Title: Good Day
Fandom: Steam Powered Giraffe
Characters: The Jon
Author’s Note: There’s been so many Rabbit feels and Spine feels around lately…so here, have some Jon feels to go with them.
Today is a bad day.
Or maybe it’s a good day. But it depends on how you look at it.
Today, he can see everything. He knows who he is. Where he is. When he is.
Yesterday was easier. Yesterday he was in 1992. He was newly upgraded, converted to run off of crystal soda. It made him different. He was happier and peppier. He was very…bubbly. Everything looked new and exciting. Why couldn’t anyone else feel this good? He just wanted to make everyone as happy as he was.
Today, he’s in the present. Now. He can see how dangerous it is to keep slipping out of time. He hopes he won’t slip back into 1896 and walk out into a street, unable to comprehend the dangers of cars.
Last week, the manor was a castle. He was a knight, ready to ride out into battle and rescue the princess. He was a trained swordsman, and chivalrous to boot. He would save her life and win her hand, and then he would be king.
Today, the manor is just a manor. He makes a mental note to find Sam and apologize to him for stabbing the dragon tapestry with a broken broom handle. Everyone’s assured him he didn’t hurt anyone, but he’d noticed a dent in The Spine’s face that hadn’t been there earlier, and he had a distinct memory of fighting a rival knight in titanium armor for the hand of the fair maiden. Mr. Reed fixed him up immediately, but he’s still sorry. He hopes no one else will have to suffer to entertain his fantasies.
It wasn’t always this bad. Some days, he didn’t go that far back, or that far away. It was close enough to reality that he could function somewhat normally, except for the occasional instance of mistaking one object for another. He just didn’t understand how the other bots could deal with the overload of information that came constantly flooding in from everywhere. It was too much to process all at once.
When he went somewhere else, it wasn’t as scary as being in reality. Everything seemed somehow familiar in his own places and times. He knew where he stood. It was when he came back and saw the damage he either did or could have inflicted that he locked himself in his stasis chamber and let himself seize up with fear.
He had tried talking to the others about it. None of them seemed to get it. Sure, they had their own troubles. But he would trade his delusions for Rabbit’s malfunctions and The Spine’s flashbacks combined any day. Well, not any day. Because when he was deep in the clutches of one, everything seemed so perfectly fine to him, even if everyone else thought he was crazy.
He sits alone in a room, the door locked. He thinks Mr. Reed had come knocking on the door and looking for him earlier, but he didn’t answer. He doesn’t want anyone seeing him like this. He’d much rather be the slightly crazy happy robot who loved everyone, even if it’s only in other people’s minds. He doesn’t want them to see him cry.
He doesn’t even notice as the wall slides back, revealing a darkened corridor behind it. He doesn’t look up as a tall, thin figure emerges. He moves over a bit as the figure comes to sit next to him. He knows who it is, and he knows he would come. He always comes.
The figure puts its hand on the distraught robot’s shoulder. They sit in silence for a moment, the scientist and the weeping bot.
The Jon is the one to break the silence first. “How am I supposed to deal with this, Pappy?”
Colonel Walter stares blankly at the wall. He doesn’t say anything. He just looks thoughtful.
“Did you mean for me to be this way? Did you mean for me to be so dangerous to everyone around me?”
“I know you hate seeing me like this, like I am today. But this is how I’m supposed to be, right? When I actually know what’s going on around me?”
Walter gives him a look filled with the sadness of a father helplessly watching his son tear himself apart.
“I just want to know that I’m not going to hurt one of them. Or drift off forever and never come back. But sometimes…that’s just so tempting.” That’s all he can say. His emotion drives are overloading. He has to calm himself before he freezes. He falls quiet and cries silent, black, oily tears into the pristinely white-clad shoulder of his creator, who sits in equal silence, arm around his creation.
It would be several hours before Steve and Sam came in through the secret passage. They knew the bot didn’t want to be disturbed, but they had to get to him and make sure he hadn’t done himself any serious damage in one of his delusions. They would find him, curled up in the giant chair, oil dried on his face. He would look up at them and smile sadly. They would ask why he was smiling. He would answer, “I talked to Pappy. He gave me some really good advice.”
The humans would look at each other, a resigned sadness on their face.
Maybe today wasn’t such a good day after all.