Jay jumped as he heard the sudden knock on his door. He looked up, and had to think for a moment and remember where he was, which often happened when he spent too much time on his work without a break. Slowly, he remembered he was in Adam’s house, in the guest room, and it was… He checked his watch. 12:33. Judging by the sunlight leaking through the closed blinds and drawn curtains, it must have been just past noon; Jay had started working around eight the night before.
He heard another knock, and he was reminded of what brought him out of his trance. “Jay, I brought you some food.”
Jay blinked, and he quickly got up. “What about you, haven’t you eaten?” He asked as he pulled on his hoodie.
“Uh… No, I was gonna wait and eat with you-”
Jay suddenly tore the door open fast, and he saw Adam jump right outside his door from the sudden movement. “Don’t ever wait for me!” He snapped.
Adam blinked a few times. “…Sure, okay… Anyway, I microwaved some chicken nuggets, you want some?”
Jay’s eyes lit up a little and, without a word, he left the room, heading quickly down the hall. Adam watched him go, before he glanced into the bedroom curiously. He could just glimpse through slightly ajar door what looked like a strange machine, like one of those heart monitors in the hospital, but it was connected to maybe a million wires, and it was turned off. There were tons of diagrams of brains printed all over the walls, of all sorts of scans. Adam’s brows furrowed, wondering not for the first time what the hell Jay did in his spare time. “What are you doing in there-?”
Jay was suddenly beside him again and cut him off by shutting the door abruptly, and pulling Adam down the hall with him. “Where’s Ivor?” He asked as they went down the stairs and around to the kitchen.
“Uh… I think he went for a walk or something with Rascal and Apollo, and Ty’s out drinking.” The pair sat at the two stools by the kitchen bar and Jay instantly took a bite of one of the nuggets Adam had heated up.
Adam ate one of them whole and swallowed it with a sip of water before he asked, “Jay, what are you making? If it has to do with my dreams, I wanna know. It better not be illegal.”
Jay chewed his chicken slowly and swallowed before finally answering carefully. "Well... I think - I hope - it'll enhance your dreams.”
Adam’s eyes narrowed, alarm bells going off in his head. "What? I thought we were trying to stop the dreams from happening, not make them worse!"
Jay shook his head. “Don’t panic, you don’t understand what I’m saying.” He said. “It's more complicated than that, you can't just stop dreams like that without causing serious brain damage. See, I have a theory that your dreams aren't... actual dreams. The tests I did on you a few days ago proved that."
Adam blinked. "Wait, what tests?"
Jay continued on without answering him. "When you sleep, you don't even enter the REM cycle. You just lay there. You don't dream at all."
Adam’s brow furrowed. That didn’t sound healthy. "Then... If the things I see aren't dreams, what are they?"
"If I'm correct, and I have been so far, they're memories."
"Memor - no that can't be right, how can I remember places I've never been before?"
"Because they're not your memories."
Adam stared at him blankly.
Jay drew a deep breath, took a sip of water, and stood from his stool. “Okay, I'm going to need you to listen to this very carefully. Are you listening?"
"I'm trying to..."
"Well, try harder. This is a major plot reveal point here. I'm going to explain the multiverse to you, right here, in this kitchen, while you stuff your face with microwave chicken nuggets. Here we go..." Jay cleared his throat and gave Adam no time to think before he continued. “So! I’ll start from the very beginning. This place, this rock you live on hurtling through space, is called Earth. You like it here, you’ve never left, you’re comfortable with all the stars above and metals below and all the continents and the one sun and one moon. Well, what if I told you that there are an uncountable number of other universes like this one.” Jay reached up and started to look through his cupboards as he spoke. “They can be just like this one in every way, or they can be more different than you can comprehend. There are worlds with magic and dragons and battles with sword, and there are futuristic worlds with space travel and ray guns and aliens. And with every single one of these worlds, there is a different version of you, and these other you’s are called counterparts. Are you following?”
Adam just stared at him with big eyes, having had stopped chewing on the nugget in his mouth several quick sentences ago.
Jay didn’t look at him, already knowing how he would react. He pulled down a bottle of vodka as he kept going. “Okay, cool. Anyways, some universes are closer together in spacetime or the cosmos or the void or whatever you want to call it, and that part is a whole lot more complicated with the quantum physics and all that, but basically, sometimes, worlds will be so close together that they can, figuratively speaking, collide. A gateway can open between realms, and people can bridge the gap and travel between them as easy as driving from here to Canada. Inter-dimensional is already a thing between many worlds, and the way things are going, our dimension, good old Earth, is probably going to be in contact with some other very soon. You know how I know that?” He asked, pouring some of the vodka he found into a shot glass.
