Over the course of the next few days, Jay stayed in his room almost all the time. He only came out of his room to eat or use the bathroom – and once a night, he would come out because they would watch a movie. The first night, the same day Adam was enlightened, they watched a Kung Fu movie about parallel universes with Ty and Ivor. Ivor fell asleep halfway through, though none of them could really tell because of his ever-present sunglasses which completely concealed his eyes. Ty would laugh at bits in the film and look at Ivor to see his expression, only for it to be completely deadpanned without fail. He didn’t realize that Ivor was simply dead to the world until the end credits were rolling and he heard a soft snore come from him.
“You know who he reminds me of?” Ty asked after the television had been shut off and they were all sure Ivor couldn’t see or hear them.
“Who?” Jay asked, only half paying attention.
Ty studied the big man slouched on the couch beside him with Apollo dozing off right beside him, and seemed to have proven his own hypothesis as he nodded. “Terminator.”
Jay looked at Ivor again, thought about what Ty said, and a second later burst out laughing loud enough to wake both Ivor and his helper dog with a start. Ty and Adam looked at each other and snickered as Ivor looked confused and a little angry, as usual. Apollo let out a big, sleepy yawn, before his intelligent, bright blue eyes fell on Rascal, and watched almost in amusement as the slightly smaller dog chewed on his own tail.
So, for at least twenty hours a day, Jay would stay in his room and work on… whatever it was he was making; every now and then, though, Jay would wander out, pale and tired-looking, to visit Adam. Usually, it would be to make sure Adam was sleeping or eating or whatever it was Jay was anxious about that day. Adam noticed pretty quickly that Jay had an affinity for worrying about his health, but not his own. Once or twice, though, Jay would come out just to have fun and not ask about anybody’s health; usually, that was when he was exceedingly exhausted and barely capable of active conversation.
One of these days, during one of his slow slurs of a sentence, Jay mumbled out, “’feel like Scotty sometimes… not bad, though, not a bad thing…”
Adam made the oh-so-common mistake of asking Jay to explain himself. “Scotty who?”
Jay looked at him blankly, processing what he said. Slowly, his eyes opened a little bigger. “You know… Scotty. Montgomery Scott. Star Trek?”
Adam made a shrugging motion.
Jay’s expression grew more incredulous with each passing moment. “…I’m showing you Star Trek. Sit.”
“Oh, okay, sure-!”
“Sit.” Jay insisted, his voice almost dangerous, but Adam could only laugh at how serious he was about showing him a program made half a century ago.
Jay made him watch not one, not two, but eight episodes – and the only reason they even stopped for the night was because Jay fell asleep in the middle of the episode. It wasn’t a graceful sleep either. His arms were crossed, his head leaned back on the couch behind him, mouth open wide as he breathed loudly, almost snoring. Adam couldn’t stop himself from talking a picture and sending it to Ty, who was holed up in his room (asleep in theory, though Adam knew he would be playing some video game in the dark on his laptop till as late as sunrise, work tomorrow or no).
After Adam felt he had gotten pictures of Jay from every angle, he slipped his phone back into his jacket pocket and moved closer. Gently, he slid his arm behind his back and under his knees, and picked him up carefully. It wasn’t hard; Adam had made a habit of going to the gym at least three times a week years ago, and Jay was astonishingly light for a man his age. Adam took him down the hall without any real difficulty, Apollo following sleepily at his heels. At first, Apollo had gotten protective or worried by Adam touching Jay, but now, he was used to it, and recognized that Adam was a positive influence on his master.
When he reached Jay’s slightly ajar door, Apollo helpfully nudged it open for him before slipping inside. Before it opened, Adam had seen a soft blue glow coming from inside, but he had been too tired to question it. In fact, it wasn’t until Adam had laid his friend in bed and gotten him all settled with Apollo curled up at the foot of the bed that he really noticed the eerie, unnatural glowing. His brow furrowed, and he turned towards it, not sure what he was expecting to see. And it certainly wasn’t anything he would have foreseen either.
