"Oh," Sarah said as the stone grew hot. She dropped it, realizing she had made a wish but expecting it to just give Jon understanding of how she felt. She was against forcibly altering his mind with a wish, but it wasn't actually intentional, and surely that would be relatively benign. But that wasn't her biggest concern at the moment, she was thinking she needed to grab it before he did, but for some reason, some force gripped her, preventing her from moving.
Their worlds drastically changed with a bright white flash of light in a way more severe than either could have imagined.
Sarah opened her eyes. Jon opened his eyes. I opened my eyes. And they knew. I knew. I had done something very drastic after all.
There was no more Jon. Or rather, my body was gone. I mean, his body. The being who stood there was just me. I mean, Sarah, but also Jon. I was both. Both in mind at least. I wasn't sure about in body.
"Oh, shit," I said. I thought back over my life. My lives. I remembered both of them. The hell of it was, it worked. I didn't feel bad about this. I didn't feel overloaded. There was nothing horrifying about it. It wasn't a problem that needed fixing. There was nothing wrong about it. In fact, it was just so, so right. This was who I was. I was just, Sarah, but also Jon.
Should I try to separate again? After thinking it over, I decided, no. I definitely didn't want to do that. This is who I am. I am both Sarah and Jon. Giving up half my memories was an unthinkable prospect. And I didn't want a fight anyway. I didn't want to be separated, and for between the two of us, for there to be a fight over the stone, and for there to be a winner, and a loser, with some horrible horrible fate awaiting the loser. Like this we both win! This was the happiest accident ever! And the original unmerged Jon and Sarah, if they wouldn't have liked it, too bad, for they weren't here to voice their objections. Only me, only JonSarah, got a vote in the matter.
I looked in the mirror. 100% Sarah. Half of me should be mortified. Or maybe not? I didn't have a high opinion of me. I mean. Jon, he didn't have a high opinion of me. I mean, Jon didn't have a high opinion of Sarah. I didn't actually hate her. Karyn hated her. I, as Jon, just didn't respect her. I just had been influenced by Karyn and didn't say much in objection when she said bitch this, bitch that about Sarah, in much the same way I kept quiet when she said nasty sexist crap about guys, I was just too meek and didn't want her to hate me so I just went with the flow. But about this, I wasn't mortified. In fact, I couldn't help but like it. This is kind of actually really cool! I wouldn't have wanted it before, but now that I had it, this was amazing and wonderful, and it was just a great outcome. Total win-win! I took off my clothes. Shit, I'm attracted to myself. The old Sarah was a narcissist, but not this much, she was at least heterosexual. Well, eventually all of me will be used to it I guess. But definitely every cell of my body that could be seen was the original Sarah's. It made sense. I had... or Sarah had... or the original Sarah had... wished I would understand how she felt. I mean, how Jon would understand how she felt, not the other way around. Not that they didn't both understand each other now anyway. Ironically, both had happened in most senses. But to truly get the Sarah experience, Jon needed to be in her body, not vice versa.
I thought about Karyn. It might seem like a paradox at first. Jon liked her and Sarah hated her. But it was really quite simple. Sarah didn't really hate her. Her dislike of Karyn was born of ignorance, and it was not very strong either. Yes, jealousy, and understanding that Karyn really had it out for me and had turned me against me. Goddamn it. I mean, that she turned, Jon against me. Against Sarah! That was the only reason I disliked Karyn. I would have liked to have been her friend, actually. If she hadn't just, ruined it.
I laughed out loud, at the silliness of trying to come to terms with this and how I should even think about myself.
But about the original Sarah and Karyn, part of Jon being turned against me was fair and deserved and I knew it. I, Sarah really had changed from the Sarah our 3rd grade selves had known. In fact, I kind of wanted to punch my earlier Sarah-self from moments earlier. Calling Karyn a skank. SARAH was the skank! I was the skank! Wtf was wrong with me! Talking about people in glass houses throwing stones! Pot calling the kettle black! My picture should be next to skank in the damned dictionary! Well, Karyn deserved it too, just not as much as me. She had taken my Jon away. I mean, me away. No, Jon away. But it was well-deserved, because I had started manipulating people. She was right to pull Jon away. Because I was a fucking skank. A stupid little bitch, everything that's bad about women enough to make feminists feel embarrassed about being women themselves, all rolled up into one bitchy little package. This merging with Jon was a needed intervention. It was only out of narcissism and selfishness that I had projected my own description onto the girl who had stolen me from me. Or, well, I knew what I meant. Still, she should have known that Jon was the only one I actually really liked! But the original Sarah really kind of hated herself more than she hated Karyn. Karyn was just the messenger of her unworthiness, but even without Karyn, the unworthiness would have remained. The girl who had taken Jon away and deservingly so.
