturbing to me as well, but we will figure it out together.”
Turning around, John returned the comforting embrace that Aeryn offered him. It felt hollow to him though, Aeryn’s question of whether he wanted to leave Johnny someplace safe echoed in his mind. She had verbalized what he himself had considered numerous times over the past three monens, but he had continually pushed the thought away. It was one of a couple troublesome ideas that plagued him at various times. The other being, it could have been him instead. John contained a shiver before it passed through him. If he had been the one left on Moya, this could…no ‘would’ have been his fate. The very idea of being reduced so much in mind and identity terrified him beyond words, and John couldn’t help the fear and anger that welled up within him at times. Unfortunately, it seemed to find an outlet within the other John…the newly reborn Johnny Robert Crichton. Whose only problems these days seemed to be remembering his way from his quarters to the galley and back, those were the moments when John actually envied him.
“What did Johnny do after I left? I didn’t scare him did I?” he asked, keeping his head against Aeryn’s.
Aeryn didn’t move when she spoke, her voice rumbled softly against his chest, and it felt as if the tension he felt earlier easing somewhat. “He did very well actually, but he kept telling me he was sorry for being a bad boy,” she said.
Sighing, John said quietly, “He always thinks he’s done something wrong.”
“I guess that was something that was always within you. Although I should let you know he asked why we called you by his name.”
Letting his arms drop, John stepped back and leaned against the module, and asked, “He did? What did you tell him?”
Smiling, Aeryn said, “I told him that we both liked his name so much you wanted your name to be John too.”
John laughed at the simple explanation she had given Johnny. He had been wondering if and when the question would come up, but he was glad that he had not fielded that one.
“Where is he now?” John asked, stepping away from the module and turning towards the hanger door. “I need to have a talk with him and apologize.”
“In the galley with Stark. I felt I had find you and see if you had calmed down.” she said, joining him as they left the hanger.
His step picking up, John said, “Well…let’s go before they end up trashing the place.”
“You never did adequately explain to me the real purpose of a food fight.”
“Relieves tension…” John said, shrugging his shoulders. “…and it’s fun.”
This was very rough, and this is after I reworked the areas where they found the results of the tests.