Title: Vignette: Tsunami
Part Two: Jonah's POV
Jonah watched Cody run off to get cleaned up and waited until he was back in his room, out of hearing distance, before he called the lab. Dr. Sims answered almost immediately. “Jonah?”
“Martina, what’s happening?” The relief bell sounded and Jonah felt a corresponding tremor of relief resonate through his chest. They’d reopen the environmental shields now. “You’re sendin’ someone out after him, right?”
“Soon,” she said, but her tone was more annoyed than comforting. “But it’s not just the tsunami, Jonah, there’s a hell of a storm on the coast, and the equipment that Garrett’s working on is in the thick of it. The security team won’t go out after them until it’s safe to fly, and that’s not going to happen for at least a few hours.”
“Have you at least contacted him?” Jonah asked, trying hard to keep his voice down for Cody’s sake but really wanting to yell. This was important, damn it. “Is he okay?”
“We haven’t heard from him for several hours.” Martina didn’t believe in sugarcoating the truth. “One of our com arrays is down thanks to the storm, and it’ll take some time to repair. He made it out there without problems, though.”
“Who’s his pilot?”
Martina sighed. “Jonah, try to relax. We have protocols in place for what to do if things get a little hairy. Garrett knows them all, even if he doesn’t have to use them very often. He’s fine.”
“Why was he the one filling in for Lila, anyway? Why not a technician?”
“Garrett’s had some training in Lila’s geological equipment, more than any of the technicians. It’s one of her experiments that’s on the line here, and she’s not well enough to head into the field right now.”
Jonah knew that Lila had trouble with Regen treatments every now and then, like almost all of the people living on Pandora. She wasn’t immune to the effects of it like Cody, who was destined to grow old and die much faster than 99.9% of all humanity. None of the treatments used to prolong human life, developed over thousands of years of genetic experimentation, would work on Cody. He was a natural, a throwback to an earlier and harder time. Jonah tried not to dwell on it.
Garrett, on the other hand, was perfectly healthy. He was only a contractor on Pandora, and even though he’d promised to stay here with Jonah and Cody, Jonah sometimes thought that it inevitable that Garrett was going to leave someday. He was brilliant and beautiful and sophisticated and used to things going his way, and being stuck in the middle of nowhere in the middle of a storm unable to contact anyone wasn’t going to put him in a good headspace.
“I’ll get him back to you as soon as possible,” Martina promised.
“Okay.” Jonah turned off his com and stared at nothing for a while. Cody came back out quickly and jumped on him, pressing in close. Jonah covered them both up with a blanket and turned the holo back on to one of Cody’s shows, and he kept it on until he felt his son drift off into sleep. Jonah put the show on mute and stared down at his child.
It was funny, actually, how much Cody looked like Garrett. His hair was a darker blonde, curly instead of straight but still close in appearance, and he was a little small for his age, delicate instead of long and lanky like Jonah had been. Jack, Cody’s other biological father, had been dark-haired and dark-eyed and damn handsome, but he didn’t have much in common, physically, with their kid. After Cody had been taken out of his growth pod and handed over to them for the first time, Jack had commented, numbly, on how little their son looked like him. It had been the first sign of the problems he’d had with Cody, and the first cold dash of impending reality for Jonah.
Jack was gone now; he’d been out of their lives for years. Jonah had talked to him all of once in the past year, and that was via message, not face to face, not even over a holoscreen. It was good that way, better for all of them. It had been twice that long since he’d talked to his mother.
It was funny, actually. Garrett talked to his family at least once a week, and he did his best to include Jonah and Cody in the conversations. In the past six months Jonah felt like he’d grown closer to Garrett’s family than he could even remember being with his own, and Cody couldn’t get enough of Robbie and Wyl, Garrett’s best friends. Once they had the time it was pretty much a given that they’d all go back to Paradise for a visit, which was a good sign. They were balancing their lives, they were stitching themselves together. Jonah just hoped that they could stitch tight enough.
Cody stretched and pushed his face against Jonah’s thigh, still sleeping, but as unable to keep still asleep as he was when he was awake. Jonah kept stroking his head, switching sometimes to the top of his back. Cody settled after a little bit, taking away Jonah’s distraction, so he played Garrett’s message again, just to hear his voice.
Hey babe, I’m not going to be able to meet Cody after school. I’ve got to go fix a piece of shit system in the middle of nowhere before some practically valueless data is lost. He laughed softly. I’m sure you can tell how thrilled I am. I don’t know when I’ll be back in, but I’ll make it up to you guys, okay? I love you.
Garrett ended every message with “I love you.” Even when he was annoyed, pissed or generally short-tempered, he always made it a point to say that at the end of his messages. Garrett was surprisingly good at talking things out, a lot better at it than Jonah, who tended to ignore problems in the hope that they’d work themselves out over time. Garrett managed to make Jonah talk, even when he wasn’t interested in doing so, instead of letting things fester. Being forced into functionality, when he hadn’t even realized he was dysfunctional, was a strange experience.
Jonah shut his eyes and leaned his head back against the top of the couch. He wasn’t going to sleep, he knew that much, but the only thing that was preventing him from getting up and pacing was the weight of Cody’s head on his leg, and he didn’t want to wake up his kid. Jonah sucked in a deep breath, held it for a moment, then let it out slowly. He tried not to dwell on how much he wanted to talk to Garrett right now, how much he wanted to feel him, how much he wanted to be the one flying him around instead of entrusting him to some other pilot who might not know what he was doing.
It was better to think about other things. Cody rolled over and pressed his face against Jonah’s stomach, and Jonah smiled briefly. That was another thing his boys had in common. Neither of them were inclined towards stillness. Garrett slept deeply, but he’d gone from lying mostly still at night to clinging like a limpet, shifting and rolling and grabbing variously. Jonah would wake up sweating under Garrett’s weight, or so tightly wrapped in his arms that it was hard to breath. It was the closeness that both of them craved without having to talk about it, which Jonah appreciated. And it very often led to sex, which both of them appreciated. And…
And it was so not the thing to be thinking about when he was sitting up on the couch with his sleeping son. Jonah sighed again, quietly, and turned his attention back to the holoscreen. At least with Cody asleep, Jonah could change the channel away from cartoons.