It was a machine. It looked somewhat similar to those one would find positioned next to a hospital bed, only these were around a simple old-looking lawn chair with a sheet laid over it. They had all sorts of charts and the like, supposedly to monitor the vitals of whoever was sitting in the lawn chair, but none of them were on at the moment. The blue glow was coming from a monitor on the bedroom desk. Adam stared at it silently, debating whether he should go over and finally find out what the hell Jay did in here. Eventually, he found himself moving closer before he had decided on one thing or another. He leaned on the back of the desk chair and squinted at the screen curiously, but what he saw wasn’t what he had expected.
He thought he might see some lines of code, maybe a word document with equations or notes on it, maybe a TV show or something pulled up… But what he saw was what looked like a video feed of two people communicating in a dark hallway, like that of a castle. One of them looked… weirdly familiar, though he couldn’t place how. With the curly brown hair and the gold necklace he looked almost like… He noticed a chat bar open at the bottom of the screen, and he blinked. Oh, it’s just a cutscene in a video game, he thought to himself, and reached down to the keyboard to type something dumb and embarrass his friend online, but as soon as his fingers touched the keys, the screen went black so abruptly it made him jump as the room was bathed in darkness.
He felt his heart beat a little quicker as he stared at the screen, calming down again, before suddenly, some dark green words appeared, illuminating his confused face again just slightly. They were in another language he had never seen before. They seemed to reshuffle and mix up again, until they were in what Adam recognized as binary. They tried another few times until they were in English, and Adam could easily read it.
Enter Passcode: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Now it made sense… But why had it been set off just when he touched the keyboard? And what were all those weird letters? They weren’t part of any language he had ever seen before… He tried thinking of what the passcode could potentially be. “Uhh…” He muttered to himself absent-mindedly. As soon as he spoke, though, the screen went black again, startling him once more.
There was another tiny hesitation, before more words showed up on screen, this time distinctly in English, and colored white.
Not yet, Adam.
Adam felt his blood run a little cold at how the computer called him by name. How could it possibly have known it was him, and what did that even mean…?! Adam looked over at Jay’s sleeping form and simply watched his chest rise and fall for several seconds, trying to figure out what the hell the scrawny man could even be hiding. Finally, he realized with a sigh that it was none of business, and probably not dangerous anyway. Even if it was, there wasn’t much he could do about it. Oh well, he thought to himself, giving up and walking out of the room, let’s just hope he isn’t a terrorist.
Four days total passed after Jay and Adam’s long discussion on dimensions, and after the run-in with Jay’s computer, Adam didn’t see much of him for the last day and a half. It was almost midnight on the fourth day when Jay finally came out of his room pale and even skinnier than normal with pretty obvious circles under his eyes, raving about the things he had to do and another place, which Adam could only assume was the place his consciousness was going to be sent (he still wasn’t used to the idea but he was too depressed to worry about it anymore). Adam was about to ask Jay what the hell he was going on about and when the last time he slept was, when Jay suddenly turned to him with a border-line wild look in his unnervingly bright blue eyes.
“Let’s do it!” He cried, voice higher than it normally was.
Adam stared at him, wondering if he actually meant what he thought he meant, before realization dawned on his face. “What – now?! Right now?!”
“Yes! Now, now, now, it’s all prepared! Have you taken a shower yet today?”
“Perfect, here!” Jay shoved some totally white clothes which reminded Adam of doctor’s scrubs into his hands. “Clean yourself off completely and dry your hair and put these on and then, come to my room so we can get started!”
Adam opened his mouth to ask a question, but Jay had run back down the hall before he could. He stared after him, before he glanced at Ty, who had been leaning on the counter across from him, with wide, confused eyes. Ty looked just as alarmed as he did.
When Adam finally got himself all cleaned off and dried and put on the scrubs, he went into Jay’s room very cautiously and looked around. The machines were working full power now, every single one lit up and giving some sort of information. He could hear some sort of sound coming from all of them, be it whirring or beeping or whatever else. Jay was standing beside the lawn chair with a clipboard in hand, jotting notes down a mile a minute, while Apollo was curled up on the bed, stunning blue eyes open and watching Jay intently, on alert. Adam couldn’t blame the husky at all for being concerned. He was pretty worried himself.
When he entered, Jay looked up, smiled, and finished writing his note before he set the clipboard aside and walked over to him. “Perfect, good job. Now, just come this way, over to the chair – you look good in scrubs, actually. Ever thought of being a doctor?”
