Pulse

Author's Note: Basically, this story is a distorted snapshot of a possible unrealized reality or alternate reality, and not the happiest one. Don't use many names, but you should be able to figure who most of the 'he's and 'she's are, and if not, the ambiguity is semi-intentional.


Shot glasses were lined on the bar before them. Blue liquid, like Kool-aid with a kick, was measured to the top edge on each one. He reached for one, and though his hands were shaking he drank it down. Beside him, she did the same, and her hands were steady as could be.

He felt odd. For once Moya wasn't in orbit around the planet, waiting to carry them away. The only piece of her nearby was one of the transport pods, out of fuel and broken beneath a crumbling building. They hadn't planned to stay here, at first, but now they couldn't leave they were strangely unconcerned. It might have something to do with the fact they had nowhere to go, but they were trying not to think about that.

He glanced over at her. Red lights from the windows behind them streamed in and out, coloring her briefly before letting her slip back into shadows. She looked liquid sitting there, graceful and poised even under these strange circumstances. He saw she had only two glasses left. She was beating him. Two to one. He didn't really care—there were no winners in this game anyway.

The patrons around them watched with suspicion. He could feel their eyes burning through him. They apparently thought they knew who he was, and they would never understand if he tried to explain he wasn't anyone. There could be trouble with them, and they should probably have been concerned, but she wasn't worried, and he didn't care. She turned to him, breathless, when the last glass had been turned down. She moved to straddle him, her breath tickling his neck. He said nothing.

Talyn had come back. He'd been naively hopeful when he raced to meet them; he didn't know why, it wasn't like he hadn't known what he would see. She came down the steps holding the hand of his recently acquired identical twin, and when she glanced at him sadly and walked away, she pulled his heart along behind her; dangling precariously on a worn string.

He couldn't stay—not to stay and watch his life being lived by someone else, but they didn't want to let him leave. Maybe it was guilt, maybe they wanted a spare, but they asked him not to go and when he insisted, Chiana said she was going with him, and D'Argo did too, and Aeryn spoke and said her and John would leave, that they should be the ones to go.

She said his name like there was only one of them that it belonged to, and that it wasn't him. And he said nothing at first but knew already he wouldn't let them leave. He didn't want to go, but he still loved her, and he wasn't going to force her to leave Moya and Pilot. Not for him—he didn't matter like they did. He didn't even have a name.

He went to the maintenance bay, passing his module up as impractical, and decided he should let him have it anyway. He'd already taken everything else. She was waiting for him in the transport module, and he didn't ask how she had known he would show up. She smiled at him, and whispered he was going nowhere without her. He didn't want to be alone anyway so he didn't put up much of a fight, and they left together. They left behind their lives, his to be lived by someone else, and hers to leave an empty space.

The alcohol has gone to both of their heads. The lights in the bar blur outwards and bright, and the people watching them fade to the background as she rests her head on his shoulder. He can feel her heart beating against his chest, though he's sure he's only imagining it when he hears it pounding in his ears. Her hair is soft against his neck, sliding across the skin and then falling away again. She stays like that, silent, for a moment before whispering that they should leave.

She grabs his hand and tugs him behind her towards their room. They have enough credits to rent it for another monen, while they try to fix the transport pod, and then they were out of luck—as though they had any to begin with. The walls are brown, all four of them, with no life in them like on Moya. No pulse to keep him grounded, only hers, beating too loudly in the back of his mind. The place is clean enough, though, and he isn't going to complain.

She led him to the bed, the only piece of furniture, and they lower down to it together. The mattress gives easily beneath them, and they slip down, falling until they hit the coils underneath. They don't talk much, but they had always understood each other without words, and there was no reason to miss it. She watches him as his eyes are drawn towards the floor, watches him fade, the expressions change through his eyes, and then she leans over to kiss him.

She doesn't know if she did it for him or for herself, but he kisses her back so she doesn't stop. Music from one of the bars down the street barely reaches them, but there is a pounding in its melody that seems to take control of the walls, and if they pretended hard enough, they could almost believe they were on Moya still. He lets her wrap her arms around him and pull him closer, but his eyes are closed, and she knows that behind them, he is seeing someone else.

The End.