Don't Let Me Sleep
He remembered how it used to be. Walking down Moya's corridors, Scorpius always in the corner of his eye, tracing his steps, whispering in his mind. He could handle it. He ignored it, wished him away, and consoled himself with the fact that it wasn't really real. Scorpius wasn't there, just a phantom that had been placed in his mind.
But it was real now.
Harvey was gone, no longer smirking in the peripheral, but Scorpius was left in his place--and that was so much worse. Now it was the real thing he felt watching him every time his back was turned, the original Nosferatu following all of his steps.
They'd given up on the illusion Scorpius was under control. He walked the ship freely as any of them, just as Crais had. He stalked the lower tiers, appeared when least expected, heard everything they didn't want him to.
Sikozu was almost as bad. He could feel her watch him every time he stepped in the same room. Weighing him. Trying to find out why Scorpius was so obsessed with him. He should remember to tell her, that if she ever found out, he'd like to know.
Footsteps sounded behind him and he turned the corner, trying to stay one step ahead, even though he knew that with Scorpius, he rarely managed it. Chiana came from the opposite direction, and he almost smiled, because she looked as wary as he did. She'd reached some kind of tenuous truce with Sikozu, but she hated having Scorpius here as well. All of them did.
All but Sikozu and Aeryn.
Aeryn who had made him promise.
Chiana grabbed his hand as he tried to pass her, pulling him reluctantly to a stop. She ran one of her hands across his cheek. "There are shadows under your eyes."
He doesn't tell her, but there are shadows in hers.
Footsteps again and they both turn. Scorpius stood at the end of the hall. He smiled, then disappeared.
"If you ask," she whispered. "I'll kill him."
"It's not as easy as you think," he answered with a wry smile.
"Crichton, I'm serious. You promised. I didn't."
He played with a strand of her hair, rolling it between his fingers before letting his had drop away and turning to walk away. "Don't hurt him unless you think he's going to hurt you," he said.
She watched him go, then slammed one of her hands into Moya's side and slid to the floor. John kept walking away, and she was sure he hadn't even heard her outburst. He only heard one thing anymore.
Footsteps. And he could hear them again. The opposite direction now. Only monens, and Scorpius probably knew the ship better than them all. He turned another corner, he had no reason not to, he was headed nowhere. He was just trying to escape--only this was where he always went to escape, Moya, the one safe heaven he had in this place.
And now Scorpius was here too.
He'd been forced to endure the voice daily for cycles, so it didn't quite have the impact it had before. He let one of his hands slide across Moya's surface as he walked right by him, never looking back.
A frustrated growl, the Scarren in him, sounding faintly before the footsteps started again and grew faint.
He passed Aeryn's quarters, and she was sitting in the middle of the floor cleaning a pulse pistol. She looked up, smiling hopefully--and it was painful for him to see so he turned away. He knew what she was hoping for, and none of it mattered, because he couldn't give her what she wanted. At least not yet. Not now. Not with Scorpius around every corner. Not when she had made him make a promise, and for her, he had to keep it.
Another turn and he left Aeryn behind, she was standing in the hall alone now, he could feel her watching him leave without turning around. Silently pleading that he turn back. He couldn't. He had to keep going, because he didn't know what would happen if he stopped.
Sikozu was leaning against the next hallway, that sly 'too smart' grin firmly in place as he walked by. She doesn't speak, and he doesn't either, he just holds onto the wall to keep from stumbling and continues on his way.
He didn't know how long he had been walking like this, but it was getting hard now to stay on his feet. He barely slept anymore. Maybe a few arns, here and there, since Scorpius had come onboard asking for asylum.
He never thought it would be possible, but he was actually missing D'Argo's ship. There were no shadows to hide behind there, no where to run either, but at least you knew what you were facing. Scorpius slipped through the halls like a ghost, somehow always knowing where he would go before he did.
"You can not avoid me forever, John."
Smiling again, Scorpius came from the turn to his left. He paused, fighting the urge to give in and simply sink to his knees. Not in front of Scorpius. Not at all. He couldn't sleep. If he did, he might wake up to find everyone he cared about dead.
"Why are you doing this to yourself?"
There's no kindness in the words, no concern, John wouldn't have believed it even if there had been. There was curiosity, Scorpius honestly wanted to know. That alone was reason enough not to tell him. John smiled dimly, bumping Scorpius's shoulder as he kept moving. "Evenin', Grasshopper," he said faintly, and behind him, he heard Scorpius sigh.
No footsteps now, Scorpius hadn't moved. John hoped he'd given the chase up for tonight, tormented him enough to last him until tomorrow, but he didn't let down his guard.
Faint music and he smiled, 1812 rolled quickly towards him and John picked him up without stopping. "Quiet," he said gently. "I'm trying to think."
1812 stopped at once, seemingly able to sense his discontent. He was grateful for the DRDs, they were one of few comforts left. Scorpius didn't understand why he cared about DRDs. John wasn't surprised. Scorpius didn't understand a lot of things about him. What made Scorpius so dangerous was, he actually believed he did.
His steps led him towards Pilot's den, and he entered the dark chamber quietly, wary of the shadows, smiling softly only when he caught sight of Pilot sitting within a small pool of light, in the very center of the room.
He still missed Elack's Pilot, his Mother Teresa of the Uncharted Territories, yet another on that growing list of those that had died for the love of him. He felt closer to Pilot for his connection to her, even though he knew how very different they were. They still looked so alike, and it felt good to be with him, because even after almost four cycles with cursed John Crichton, this Pilot was still alive. And that had to count for something.
Pilot looked up as John stepped up to him, placing 1812 gently on the console surrounding him. "Commander," he said surprised, taking in his drained appearance. "Is everything alright?"
"Yeah," John smiled, and he hoped that in the dim lightening, it wouldn't look as forced as it was. "You mind if I hang around awhile?"
Not even blinking at the use of untranslatable human slang, Pilot nodded. "Of course, you're always welcome, Crichton."
"Thank you, Pilot..."
John stumbled to his knees the moment he finished speaking, his legs giving out from under him. He hit the ground hard, but managed to keep himself from crashing entirely onto the floor. He heard Pilot's alarmed voice behind him, and knew he had to answer, before he called the others here.
"I'm fine," he said. "I...ah...tripped."
He could imagine Pilot's incredulous look, but he didn't have the strength to turn. He pushed himself back against the wall of Pilot's console. He felt cold, and he remembered, other times, when he had sat here with Aeryn in his arms to keep him warm.
That felt like so long ago now, back before the shadows seemed to move, back when he could sleep. Now there was always something lurking just behind the next turn, and there was no comfort in telling himself it was only in his mind. These footsteps were real, and he could hear them all the time.
"I'm just going to rest my eyes," he said tiredly. "1812, stand guard--Pilot?"
"Yes, Commander?" Pilot's voice sounded almost scared, and if he had been more himself, John would have realized the fear was for him.
"Please don't let me sleep..." he whispered desperately.
Pilot promised he wouldn't, but only when John starts screaming does he wake him up.