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Night Watch

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Jonah has his blanket pulled over his head. It's a vain attempt to block out the otherworldly glow floating his direction from Tojo's computer. It doesn't seem to bother anyone else. Even Jonah thinks he should be used to it by now, but he's not, so he sleeps with blankets covering his face (“Like a little kid with his blankey,” Valmet said once, and everyone in the room had tensed, but Jonah hadn't even stirred, though they'd all been sure he was awake.), the hood on his sweatshirt pulled up, hugging the pillow that should have been under his head to his chest (“Issat his teddy bear, then?” Lehm had asked, and Jonah had thrown it at him, brows knitted together in some expression they still couldn't figure out, like he wanted to look upset but wasn't sure how.)

Tojo's laptop finally shuts, a quiet 'tak' of top and bottom meeting, followed by Tojo's muffled groan and the labored creak of his chair. Jonah knows Tojo's stretching. He follows the same routine night after night (everyone in the platoon is a creature of habit, though Tojo's nightly stretch is less annoying than some.). A long stretch in his chair. A visit to the bathroom. A pause back in the men's bedroom for just one more computer check (disconnecting wires, popping out the wireless card), toothbrush hanging out of his mouth. If he's especially tired, he'll sleep on the couch, falling into it with a springy, aching thud, but he bunks with Wiley or R (or both or more, but Jonah tries not to pay attention to that) as often as not.

After Tojo finishes his nightly routine (squeezed in between Wiley and R, after all), the room falls into quiet (easy enough, since Lehm has the night watch with Mao, and Lehm snores) and the only real indication of other people present is the faintest sound of breathing. Jonah sticks his head outside his cocoon of blankets, lets himself suck in a deep breath through his teeth and exhales with a sharp huff. He's almost disappointed when the room isn't quite cold enough (“Cool air for digestive health,” Mao says.) to see his breath. He can't sleep.

His eyes are used to the darkness. The alarm clock on the table glows a dim, red 2:16 AM. It's enough to see by. Up on the big bed, a lump moves, an arm sticks into the air, pale and skinny, fingers curled clumsily around a pair of frames. Tojo's forgotten to take off his glasses again. Jonah waits for Tojo to drop them. He waits for it every night, and it never happens. It doesn't happen tonight either. The glasses click safely onto the nightstand, and the Tojo-lump shifts back into position again, settles, stills, goes quiet.

Jonah waits. Five minutes. Ten. R groans in his sleep, mumbling incoherently to some dream companion. The heater hums into life, stirring the curtains, and Jonah startles, ducking defensively back under his blankets, closer to the corner. His hand finds his gun, reflex, the metal warm under his fingertips. A deep breath calms him down.

He can't sleep.

The blankets slide off his shoulders, tumble to the floor. They puddle around his feet like so much mess. He resists the urge to fold them (he never has before, why should he start now?). He slips his gun back into his hoodie pocket, where it weighs him down, heavy and comforting. Much as he hates it, he won't (can't) leave it behind.

Voices float through the suite's door from the hotel hallway. Jonah scoots out of the bedroom, hands tense and stops in the hall. It's hard to hear, but it sounds like Lehm and Mao are arguing good-naturedly over something. It's a good sign. The more Mao talks, the safer the situation, and Jonah relaxes a little, lets out a breath he hadn't realized he was holding. He listens for a minute, watching the faint shadows that have sneaked their way in under the door, but Lehm and Mao move on. Nothing to report, no reason to stay. That, too, is reassuring, and Jonah pads through the suite, his bare feet sticking to the fancy tile floors just a little. He shuffles onto the warm, carpeted floor of Koko and Valmet's room.

Slipping by Valmet isn't like sneaking past Mao or R. Valmet is like Jonah; she sleeps with weaponry in hand. He's seen how quick she is with a knife in hand, has been on the wrong side of it more than once while practicing, and he has no desire to be on the wrong side of it when Valmet is still sleep-drunk and can't tell if Jonah is friend or foe. At least his feet won't stick to carpet, though the fsh-fsh of his toes in its thick pile is loud in his ears.

Valmet shifts, murmurs something in her sleep and Jonah freezes midstep, already shifting his weight away, away from the couch she's sleeping on. He watches, holding his breath, waiting for her to wake up and launch, but she only rolls onto her belly, one arm dangling off the couch. Jonah waits a slow count to ten before moving again. With her face smushed into the couch cushions (she'll have lines on her face in the morning), Valmet's marginally less of a threat now than half a minute ago, and he slides through the room a little more easily.

The AC cuts on, shifting the heavy curtain. Light from the street lamps outside stabs under the curtain's edges, between its margins and the walls. New York might never sleep, but Koko does. Like the dead.

What an unsettling thought. Jonah shakes it off.

Hidden by the couch back, Valmet snorts loudly, once, and Jonah is struck by the bizzare urge to hide behind the curtain. Only curling his hands tightly around his gun stops him. The metal settles him. Valmet is asleep. He knows she is.

He doesn't want to let go of the gun, but Koko will kill him if he climbs into bed with it. Again. Mindful of the sleeping body on the nearby couch, he lays the gun to rest as gently as he can on the side table. The soft 'tak' in the quiet is almost startling, and he starts to rethink what he's doing. Things never seem as good in retrospect.

But Jonah wants company, and Koko is the only one who has not only offered it, but insisted on it (sometimes a little too strongly maybe, like when she pounces him and steals kisses). And for whatever reason, despite everything that is so blatantly wrong with her, Jonah trusts Koko in his own way. She's never done him any wrong, at least. Has always seemed like she's cared, even if only superficially. It's enough for him.

Jonah wriggles out of his hoodie (experience has taught him it's a bad idea to wear it; not only is it too hot, Koko tends to yank on things in her sleep, and he doesn't relish being choked again), dumps it on the floor, and crawls into bed. Koko's warmth seeps into him, her breathing floating across his skin. She shifts, and one arm flops over him, whumping against his hip hard enough to make him wince. But it's Koko, and she curls around him, graceless and familiar, so he lets it slide, lets himself slide, until dim light fades away entirely.

He wakes late the next morning, rubbing at his eyes. It's late enough that Valmet is long gone, and even the dip in the mattress where Koko slept is cool and empty, but when he steps into the kitchen, still groggy, still slightly blank from dreams that emptied his head, no-one comments on his odd sleeping habits of late. Lehm offers him milk, Valmet cereal, and Koko her usual overenthusiastic morning greetings.

It's okay.