Note: Here's the epilogue, and I'm officially marking this story as complete. It's kind of hard to believe I'm finally done with it.


Epilogue

Her eyes were fading back to normal. Every time she blinked they got a little less blue. She had spent almost an arn in the shower, washing everything off. It was novel to see the black and white mixing and going down the drain, instead of the blue or red that she was used to.

Their reunion with Moya was everything that she could have hoped for. Moya hadn't quite felt like home anymore without D'Argo, but now they were almost all of them back where they belonged. She still ached a little when she thought of Zhaan and Jool, but she didn't miss Scorpius or Sikozu one bit.

D'Argo adored his namesake. John and D'Argo had spent arns just sitting with him since they had come back. Neither had thought to see any of the others again. Aeryn had simply stood guard over them. Chiana had hung back, leaning against the wall. She still felt a little off center.

D'Argo's miraculous reappearance should have fixed everything that was broken in her, but then she hadn't exactly been whole even before she had thought she lost him. D'Argo was distant as well. He had joined the ranks of their dead. Aeryn, John, they had been through this before. Returned as ghosts. Not quite the same as they had been before.

After Chiana had emerged from the shower, Nebari again, wearing her familiar clothes, she went looking for D'Argo and found him in command, not in his quarters, though they had left everything exactly as he had it. Not even Rygel had taken one single item from his room.

"How you doing?" Chiana asked softly.

He was at the window, looking out at the stars. They had left the nebula behind, Starbursting themselves even further towards the edge of space. Chiana always felt a little better, the farther from Nebari Prime she got.

"I'm alive," D'Argo said.

"Yeah," Chiana said. She took a slow step forward. "And there's peace and everything. I keep waiting--well, I keep waiting to wake up."

"Peace," D'Argo said wryly. "Right. And how long do you think it will last? How long until Scorpius shows up again?"

Chiana leaned against the wall, and continued to watch him. "He's not going to show up again. He's never going to hurt either of you, not ever again," Chiana said.

D'Argo kept his eyes on the stars. They were all new ones. It didn't matter that Crichton's pardons, those proclamations of diplomatic immunity, meant that they could go back. The rest of them had spent so much time looking for home, and none of them wanted to go there now that they could.

D'Argo sighed and leaned his head against the window. "How can you be certain of that?" he asked. "Are you seeing the future again?"

Chiana pulled the thin blue rods from her pocket, and dropped them into the waste receptacle, one at a time. "Something like that," she told him, and watched as the last one was flushed out into space.

D'Argo turned to face her. "You never answered me. How long do you think this peace will last, really?"

Chiana gave a sly little grin, and moved over to him. "At least until morning," she said. "So let's sleep, and get back to saving the universe tomorrow."

D'Argo smiled and pulled her closer, kissing her and then just holding on, as tight as he could. "Stay here with me, then," he said softly. "Until morning."

"Even after, for as long as you want," Chiana said, and framed D'Argo's face with her hands, kissing him again.

He never asked her why her hands were so cold.

xxxxxxxxx

John rested his head on his arms, watching little D'Argo sleep. "You know what dad did at work today? I sent a Dreadnought down a wormhole," he whispered. "They had already surrendered. I killed them anyway."

"John," Aeryn whispered, reaching out.

He stepped away, pacing to the other side of the room. "Everyone keeps saying I did the right thing, Scorpius, Sikozu, D'Argo, Chiana, you, but Aeryn, how could it be?"

Aeryn caught his face between her hands, stilling his pacing, forcing him to look at her. "You did what you had to," she said. "No one should have the power you were given, John. No one should have to make the choices you were forced to make, and maybe there was no right answer; you just did what you had to."

"I don't know I can forgive myself this, Aeryn," John said tiredly, and he sounded as though he already knew he couldn't.

Aeryn met his eyes fiercely. "And if you had let D'Argo die, John? That would be better? You could forgive that?"

He tried to pull away, but she wouldn't let him go. He thought she probably never would, and he found it comforting even as he fought to be left alone. "No," he said. "I wouldn't forgive that."

"Then you did the right thing," she said firmly. "Not the easy thing, because you never take the easy way out, John. You never let yourself get away with anything, and that's why you're not like them, that's why you're different. They do things like this and don't care."

John laughed. "It's the caring that's killing me," he said.

"No," Aeryn said, shaking her head. "No, you've taught me better than that. It's what keeps us alive."

"How do we know that this time it's over? How do we know that this time we'll be safe?" he asked.

"Who says we have to know?" Aeryn asked. "What comes will come. Look at what we have now. That's all that matters."

John leaned into her, placing their foreheads together. "When did you get so smart?" he asked.

"I've always been this smart. Now come to bed," she said. "You'll wake the baby."

John let Aeryn lead him over to the bed, and she pulled him close. They were both still wearing their clothes, their boots. Somehow it didn't seem to matter. Just down the hall he could hear D'Argo and Chiana laughing as they went to their room. It wasn't something he thought he would ever hear again.

He could still hear the wormholes too, going off like firecrackers in the back of his mind, fighting for his attention. He could still hear Harvey, even though he wasn't there. His voice played like an echo in his head anytime he closed his eyes. They would tear him apart if he let them; wormholes, Scorpius, Harvey, all of the dead. If he let them, they would pull him to pieces.

Aeryn weaved their hands together, saying nothing, and he rested his head on her chest so he could let her heart beat drown them all out, and hold onto the things he still had. Moya. Pilot. Stark. Rygel. Noranti.

Big D and Chiana. Aeryn and Little D.

And Hope. Always there was hope.

Hope that maybe this time they would manage it. Maybe this time they would outrun them all.

The End.