"Give me all your disappointments
Iíll give you my secrets
we could lay our heads down
Or be forever sleepless..."

  -- Jann Arden, 'Sleepless'

You were never a night person before Adam found you. Staggering home from parties or clubs in the wee hours was fine every once in a while, but you liked being awake when the sun was up, and sleeping when it wasn't. A little bit of normalcy in a life that was anything but.

But it seems you don't go a week in Sanctuary without spending at least one night wide awake. Insomnia isn't the problem -- at least, not yours. Most nights, you sleep suddenly and deeply... until someone else's emotions nudge their way into your dreams, and bring you wandering, pajama-clad, out of your room in search of the others.

Every once in a while, Shalimar's feline DNA kicks in and reminds her that she's supposed to be nocturnal. She'll stay up all night, then curl up wherever she drops throughout the day, and the rest of you work around her. If it lasts too long, you turn cat as well, to keep her company. The pair of you hold mini-slumber parties in one of your rooms, full of music and nail polish and giggling about guys in general and your guys in particular -- all of the teenage girl things Shalimar never really got to do, and you never really got to enjoy. You've woken up almost as many mornings in Shalimar's room as your own, which Brennan and Jesse enjoy teasing you about.

When Jesse's awake late into the night, he's never in a teasing mood. He sleeps as regularly and evenly as a child, unless he's worked himself up about something, chasing worries around inside his head until he can barely sit still, much less sleep. He almost paced a track in the floor of the medical lab as all of you waited for Shalimar's mutant 'cure' to wear off. The problems with his father kept him up late for almost a week; your brief 'death' cost him another three nights. Your job at these times is simple -- remove all caffeine from his vicinity, and let him wear himself out. Then you can sit next to him, your head on his shoulder or his on yours, until he talks out whatever it is that's troubling him, and he can finally sleep again.

Brennan never tells anyone when he's troubled -- he likes to pretend that nothing bothers him, that he just likes watching old movies at three in the morning, and heckling Nick at Nite. But you know better. So you wander out to join him, wrapped in an old blanket that he always winds up stealing half of as you MST3K the worst that early-morning TV has to offer. You usually fall asleep together, sprawled on opposite ends of the couch with your feet and legs intertwined, until Adam or Shalimar wake you in the morning. There are more pictures of that particular scene floating around than either of you like, but threatening Shalimar for the film, or Adam for the files, isn't really an option.

It's Adam who breaks your heart, whose darkest nights can pull you out of a sound sleep and bring you trailing through Sanctuary to find him. He's usually in the lab, working endlessly to track down a new mutant, a new control, a new way to fix the worst of the damage. Some nights, the very worst nights, you find him just sitting by the water, music playing softly in the background as he stares out at nothing. But he always knows when you come in, always looks up to greet you with a smile that doesn't hide his concern that you're awake when you should be asleep. Never mind that he should be, too.

You wonder sometimes what Adam sees when he looks at all of you, especially in those late nights. Does he see students, teammates, friends... his children? Or does he see his guilt made manifest, the living, breathing reminders of what his work did to you before you were born.

You want to tell him not to feel guilty, not for you; it's been a long time since you regarded your powers as a curse rather than a gift. And you know that you would trade any moment a 'normal' life has to offer for sharing pedicures with Shalimar, for soul-searching with Jesse, for throwing popcorn at The Brady Bunch with Brennan. A 'normal' life wouldn't have given you this family, wouldn't have given you this chance to be something that is so much more than normal could ever be.

But you know it won't help to tell him that, not really; Adam's pain runs too deeply for you to touch, powers or no. So you stay up with him, help him in the lab, or just sit with him and talk about nothing and everything, until the sun rises outside of Sanctuary and the others begin to stir. Then he thanks you with another warm smile, a hug and a kiss on the forehead, before he sends you off to bed, and resumes his work of trying to save the world from itself.

And you curl back up in your room and worry for a while, then drift off to sleep, comforted by the knowledge that, whenever night comes, none of you will face it alone.


"Four billion people surround us
so many souls lose their way
all that we have is each other
and thatís all Iíve ever wanted..."

  -- Jann Arden, 'Sleepless'

Finis

 


Notes
Why, yes, I do have better things to be doing than writing random Mutant X fic. But a certain telempath decided to perk up in my head at 1 in the morning, since apparently if Emma's awake, everyone else has to be awake. :p Lovely. Thanks to Kiks for the quick beta, to Celli for catching where the tenses changed unexpectedly, and to both of them for having enthusiasm.