An Unexpected Gift


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And Also:

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Scene Title An Unexpected Gift
Synopsis Even a life of oppression and segregation brings with it some sweet moments.
Date April 11, 2011

In Dreaming

Even in this prison camp they live in, there are moments of beauty, moments of the sublime. Moments that remind the prisoners that life is worth living for, worth fighting for, worth enduring even when imprisoned and castigated, even when oppressed and degraded.

The miracle that sleeps nestled in the protective arm of a father was certainly not planned. Not in this place where people are treated, often, worse than animals — like beasts of burden, and sometimes with less freedom.

After all, even horses and oxen are allowed out to pasture, not kept in hovels surrounded by razor wire and electrified fencing. Not kept from reaching their potential with negation drugs or anklets that threaten to set off alarms, bringing guards with machine guns, let alone robots that spray bullets faster and more accurately than the human guards can.

That the little child, a boy, was allowed to be carried is a miracle in itself, bought at the price of pleas and bribes and God knows what else. It's at the back of Jaiden's mind, what else he will have to do to keep this child alive and well, in a place like this.

He's already lost one child. Beth would have been a toddler now.

As if still connected physically, though they always will be emotionally, mother and child stir at the same time. Monica Dawson's eyes open to look at her unexpected family… a man she once called friend, found here in the prison — it was only natural they would cling to the familiar. The tiny baby, a little small and a little early, but not dangerously so, also opens his eyes, a pale gray-blue that will likely change as is the way of newborns, and stares up, little hand balled into a tiny fist that waves for attention.

He sits, hands clasped together, on a crate scavenged from somewhere, gazing down at the sleeping paire. It's only when the blankets stir and the shimmering white of irises can be seen that Jaiden speaks, his voice barely above a whisper. "Good morning…" But whether this is directed to Monica or to the little boy nestled next to her is left unsaid. He's still tall, but the musculature that he was known for has dwindled, his stature thinner, more gaunt, as the needs of his body outweighed the needs of other things. Muscle needed for energy, burned away on one of a multitude of work parties in the city. "I…I managed to trade for some formula. One of the guards - his car was giving him problems, so I fixed it for him and he brought this in." He nudges a battered can of powdered formula a bit closer. "Might get him to gain a little weight."

Miracle is the right word for it. It's a miracle that there's something in a place like this that can bring a smile to one's face. But as Monica looks over at Jaiden and the boy, she replies to the greeting with a smile before stretching a bit like a cat. Morning has never been Monica's best time.

"You're a good dad," she says to the news, proud and approving, as she actually pulls herself up. She rubs at an eye before she comes over press a kiss against both of the boys' foreheads before she crouches down to smile at the baby. "Gotta grow up big and strong, right, Peanut?" she asks as she lets one of those little hands wrap around a finger.

Mother's voice has the baby making a soft noise, lips parting — just hours old, his repertoire is rather limited, and it's not a heartbreaking cheetah call of a cry so he's not starving for the milk Monica's body holds for him, to be supplemented with that formula his father has bartered for.

Their room here is not a private one, but one Monica shares with several other women who have found other lodgings for this night, to let this small family have a few moments of piece. Two cots, small and hard, have been pushed together so that Jaiden was able to sleep close, though now he sits on the edge of his instead.

A worn and folded paper of names rests on the mattress, one that had been added to along the months of pregnancy, in a worn down pencil. Some crossed out. The final choice is circled.

Jaiden Micah Dawson-Mortlock.

For now, it's as close to a birth certificate as the baby has.

Jaiden's eyes crinkle, the corners of his mouth going up in a small smile at that kiss to his forehead, his hands (washed just a few moments ago, in fact) reaching out to brush over the boys tangle of hair, stroking over the impossibly soft skin of his forehead, the other going around Monica's waist, giving her a tight squeeze. "It'll all be okay…" he whispers, leaning against her. "It's all going to be okay. We'll get out of this…"

But where would they go? They're negated and in a prison, with robots and razor wire and guards….if it were them, they could try…they could do something - anything….to rage against their captivity, but now, with the new boy. "He's…he's so beautiful. Almost as beautiful as his mother."

Monica's hand moves to rest on the back of Jaiden's head, a soft gesture. Comforting. While it's true Monica's still good at the butt kicking, those robots and wires and etc are a bigger challenge than she can take on. Otherwise they'd already be gone. "We're all together, that's what's important, Jay," she says, voice also soft.

At those last words, she gets a crooked smile. "Talk like that is what got us into this in the first place," she teases.

Family… something that haad been lost for both Monica and Jaiden… is an unexpected and unlooked-for gift in this place. The baby, little Jaiden, or JJ as they've already taken to calling him, punctuates the words with a little keening cry.

Apparently, he's hungry after all.

In another time, two dreamers awake in the midst of the night, the smell of baby skin still in their noses, the cry of that little infant still in their ears.

Skinny Brickfront

Jaiden awakes from his dream, this time without a shout, without tears, but feeling strangely serene. Peaceful. Wrapped in the confines of his sleeping bag, he sits up and stretches, not sure what to feel about what the dream told. A son…a son with Monica. And they're in a camp, negated, bugged, surrounded on all sides by adversity, but, they're together. And that's all that matters. He gets to his feet and walks to the bathroom - the one that still has decent plumbing in this place, to clear his bladder and his mind in order to get back to sleep. The windows are closed but allow a little external light in, and the small LED flashlight Jaiden carries with him lights the way rather well, too.

