Title: The Color of His Voice
Author: Maychorian
Category: Gen (in the sense of I don't know what category it is, really)
Rating: G/K
Timeframe: Season 1
Spoilers: Premiere, Jeremiah Crichton
Pairing: pre-John/Aeryn
Feedback: Please? Is it terribly out of character?
Summary: She liked to hear him sing.
Notes: Just a snippet. Title from an old short story of mine. No, I don't know why. I've only seen the first season and part of the second, yet, but I watched the Dream a Little Dream episode recently and . . . and I wrote this. It's a bit unusual for me, in that it has no dialogue and even less plot.
Disclaimer: I forget who owns these people, but it isn't me.

The Color of His Voice

She liked to hear him sing.

It was not something she sought out. Crichton was a strange beast from a strange land, and Aeryn had enough strange things to occupy her mind already. She made no effort to encounter any of her shipmates, and really, on a ship this size with so few inhabitants it ought to be easy to avoid each other. Somehow they never did, though. Strange things crossed Aeryn's path every arn.

Aeryn made no attempt to be anywhere near somewhere there might be even the remote possibility that she could hear Crichton's voice. Yet that first day, when everything was confused and impossible, she heard him talking to that pathetic little bit of Earth technology, trying to leave a message that his father would probably never hear. She did not have room in herself for pity at the time, but it really was very pitiful. She didn't know what to feel for those first few monens. She still didn't.

So naturally she didn't know what to feel the first time she heard him sing, either. She shouldn't have been able to. They were separated by as much space as she could manage. But his voice came through, thin but clear, from the vent beside her bed. It didn't echo, which made no sense. It was pure and shaky and deep and rich and nonsensical and sweet and foolish and . . .

And Crichton.

The first time was short and quickly ended, abruptly, mid-note, as if he had been singing without realizing and made himself stop. In the back of her mind she logged the few words she had heard, as she always logged every detail of her life, keeping track, watching the angles, looking for the way out.

It was deeply bewildering, as everything was to her then. Peacekeepers did not have much use for music, save for a few marches and battle-hymns, carefully composed in the Bolaen mode to promote courage and devotion. Soldiers did not learn to sing or play instruments—there was a special branch dedicated to such foolish pursuits, and their status was even lower than the techs. And of course Sebaceans never listened to the music of other races, as that risked contamination.

But it was too late for her now. So she listened. As time passed and Crichton became comfortable with his odd little niche on this side of the universe, he sang more and more frequently. Sometimes he even sang in front of his shipmates, but mostly it was alone, maintaining Moya, relaxing in his room. Somehow Aeryn always heard him, though, through the corridors, through the vents. At least she hoped that she heard him every time. Few things in her life were pleasant now, but his voice was one of them.

Of course, she would never, ever tell him this. But it didn't hurt to listen, saying nothing.

Crichton favored a kind of music he called "blues," with weird, smoky melodies and harmonies that seemed to change, to drift in the air even as they were being born from his mouth. It was completely opposite of Bolaen mode. Peacekeeper commanders would call it "weak and useless" for its changeability, and ban from it from their ships. Yet Aeryn listened. She was no longer a Peacekeeper.

And he sang many other kinds of songs, too, some sharp and hard in tone, some that felt and sounded like raindrops on the skin, some simple and clear, some that wandered and twisted. Because he called his favorite songs "blue," she began to think of these other kinds as being colors as well—orange, purple, dirt brown, jungle green. Earth must be a strange and amazing place, populated by odd creatures of many forms, all creating their own colors of music. How chaotic and impossible. How wonderful and entrancing.

A lot of the words that he mixed up in these colors seemed to have something to do with love and romance, usually entwined in sadness and loss. These were the blue songs, usually, but a lot of other colors had the same themes. Once, she wondered if this was because Crichton himself felt the loss of his home, his family and friends and his everything, too keenly to keep it inside. But she immediately chastised herself for allowing such notions to enter her head and never thought that again.

Sometimes he sang sweet, happy words. Sometimes the words were clear and easy. And sometimes they made no sense at all. Who was "Georgie Porgie," and why did his kisses make the girls cry? And what did pudding and pie have to do with any of it? She tried not to think about this too much. It didn't do to try to make sense of Crichton.

A few times, she thought that it might be nice to have him sing just for her. To sit in the room and listen with her whole body, the strange tunes rebounding against Moya's gold-green skin, going, returning, growing, until nothing existed but the music. To let it shift from hue to hue, each more lovely than the last, filling her ears and eyes and mind and soul. Just for her.

This was another thought that she tried to banish, to never think again, but with this one she was not as successful. It would have bothered her, but she was beginning to grow accustomed to losing control. Though only in small, unimportant ways, of course. She still held most of herself in rigid Peacekeeper discipline. At least, she held enough.

And now . . .

And now.

It had been almost three monens since he'd stormed off the ship in that childish snit of his, and they'd been forced to leave him behind, his tiny, fragile, useless ship reeling in the wake of Moya's emergency starburst. She didn't know if they would ever find him. Perhaps not.

She was beginning to miss his voice.

But she assured herself that it was only because she liked to hear him sing.