“Uh… no.” Adam said as he sat on the lawn chair. He was hesitant to lean back, but Jay guided him with one pale hand on his chest and the other on his shoulder until he was fully laid out on the chair.
“Alright. Good... That’s probably good, actually, to be honest. Can you imagine if you got one of those flashes in the middle of a surgery or something?” Jay laughed, though it sounded more nervous than happy. Hearing that didn’t calm Adam’s racing heart, but he didn’t say anything as Jay jittered through multiple sentences that sounded like some weird tech language he didn’t understand - or maybe he was just talking too fast for human comprehension. Who knows?
Finally, Jay turned to Adam again and leaned over him, abruptly sticking those weird suction-cup like monitors to either side of his head, like those seen in the movies all the time. “Alright, now I just turn this on…” Jay fiddled with the machine right beside the bed, pushing up a switch, and right when he did, the machine directly behind him went off beeping so fast it made Jay jump and curse. “Oh, Jesus!” He looked behind him with big eyes, observing which machine it was, and Adam found himself getting more worried by the second. “Wh-What’s wrong…?!” The machine beeped faster.
“U-Uh…” Jay ran to his computer monitor, all aflutter with alarm, and pulled up some page with an overwhelming amount of numbers. He skimmed all the readings on the screen, till he found what he was looking for, and his eyes widened. “Oh, shit, okay…” He turned to look at Adam again, who was breathing rather quickly.
Jay hesitated, and Adam could practically see the equations running through his head before he finally shook his head and dispelled them. He knelt next to him and took Adam’s hand in his own. Adam noticed Jay’s hands were freezing cold, like a corpse… or was that just the fear playing tricks on him?
“Hey, Adam, take some deep breaths. Okay? With me, watch, ready?” Jay stared Adam right in the eyes as he took one long, slow breath. Adam did the same shakily, and he felt his rushing mind slow a little. Everything slowed; even the beeping of the machine next to him, after they had repeated this a few times. Jay smiled a little when they had finished, and let go of his hand – it was warmer now than it had been when he first touched Adam, but neither noticed. “There… your heartrate was over two hundred beats per minute.”
Adam shuddered and cursed. “Sorry…”
“No, that’s not your fault…” Jay looked away, and seeing the room again, noticed how alone they were. It was just the pair of them, Apollo, and the machines. No medical team on hand, no scientists, nothing. Not the type of conditions he wanted to perform this experiment in, but that couldn’t be helped. He needed to help Adam, and if the god damned government wouldn’t let him, then to hell with it. He smiled at Adam again, reassuringly. “Don’t worry, okay? I know what I’m doing. I won’t let anything bad happen to you. You’re in good hands. Now…” He glanced at his computer screen again before clearing his throat. “Alright… Let’s get you all hooked up.”
Adam watched him cautiously, not speaking. He watched Jay sort through a medical bag by the bedside and pull out an IV needle, which he attached to the stand right next to the bed, connecting it to a clear sac of some liquid. Adam winced at the sight of it. “Is that really necessary…?”
“Unfortunately, yes.” Jay sighed. “I used to be afraid of needles too, but – this is for sedative. If we don’t use it on you, we’ll have to wait for you to pass out, which could take hours if ever. So, I’m going to put this in your arm now. Just relax…”
Adam tensed up as Jay positioned the IV parallel with his arm on the skin, and he had to look away from what came next. He let out a little grunt of pain and Jay made an uneasy sound, before he let his arm go and shuddered unpleasantly. “That was the worst thing I’ve had to do all year.” He said.
Adam sighed shakily. “I wish I could say the same…” He hissed out, and he looked at Jay, specifically avoiding looking at his forearm now for fear of throwing up. “Um… D… Do you even know how to do proper injections…?!”
“Oh, of course! I have a PhD in Medical Science and Theoretical Physics!”
“What – you do?!”
Jay laughed. “No, of course not, I dropped out of college when I was seventeen.”
“Oh, fantastic, yeah I never thought you would have the patience for the classroom anyway…!” Adam made an exasperated sound and covered his eyes with one hand. He was really in some deep shit now…
"You’re too right.” Jay snickered, before he cleared his throat and returned to the moment. “But, in all seriousness, take some deep breaths now, and shut your eyes. Are you ready?"