Jay gave him a half glance over his shoulder. “Because you personally have already made contact with another realm, and one of your counterparts.”
Adam stared at him, his face pale as he tried to take in everything he had just heard. Under different circumstances he would never believe this man who just walked into his house one day and was somewhere between ignoring him and constantly badgering him about his health, but with his dreams and the flashes and everything, he could see no other choice. He tasted something sour in his mouth.
Jay set the shot of vodka down in front of him on the counter. "Drink that, it'll help.”
Adam downed it instantly, and Jay leaned against the counter, watching him with those bright, almost alien blue eyes, shining with curiosity. "So, this may or may not be true, but what I think happened is you or one of your counterparts messed with something, probably something magic, that resonated between realms. Have you been messing with any meteors or magical artifacts recently?"
"...Uh...” Adam thought back. “N-No..."
"Well, you would probably know if you did, so I'm going to guess that it was one of your counterparts instead. Well, in any case, according to my theory, what happened is your consciousnesses were linked because of your counterpart's contact with a magical artifact and now, when you sleep, you see their memories, and when they sleep, they see your memories. But it's not strong, which means you just get flashes that disrupt your daily life at random times, whenever something you see reminds you of a memory that belongs to your counterpart. We can't see what world you've become so close to, or who your counterpart even is, because your bursts are so short. That is why we have to enhance the dreams so that you take can control of it when they're awake. You take over their body while you sleep, find out where you are, find out in that world how to fix your situation and find out how to sever the link so you can dream again. If I can get this machine working, which shouldn't be a problem, you will literally possess your counterpart in another dimension and go around the world finding some magical thing so you can stop seeing your counterpart's memories when you sleep." Jay finished with an exhale and he looked at Adam again with twinkling eyes.
Adam stared back at him with huge eyes, face white as a sheet as he realized just how crazy and impossible this whole situation was; but still, he could see no other alternative. As crazy as it was, it had to be true. It was the only answer that made sense, and posed a solution.
Jay only smiled at him sympathetically and poured another shot of alcohol into the glass. “More vodka?” He suggested, holding it out to him.
Adam took it and downed it, sighing in resignation after it was gone and rubbing his forehead as he set it down a bit harshly on the counter after. “You’re going to turn me into an alcoholic…” He joked half-heartedly, in a low voice.
Jay stared at him, blinked a few times, and then seemed to remember something. “…Oh. Yeah.” Adam swore he looked a little paler as he dropped the still half-full vodka bottle in the trash can. “Anyways.” Jay looked at him again with a slightly twisted smile, and he was back, as strange as ever. “So that was Theory of the Multiverse 101. How do you feel?”
Jay smiled a little. "Yeah, it tends to have that effect on people..."
Adam stared at his empty glass for several seconds, before he looked at the shorter man again. "Who are you?"
Jay blinked. "...Just... Jay Provst, you know-"
"You're a genius, Jason, you know what I mean.”
Jay's gaze softened and he fell quiet. "...I can't tell you everything... I just know things. That's all I can say. I just... know more than most humans about the dimensions."
Adam sighed, but he knew he would have to be satisfied with that answer. "Are you ever going to tell me?"
Jay hesitated thoughtfully, before he shrugged. “Maybe someday, if you get me drunk enough." He joked, and Adam laughed just a little.
"Well, that was a lit to take in. I feel like I've been enlightened, like I should go meditate or something... hey, what does all this multiverse stuff have to do with God and religion?"
Jay hesitated, thinking over his next words carefully, before he finally shrugged again. "Who knows? There are plenty of theories, but nothing can be proven, not yet anyway."
"...What do you believe in?"
"Me? I'm a scientist, Adam, I'm an atheist."
"I guess that makes sense... I'm just agnostic. I don't know what I believe." He thought for a moment, before he looked at Jay again. "When do you think your machine will be ready?"
Jay smiled some, blue eyes brightening a little, if it were possible. "You're ready to go through with the procedure?"
"It's more like I just want this whole thing to be over with... I don't feel ready to go to another realm at all, but... Yeah. I guess I’m as ready as I’ll ever be."
"That's expected." Jay nodded mildly as he went through some quick equations in his head "Well, in that case, I'll go work on it. With a few all-nighters, I can finish it quick!"
Adam nodded back. "Okay, but, you should take care of yourself first..."
Jay just shrugged before walking down the hall back to his room. He disappeared inside without another word.
Adam watched him go, before he took a deep breath and got up himself. Instantly, he felt a little dizzy, but he just snorted and cursed before going to the television to wait until the vodka wore off.