But while Sarah's dislike of Karyn was disingenuous, Jon's love of her was not. So it absolutely overwhelmed my Sarah-borne negative feelings for her. It was also much stronger than any feelings the original Sarah had for any guys. The original Sarah was a boderline psycho, only seeing people for what they could provide her with. She didn't have very strong feelings either positive or negative about anyone. It was only Jon's feelings for Karyn that were real. In fact, maybe I could keep the best parts of both Jon and Sarah? Jon was too meek to let Karyn know his true feelings. But now as JonSarah, that was no longer the case. I can be bold. I can be an extravert. Maybe not as much as before. But I had enough confidence. Not only did I like Karyn, I would break out of the friendzone with her. Was she by any chance a lesbian? I, both Sarah and Jon, had been suspecting that, but now I really wanted it to be true! How weird was that, how much things had changed in the last few minutes. God I wanted to do things with her, very sexual things. I wanted her to awaken to them, to love them, to love me, to see the look in her eyes when she realized she could love the girl she had hated for so long, I wanted to see her cry in happiness that the two people most on her mind had merged, and desperately love me back. God I didn't want to influence her mind with the stone though. No cheating. But could she like me back? Could she really be brought around without cheating? I, as Sarah, had wanted Jon, and had gotten him, more than expected. Achievement unlocked. Jon and Sarah were together forever. But now I really did want Karyn. God but I wanted her. I wanted to try out motorboating her new breasts and make her want to motorboat mine. I realized that I was bisexual now. It made sense, I was a heterosexual man and woman combined after all. Of course, Karyn was my only actual interest. I wondered what the original Sarah would have thought about that. Maybe she would have been horrified? No, she didn't really have strong feelings like that. Her sexual inclinations were mostly based on what people could give her to begin with. But I did now. And they were for Karyn. And no part of me had a problem with that.
What should I call myself? JonSarah? Jonrah? Sarn? Oh that was terrible, no, anything but Sarn. The answer was obvious. I am Sarah. Yes I'm a different Sarah, but in this body, it was the only thing that made sense. Yes I'm still also Jon, but I'm a girl, so I can't go around being known as Jon. But how did the world remember me? How would the behavior of the stone work for something like this? It retcons history to make everyone not in hearing range think things had always been that way, but what happened when there was no possible reasonable explanation for how things could be this way? What happened when Occam's razor failed and there was no path-of-least-resistance explanation except that I just had been two people who had merged as a final possibility? I had 4 parents now. If I was canonically one person and not two, I could only have been given birth to by one woman, right? Which was my mother?
I picked up the stone. "I wish I knew how I fit into this universe like this."
That was strange.
"I wish, for information, about whether the world sees me as a McMillan or a Merlin."
Was it broken?
"I wish for a 1989 US penny."
There was a brief flash of light and I reflexively reached out and caught it in midair. "Wow," I said. I'm pretty sure I couldn't have done that before, either as Jon or Sarah. Just out of random curiosity I jumped as high as I could, and would have slammed my head against the 9 foot tall ceiling if I hadn't ducked and hit my shoulders against it. But if not for the ceiling I probably would have just jumped my full body height of 5 foot 7! "For some reason, I have, like, ninja skills or something," I said to myself. Did I have the strength or speed of Jon and Sarah combined, but the weight of only Sarah? Well, I could figure that out later. Nobody had better mess with me though!
After a bit of experimentation, I learned a few things that made sense now that I thought about it. Apparently, one couldn't wish for information. This was problematic if I wanted to really figure out the true rules of the stone. I guess I should have been clued into that fact from grandpa's letter. He could only estimate the stone's range. He apparently hadn't been able to wish for exact details. It made the real rules more murky. For instance, could wishes truly not be reversed or was there actually some sneaky trick to it? Were there any easter eggs of some sort hidden in its rules, like maybe a password that you can use with a wish to undo them or make its range larger or wish for information? Also, why did it understand English? Maybe it worked for any language? But it didn't work with thoughts alone, so what if someone was mute and their own thoughts were the only thing they had?
Well in any case, not knowing where I fit in the world, that made things precarious. I couldn't just march downstairs and talk to my mom, Jon's mom, as if she was my mom and expect nothing to seem the matter. Unless I wished for it? No, let's not muck with things more than necessary. No more wishes unless I'm desperate in the immediate future. Think about it, Sarah wished Jon would understand her and it had merged our minds and bodies! The simplest thing could be interpreted in a dangerous way. Like if I wished Karyn would be in my room, in Jon's room in this house, would that teleport her? Or would that permanently trap her in the room for eternity because the wish was absolute? Or would it rewrite history so she was in the room when Jon merged with Sarah and possibly all three of us would find ourselves merged! Who knows what hidden repercussions could happen!
What should I do then? Confront my families, starting with Jon's family since they were just downstairs, or call Karyn?