Adam slowly, uncertainly nodded. "Um… What happens if I get hurt in the other world...?"
"You won't die here.” Jay answered right away, like he had been prepared for this question. He had taken on somewhat of a sterner tone than he normally had. “Your counterpart will be hurt, not you. However, if they are killed, you won’t be able to inhabit them anymore, and you’ll be stuck with their memprize forever, which will completely ruin my experiment and just about ruin your whole life, so… do try not to get killed.”
Adam swallowed, feeling himself grow a little paler. “O-Okay… Well… I guess I’m ready…?”
"Alright.” Jay smiled at him with pretty obvious false confidence. “Deep breaths. Just relax, you'll be just fine... I promise you, you definitely won’t get in a horrible accident."
“Jaybird, that’s not reassuring…”
Jay blinked at the nickname, hesitating, before he smiled a little bigger, now with some amount of real confidence. “Relax! I promised, didn’t I? Now c’mon, deep breaths.”
Adam sighed in resignation, but shut his eyes. He heard Jay type some things on his computer, start another machine, and then he felt the sedative being injected in his arm, which almost made him jump. “A-Ah…”
“It’s okay, just sedative.” Jay said, before he took a slow breath. “Now… Listen to my voice.” Adam did as he said, focusing on Jason’s cool voice as he spoke, now very calm. Jay continued, “Close your eyes… and picture yourself falling.” Adam did so, letting his body forget the chair he was laying in, falling into whatever hypnotism this was. He dimly registered the sound of his heart monitor speeding up, but he didn’t listen to it. The sedative was taking effect already. “Falling down, down, down a rabbit hole… Breathe deeply. You’re okay. There’s a light at the end, you see it?” Adam saw it. “Reach towards it in your mind.” He did. “Picture yourself grasping it, moving towards it. Don’t be afraid. The light is safe… You can fall back into it. Go ahead. See how it feels…” Adam was starting to feel a chill falling over his body, like he did right before his flashes. In the rabbit’s hole, he fell down and down, seeming to be going very slowly, until he finally reached the light, and he touched it. Then he couldn’t see anything, as if the divine light had blinded him.
Something happened then, that he wouldn’t remember later because his memory would be wiped clean of the encounter.
He opened his eyes, neither on Earth nor in the other dimension. He was floating in some starry expanse, and he found he couldn’t navigate himself through, as if he were in the vacuum of space; only he could breath – or rather, he didn’t need to, not that he noticed. He looked around him in confused, dull alarm, but could so no one and nothing but stars dotting the endless black landscape as far as the eye could see. He seemed to be almost in some kind of… void.
Then, he heard a voice. It was soft and feminine, but old, and somewhat devoid of emotion. “Adam Dahlburg…” Said the voice, and he had no words to reply with. “I never expected to see one of his counterparts again so soon.” Adam wasn’t sure what that meant, but he figured it didn’t really matter. “…I see…” The disembodied voice seemed to be studying him without eyes, somehow. “…You can go. But be wise… Many challenges lie ahead for you; in this story, as well as the next. Be wise… and be observant.”
Then he lost all vision again, and his memory of the encounter was forgotten almost entirely; but not quite completely.
It felt like hours passed as he floated in dark nothingness, asleep but awake, dreaming but not. Then, finally, he heard Jay’s voice again, just as it sounded before.
“Congratulations, Adam. You are now officially in a different reality...”
Adam suddenly had sense again. He could feel himself sitting on something – a chair – and he could hear the sound of chatter and laughing and glasses clinking, and very distantly, waves crashing on a shore. He felt different himself too… He felt… almost just slightly bigger than before – and his hair, something about his hair was different. He realized in the back of his mind that he had made it – he was not inhabiting the body of his counterpart in whatever weird realm this was, and now, he had to figure out what the hell was going on with his head. Jay did his part getting him here… now it was his turn.
Adam isn’t Sky anymore but do I give a fuck? No! Have more Creed.
Should I relate to Jay as much as I do?? Stay tuned.
This chapter is just full of lame pop culture references but I hope you enjoy anyway <3