It's been the better of these dreams. And considering the whole internment camp thing that isn't necessarily a good thing, but the family — that changes her outlook on their situation.

She needs a moment; letting herself feel the lingering joy of new motherhood and then the sting of the realization that it was just a dream.

Which is why she runs into Jaiden in the hall on the way back to his room. Almost literally, too, for lack of paying attention. And then there's an awkward shuffle backward. "Sorry," she says, her tone just a little embarrassed.

The first Dream that Jaiden had - the one where he was captured and overwhelmed by negation gas and a gun to the back of the head, revealed that he had a Daughter in that timeline - Beth, who died from the flu before she was old enough to matter to anyone more than her mother, whoever that might be, and Jaiden. But this one….this one, at least, had somewhat of a sweet ending to it. His mind is well and truly fixed on that ending when he bumps into Monica in the darkened halls, his attention drawn away, the flashlight shining down at their feet, giving the whole scene a surreal glow. ""It's….it's okay." Jaiden smiles softly at something. "Everything okay?"

There's a bit of a pause at that question, but Monica looks at him, lips pressed together for a moment before she smiles, too. It's a little crooked, but warm all the same. "Yeah. You know, I think it is."

She sort of gestures back toward her room, "I was just—" Dreaming about having your baby? Hardly appropriate! "…gonna go for a run or something." Which for her, probably means along rooftops, but it makes for a good excuse to be up at this hour.

"Be careful." Jaiden's voice is soft as he looks in the direction she gestures, leaning over one one side to look around the shorter woman. "Don't want to get caught or anything."

There's a sigh from the larger Australian man. "Bloody hell I had a strange dream."

"Oh, don't worry. They haven't caught me yet." It's just a little bit of overconfidence. But hey, they haven't! Yet!

Monica doesn't quiet turn to go her own way yet, and doubly so as he mentions the dream. She looks over at him with a bit of a curious look, though. "You know, I did… too. Have you been having those… weird future dreams a lot, too?" It's a cautious step toward the subject.

Jaiden leans against the closest wall, hooking his thumbs in the waistband of the sweatpants he wears when he sleeps, nodding briefly before clicking the flashlight off with a stab of his thumb.

Here, in the dark, the dreams seem more vivid to him - more real, and easier to speak of. "This will be the second one that I've had. The first….wasn't good. This one….was good, but in a different way."

"Yeah, I've had a couple not so good ones, too," Monica says, relaxing some when the light flicks off. She leans against the wall, too, her hip resting against it as her arms fold loosely over her torso.

"So you had it, too?" She asks, a hint of nervousness in that tone. "Because I just had one that wasn't so bad."

If one is paying attention, the glint from his eyes as they fix on Monica can briefly be seen - a flash of green from a lone streetlight just outside, somehow still powered. "yeah, I did. I was in a concentration camp. Negated and bugged with a tracking device around my ankle. In a small room with two cots pushed together. With a new baby and…." He trails off, looking down and away. "And you."

"Yeah…" Monica confirms, but she trails off into silence there for a few moments. But just a few. "I can't decide if that makes this more awkward or less. That you had it, too," she says with a light laugh. She shuffles on her feet a little, the mimic's nerves making it hard to stand still. Just a little quirk she's got.

"it's awkward, no matter how it happens." Jaiden says softly. "The one dream I had was with a guy from the Ferry that I'd dealt with a few times before - and I'd like to talk to him to see if it was shared too. Lizzie, " He means elisabeth, of course. "has had a few of them too, that have been shared with a couple of other people so….no…the fact that it was shared isn't the freaky part." He looks up.

"The fact that we were in the future, with a baby, in a concentration camp…that I had to trade for formula to keep Peanut…" he sniffles. "To keep Peanut fed…"

"Yeah, mine were being arrested, questioned and tossed back into jail and then trying to save someone from a massacred village. Before tonight. So the future has been looking pretty bleak so far. I'm not sure if anyone shared the other ones with me or not." Monica tilts her head some, but at the sniffle, her can feel her hand slipping into his.

"Hey, Jaiden," she says, that gentle voice sounding pretty familiar at the moment, "You did good. I can't say living in the camps would ever be the best situation, but I know I was… happy. And if I have anything to say about it, no son of mine is gonna grow up in some camp. If there's one thing Dawsons have in spades it's mother bear instincts and foolhardiness." It's a little joviality there, trying to cheer him up.

Jaiden's hand closes automatically around Monica's, giving it a light squeeze, his fingers shifting slightly to the side to link with hers, holding it tightly. "It's frightening, having dreams like that. Of a dark future, but then little lights, like JJ, show up and change your entire outlook on things." He chuckles softly. "You would like me mum, I think. Able to change a tire, shear a sheep, and raise kids right. You'd probably be that sort."

"Yeah, it is. And maybe it'll start to go that way. But I don't believe there's no hope for change." Which probably explains why she started up with Endgame in the first place. "And it's nice to see it isn't… all bad. Even in these dreams."

Monica smiles as he goes on, nodding a bit, "Sounds like my kinda lady."

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