“So, you and all the others know how I regress, right?” Jack started off.
“Yeah,” Merritt replied. “What about it?”
“Well, you know my ex, Trent? The guy I dated before you?”
“Yeah. Never liked him much. Got a bad vibe.”
“Well, uh, he… liked to, uh, take advantage of me while I was in littlespace.”
“He raped you‽”
“No, no, uh, more like, uh, hitting me, and getting me to do stuff for him, because I didn’t really know it was wrong?”
“So, now, whenever I feel myself starting to regress, my brain panics, thinking I’m gonna get hit or something, and I get fucking catapulted out of littlespace and into a panic attack. I was wondering if you, as my boyfriend and Merritt McKinney, expert mentalist, could help me?”
“Yeah, yeah, sure, I can do that. So, like, how do you want this to happen? I could make you forget it ever happened, I can get you into littlespace through hypnotism, we could try and do it manually? Also, do you want the others to know?”
“Uh, yeah, first try it manually, then try hypnotism. Uh, also, sure, tell the others.”
“Alright, little one.” The mentalist started trying to get his boyfriend into littlespace without giving him a panic attack. “You’re so cute, little one, you know that?” It backfired. Jack had a panic attack very quickly.
“Hey, hey, hey, Jack, shh, breathe, you’re safe. You’re here with me and I will never let anything hurt you.” It wasn’t working very well, so Merritt shifted tactics. “Can you hear me?” A nod. Barely, but a nod. “Okay, listen to my voice and nothing but my voice. As you listen to my voice, everything else slowly starts to fade away. As you listen to my voice, you notice your breath slowing down, calming down, breathing much easier. You are safe here, and your subconscious knows this, and reacts accordingly. You’re starting to feel very tired, so so tired. I am going to countdown from 5 to 1, and when I reach one, I will snap my fingers and say sleep. You will do so. 5… 4… 3… 2… 1. Sleep.” He snapped his fingers and his boyfriend fell asleep, falling into his arms. “Great. Okay.” He picked him up and carried him to the bed. “You rest here, you don’t need to be awake right now. Rest.” He stood up and walked to the kitchen where the other two horsemen, J. Daniel Atlas and Henley Reeves, and their leader, Dylan Shrike, were sitting, eating breakfast. Dylan stood up.
“Sleeping. I need to talk to you guys. It’s about Jack.”
“Okay, yeah, sure, what’s up?” Danny and Henley seemed more attentive.
“So, you guys know how he regresses, right?”
“Yeah, of course, as a result of foster care and having to grow up quickly.” It was Danny who said that.
“And you know his ex, Trent? The guy he dated before me?”
“Yeah, of course. He was kind of a dick to me,” Henley said.
“Not just to you. Apparently, when Jack was in littlespace, he would hit him and have him do things for him, nothing sexual, just, things, I don’t know the details. So now, whenever Jack starts to regress, his brain panics and catapults him into a panic attack.”
“Well, we have a person to kill. Is that why he is sleeping?”
“Yeah, he asked me to help, first we tried it normally. He had a panic attack and I hypnotized him to calm him down and then made him sleep. Panic attacks take energy out of you.”
When Jack woke up, he was slightly disoriented. He got up and wrapped his blanket around himself and trudged to the kitchen
“Jack!” 4 people chorused. He winced, not used to the noise.
“Oh, shit, sorry, that was probably too loud,” Merritt said.
“Did you tell them?”
“Yep. They know.”
“Jack, why didn’t you tell us?” Dylan asked.
“He, uh, he threatened me.”
“Oh, he is so dead.” Daniel growled.
“Are you okay, though, Jack?” This was said by Henley.
“Uh, yeah, I think. He never left any major or lasting injuries.”
“That’s good, at least. When do you want to try again, Jack?” Merritt said.
“Uh, I don’t know, later today or tomorrow.
“Alright. I love you.”
“I love you too.” The two magicians kissed. Dylan, annoyed at the display of affection, kissed Daniel. Henley, annoyed at both of the displays of affection, but with nobody to kiss, groaned loudly. The two couples pulled away.
“I want a significant other, and you four kissing is making me remember how lonely I am.”
“Oh, sorry, Hen.” This was said by Jack, a lot softer spoken than he normally was. Merritt looked up, staring intensely at Jack. “Whatcha doin’, Mer?”
“Reading.” Jack smirked, clearly getting an idea.
“Okay then, do you know what I’m thinking right now?” His voice was louder than before, more like himself.
“Oh, of course I do. You want me to pin you down, chain you up, and-“
“WOAH. Let’s stop there, we don’t need or want to hear that. You go do that stupid shit in privacy,” Daniel interjected.
“Alright. Come on, Jack.” Merritt smirked.
“Mer, I think I’m ready.”
“Okay. Stand up.”
“Alright. Listen to my voice, let it wash over you. And, sleep.” He snapped his fingers and Jack slumped over onto Merritt. “You can feel yourself slipping, sliding, falling down, deeper down, always deeper, always faster. You can feel your brain comfortably slipping away, down into sleep. Feel your breath slow down. Feel your brain slowly slipping into a younger and younger headspace. You are safe and little and dada’s here and he won’t let anyone hurt you. And, wide awake.” He snapped his fingers again and Jack opened his eyes and lifted his head. His eyes seemed to hold more childlike wonder than usual.
“Hi, baby,” Merritt said, immediately slipping into his role as Jack’s caregiver. “What do you want to do?”
“Pway wit you and Dywan and Danny and Henwey!”
“Okay. Follow me.” Merritt took Jack by the hand and they walked to the kitchen together.
“Hi Dywan! Hi Danny! Hi Henwey!”
“Hi Jackie!” Dylan replied.
“He wants to play with you guys,” Merritt said.
“Alright. We can put off our planning for a bit,” Danny said.
“Yay!” The three sitting at the table stood up before sitting down on the floor near where Jack and Merritt had recently sat.