Epilogue: Three's Company
"Moya," came Rygel's reverent whisper.
Everyone sat up and stared out the front window, all of them but John, who only glanced towards it and gave a small smile at seeing Moya, before turning his attention back to Scorpius.
"Pilot," D'Argo said with a smile. "Pilot, are you there?"
"Ka D'Argo, is that you?"
D'Argo's grin grew wider at the response, and Chiana let out a pleased cry, turning to give John a small shake with a smile. He glanced at her slightly, smiling softly before his eyes caught Aeryn's across the ship, leaning against the back--watching him.
He looked back at Scorpius, and D'Argo and Pilot's voices faded away. Scorpius smiled at him, and John gritted his teeth, forcing himself not to turn away. He felt the small shudder as the ship landed in one of Moya's docking bays, and his hands strayed to Winona, hovering at her handle.
"We better get you set up in the guest suite," he said, finally pulling the weapon out and aiming it, motioning Scorpius to get out of the ship first.
"John," Aeryn protested. "You promised--"
"And this pulse pistol wouldn't even faze him," John said. "Ain't that right, Scorpy? Mind if I use you for target practice?"
Scorpius turned slightly to glare at him, letting out a low irritated hiss.
John grinned and tightened his grip. "We'll take him to the lower tiers. Lock him up. Non negotiable," he snapped, turning to look at Aeryn, who nodded slowly.
"Let them take him," Aeryn said, motioning to Chiana and D'Argo. "We need to talk."
"Now is not the time, Aeryn," John said, glaring at Scorpius still. "We get him in a cage and we can go get ourselves a drink. Okay?"
"John, please--" Aeryn said.
D'Argo pulled out his Qualta Blade. "It's alright, John, we can handle him."
Rygel, obviously not intending to include himself in the 'we', sped from the room. The old woman wandered from the ship in a daze, and followed him out. John decided to worry about her later. Chiana put on the carver she had been unable to part with and aimed it at Scorpius with a smile. She wondered if his suit would stop this, or if it would just turn it to stone along with the rest of him. It was something she greatly hoped she would have a chance to test. .
John nodded reluctantly, lowering Winona, and with a growl, D'Argo gave Scorpius a shove towards the doors. When they were gone and he had nowhere else to look, he turned to meet Aeryn's eyes.
She smiled, and though he would never have thought to apply the word to Aeryn, it looked timid. "It's good to see you, John."
He holstered his weapon. It slid in with a click. "It's good to see you too," he said, though what he wasn't saying was almost as easily heard.
"I need to explain," Aeryn said with a shake of her head. "John, I-- I realized, when I was gone, that you're worth the risk, that loving you--that it's worth the risk."
John looked to the ground. A perfect time for her to realize that the risks were worth it, just when he was thinking maybe they weren't. He decided to change the subject, and looked her over to make sure she was unharmed. She looked fine. Perfect, actually. She was practically glowing. He bit his lip. He wondered if that had anything to do with what Granny had told him.
"Are you okay?" he asked.
Aeryn nodded. "Yes. I'm fine, John. Are you? I mean, Grayza she--"
"I'm fine," he snapped, and Aeryn quickly looked away.
John had always been the one to move to comfort, holding her as she fell, teaching her what to do. He was her anchor, and she didn't always know the right thing to do without his guidance. "John, I would like…to stay here…"
He looked over at her. He had never thought that she wouldn't. It hurt to think maybe she had. "That's good…I'm sure the others will…" he trailed off. He ran a hand through his hair and Aeryn looked at him concerned.
John looked up again, and she was smiling that timid smile again, like she was hoping for something she didn't understand. He had to know, he decided. There was no point to any of this if he didn't.
"Are you pregnant?" he asked, surprised at his own bluntness.
She paused at the question, her wide eyes straying away from his, and he had his answer.
