Sweet Dreams



Also featuring: Sleeping child

Scene Title Sweet Dreams
Synopsis A mother watches her son sleep and wonders what's coming.
Date April 10, 2019 (the wee hours)

Elisabeth's Apartment

I sit in his room, in the same rocking chair that I used to nurse him, and I listen to him breathe as I rock. He's a tall boy for his age, but that's not terribly surprising. His father was not a small man, nor is my father. His eyes have the same shape, and his chin too. But he has my platinum hair… Norton's is several shades darker. I see hints of my mother in him too… in the shape of his mouth. The sweet little cowlick at the right side of his forehead — the one that drives him crazy when he notices it. And for all of his attempts to be a big boy, he's still so small. I have to smile as he snores a little in his sleep. Only children can sleep with such innocent abandon, secure in their world.

He breathes with a soft little whuffling sound that has been there since he was an infant.

As I watch him by the soft glow of the nightlight, I remember holding him for the first time. I remember odd little snippets of his birth… Niki telling me to "Push harder, dammit, don't you wuss out on me now!" Cat's expression when she first got to hold him. Felix's awkward attempts at figuring out how to hold such a tiny being without breaking him. And I remember crying … oh so many tears. For the friends we lost… for the father who would never see his son grow to be a man, never have the chance to teach him the things he thought were important.

This isn't the first time I've sat here in the darkness, wondering what his life will be. Wondering if I do the right things for him. If Felix and Lee are good enough role models for him… if I ought to whap Gabriel and Baxter and Deckard in the head for teaching him things no seven-year-old ought to learn at a dinner table. If I've given him enough of a normal life that he'll be okay as an adult and not some book-smart idiot lost in his music. If he knows how very, very much I love him.

How very much just the sound of his breathing makes everything right in my world.

The arrival of time-traveling people from our past… including his father… frightens me. I believe that there are reasons for everything in the universe. And with that belief comes the realization that they are here for a reason. What the reason is hasn't come clear yet, but … some part of me wonders if it is something profoundly bad. And the part of me that is Cameron's mother wonders if there's any way to get my son, the center of my universe, the hell out of Dodge.

His breathing changes and he laughs in his sleep. And it makes me smile.

What if they can't get back? What if some of them don't want to go back and their very absence negates this timeline? What if they go back and just their knowledge of this future is enough to destroy it? Will we even know? I asked Hiro Nakamura one time, not too long after the Moab raid failed, if he'd tried to change the timeline before. He gave me this look that I will never forget — I've often wondered how many lifetimes that man has lived. Whether he ages as the rest of us do. He dodged the question, but the general jist of what he said to me …. is that some things have to happen just the way they happen. I read somewhere that Nature abhors a vacuum… where one exists, it will attempt to reassert itself. Where man changes the course of a river, nature will forever attempt to correct the course and bring it back, as close as possible, to the original. I remember thinking the analogy of time as working the same way apt…. and only now do I understand how terrifying that idea, how overwhelming the knowledge of what may come, can be.

I can only do what I believe to be the right thing. I have to help our friends get back… even knowing that they will go home with foreknowledge of their own fates. Maybe some fates are written in stone… maybe they're not. But either way, if they don't go home, this beautiful, fragile being that I nurtured inside and with my body and to whome I gave birth may never come into this world. And his fate, too, is part of that river. I have to believe his presence, and the presences of Abby's children and Delilah's son, and all those who've been born since then… I have to believe that they, too, are supposed to be here. So I have to trust in God and Nature to assert themselves and set the balance right, and I have to help that happen.

I stand from the rocking chair and move to the side of his bed, gently stroking his hair as I do most nights before I go to sleep. My fingertips touch his still-baby soft face. His cheeks are losing their rounded shape. He's becoming a person, not just a child. He's lost his first few teeth already. He loves his music… and his rocket ships and airplanes… and he begs me for a dog regularly. And as I lean down to kiss him tenderly, I can hear his soft little-boy breath and smell the freshly bathed little-boy smell of him.

Tomorrow Mommy has to go help save the world…. or something…. again. Right now? I just gotta get outta these heels.

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