Disclaimer: Not mine. Rating: PG. Set: between Season of Death and Suns and Lovers, I think.
Notes: Came to me on the walk home, then almost got eaten by Domino who wanted me to write about her and Milo. Luckily, I think I got most of what was in my head into this (sadly, I know I forgot some). I've got the Trouser remix of the Pet Shop Boys' Red Letter Day playing, and it's probably one of the most bittersweet remixes. Ever. Really fits this, I think.

Always Waiting For That Red Letter Day by ALC Punk!


It's not a question that she has ever asked. It has, occasionally, haunted her for the last two cycles. Strangely, it never seems to occur to the others.

The others who go on with their daily lives as if nothing has happened (not that it has, and she knows there is delusion if she believes she is the centre of their worlds). Even now, she can hear them, dimly.

Crichton and Aeryn, dancing around their closeness, but determined to be glad the other is alive (and whole, but Zhaan won't ever tell that John isn't whole, that's not her secret). D'Argo, alone again in his quarters -- probably contemplating how much has changed in so short a time (lost his best friend for his son, lost his beloved to his son, lost his son to betrayal). In her own chamber, Chiana is silent (and Zhaan wonders if she still contemplates her betrayal or if there are other things to occupy her.

Here, there is the man Zhaan loves, asleep beside her. His hand rests lightly against her shoulder, as if he waits for her to wake (to startle or stop).

She can feel the calmness and serenity of Moya all around her, and it fills her with resolution.

Moving carefully, she leaves the bed, stopping to touch him gently, keeping him from waking. I will be back, she thinks. I will always be back.

Silence, the heart-beat of a living ship, fills the corridor, and she continues to think. To drift and ponder.

To consider the things she has learned.

From Crichton, she has learned to perservere, to push herself until she falls down. And he has fallen down so many times, that she wonders if he knows truly why she brought Aeryn back to him.

Aeryn Sun possibly suspects, though Zhaan doubts she would ever speak of it. From the ex-Peacekeeper, Zhaan has learned to forgive. To believe that people are more than the facets they present to the world (a lesson she should have learnt long ago, but maybe had forgotten).

It is strange to think of the woman who helped hold her captive for all of those years in a positive light. But Zhaan has given her life for Aeryn's, so perhaps she is entitled.

A step to the side to allow a DRD pass interrupts the flow of her thoughts. Irritably, she wonders if Chiana understands all that her passion has wrought. The young Nebari girl has brought her exasperation and belated affection. In Chiana, Zhaan has seen herself as she once was. And she hopes that life doesn't twist for her as it did for Zhaan.

Perhaps it already has, although Chiana has not learnt from it.

D'Argo has taught her patience, she decides as she stops in the small area that he and Aeryn occasionally use to spar and keep up their martial skills. The patience of a warrior trapped against the wall of a cell for seven cycles (a patience she thought she had mastered so long ago). Chains could not keep him from hope, and neither has the destruction of his dreams.

And Zhaan can still feel the bitterness of her own broken dreams as they crunch silently beneath her feet.

I am dying, she thinks angrily, I am allowed to be ungrateful and bitter.

This is how I see you. John Crichton's voice echoes in her head, a measure of the Unity they once shared spilling over her. Strong, serene, confident. She touches it, marvels at how real it seemed then (how real it seems now, but she is dying and there is no going back. Ever).

There is a strange constancy to the filter of her thoughts.

Pilot would understand her frustration at being trapped by something she can never change. Of course, Pilot is also doing everything he dreamed he once would. Exploring the galaxy, flying amongst the stars. Although not in quite the way he once thought.

And what has she learned from Stark? The question is unanswerable, she decides as she reaches her destination. Perhaps later, she will consider it.

She steps into the center chamber and studies the hynerian seated at the table.

Purile, some would say. Selfish, others.

From Rygel, she has learnt that being selfish is not wrong. It doesn't make one inherently evil to want the best for one's self. It's a lesson that might once have helped.


He jerks and stares at her, hands hovering over the plate of what Crichton has called mussels (although the hynerian term is actually rather rude). "This is my portion, I'm not eating anyone else's."

The defensiveness of his tone doesn't escape her, but this is not why she is here. "Why did you choose us?"

"Choose? I chose nothing!" He snaps, eyeing her.

She sits, unwilling to pace, unwilling to admit that her body is beginning to demand she rest again. She dislikes this slow death, would prefer to go quickly so as not to feel it coming. "At the beginning. When you decided to free us from our cells. Why did you choose us?"

"Oh." She doesn't think he's going to answer for a moment, but he seems to guess she'll stay until he does. "Crais had ordered my death." A mussel enters his mouth and he chews contemplatively for a moment. "Even though he was supposed to keep me alive, I had... annoyed him too much. He would have killed me and then waited until the right moment to 'accidentally' find me dead."

So there was no reason. She wonders why the bitterness is back. "Ah. Thank you." And she is up and moving towards the door. There is a man who is warm and who loves her in her bed. Perhaps returning there will settle her (if she has learned nothing from Stark, she still yet takes comfort in the beauty of his soul).

His voice reaches her when she's at the door. "I also... liked the look of you."

The lie in his voice is no less comforting than the truth would have been. Which is strange. She has, she thinks as she slips through the corridors and back to her cell, learned much from these people.

Perhaps it will be enough to sustain her in death.


"I'm always waiting for that red letter day.
All I want is what you want" - PSB 'Red Letter Day'