She was. Had been. She had left him without saying a thing and no intention of returning, and he didn't know what to make of that. Sometimes he could look at Aeryn and forget she wasn't human, and he would have to remind himself she came from somewhere he couldn't understand anymore than she would understand Earth--and allowances had to be made. But there was only so much his heart could take.
"Were you ever going to tell me?" he asked softly, looking over at her in short glances for her reaction, for a response. Praying she would say something, anything, to help him understand.
Aeryn said nothing. She wouldn't even look at him as he walked away.
John sat with his knees pulled up to his chest in the middle of the terrace, the stars dancing around outside as Moya sped along on her way. He didn't know why he found it so comforting here, with the stars, because he could recognize none of them but one--the one that sat in the center of them all, and it didn't bring him as much comfort as it used too.
He couldn't stop watching it anyway, drawing it first on every map, calling it Aeryn if only to himself. Whatever happened, he didn't think he ever would.
He heard barely audible footsteps and the slight whir of a thronesled, and smiled despite himself. Chiana and Rygel-- things had changed for the three of them. He'd always been close to Chiana, and she always to Rygel, but despite everything that had continuously happened to him and Rygel in the past cycles--he felt closer to him now than he ever had before.
He had to admit, the slug had his uses.
Arms slipped around his neck from behind, and he felt Chiana smiling against his ear. "Hey, cheer up, old man. This is as good as it gets for us, let's enjoy it."
Rygel flew and parked his thronsled on his other side. John smiled wryly. "Scorpius is here, with us, under asylum. Aeryn is back--but she's still distant as she's always been despite she's not acting distant anymore, which is just confusing me, and Grayza is pissed--probably vowing to have us all killed if it's the last thing she does, and every single bounty hunter in the galaxy is after our heads. And…this…is as good as it gets?"
Chiana thought for a moment, and then nodded. "Yep. Raslak?"
John shrugged. "Sure, why not?"
Chiana grinned and reached across him towards Rygel, who pulled a large bottle of Raslak from his thronesled to hand to her. Then he pulled out three glasses, which Chiana took one by one to place in front of them.
John raised his eyebrows. "Had this planned, did you?"
Chiana gave him his favorite crooked little grin, and looked over at him innocently. "We thought you might need some cheering up. There's no quicker way than Raslak." She paused. "Well, except for sex."
"Raslak should be fine, thanks," he said with a laugh.
Chiana pouted a little. "You're not any fun."
Rygel snorted. "I am still here," he said. "And if you do not mind, I would just as soon not witness your kind of fun, Chiana."
Chiana opened the bottle and began filling the glasses. "You don't have to stay, Ryge," she said wryly.
He reached out his hands as she passed him his glass and eyed her critically. "Let us just get on with the cheering up so I can be done and go eat."
Chiana nodded. "Sure thing." She handed John another glass and took one for herself.
He took it and smiled at them, enjoying the easy banter that he'd grown so accustomed to in the last weekens. "It was fun, though, wasn't it?" he asked.
Chiana laughed. "Oh, it was definitely fun. Corrupt casino security, mad bounty hunters, psychopathic Peacekeeper tralks--you don't get more entertained than that, except for--"
"Sex," John and Rygel said together, with a shared look of exasperation.
"Well, yeah," Chiana nodded.
"Well," Rygel said, hitting his glass to get their attention. "I would like to propose a bread!"
John nearly choked on his Raslak. "Do you mean a toast?"
Rygel glanced at him irritably. "Yes, yes, that's what I said. I would like to propose a toast!"
John shared a glance with Chiana before motioning for Rygel to go ahead.
Rygel gave a royal little nod. "We saved the day again," he said. "I think that we make quite a good team, do you not agree?"
Chiana and John were both surprised to find they did. They grinned at each other. "Well, we managed to stay alive at least," John admitted.
"And we did save Arneesk, the priests, and our own eemas again when we set up the probes," Chiana laughed.
Rygel grinned at them smugly. "I always did think we were the best ones," he said, holding up his glass. "To us."
Chiana and John clinked their glasses with his, and they all laughed. "The three amigos!"