“Jay.” He doesn’t look over, burrowing his head deep under the covers. I don’t try to pull them off. I just stand, waiting.
“Kiddo. It is past noon.”
I sit down beside him. “You know, sometimes it’s hard to be anyone. Me, you, even Honcho. Sometimes it’s hard for someone to be themselves. Sometimes to be anyone at all.”
Jay makes a soft, sniffling noise. He can’t cry since he lost his sight, but right now I think he wants to. I reach over, ruffling his hair gently, and he makes a loud keening sound and is pressed against me a moment later, his body shuddering violently against mine. I hug him as tight as I can as he lets out the sound over and over again. Glass cracks in the window of the hotel room and he stops, panting for breath.
“Hey,” I whisper. Jay looks up, unseeing eyes full of shattered light. “Feeling better?”
He shakes his head.
“Crying louder might help, but I bet you’d really break the windows then. And my ears.” He blinks, not moving. “But then I wouldn’t have to hear you crying, so I’d win.”
Jay giggles at that and relaxes a little. “It hurts.”
“I know. Every time the magician uses you like that, he blames himself. Hurts himself. He can’t help it.”
“But I don’t blame him!”
“He still blames himself. Sometimes, you can be Jaysome and still do stupid things.”
“Thanks. For, for lots of things and – and being Charliesome!”
“I wasn’t before?”
“Nope,” he says, but grins hugely and hugs me, only shaking a little bit.
“I see. Well, you need to get up and have lunch and,” I add sternly, “since you slept the whole morning away, this means we have to have a really big adventure this afternoon.”
Jay nods quite seriously to that and is out of the bed and throwing on clothing in a blur. I let out a sigh of relief I hope he doesn’t hear and put my coat on, opening the door.
A hotel employee is standing in the hallway. “We had a report about broken glass?”
“I had a cry but I’m all better now,” Jay says and offers up a huge grin that leaves the man in a dazed silence as we depart.