Title: To Know
Setting: Post Season of Death
Disclaimer: I own nothing, not even the words. Only the order in which they were placed.
Author's Notes: Well, it's been a fairly long time since I wrote fic, but I got the inspiration while attempting to fall asleep one night, and deciding to actually practice what I preach, I jotted down some notes so I wouldn't forget a few of the key details when I went to write it. Hope you enjoy! Feedback is much appreciated.
Over the years - cycles - the background noises that emanated from the giant Leviathan had become a normal part of life. It was comforting to know you were literally embraced by your home and your protector, and often times listening to the sounds of the gentle behemoth was what lulled him to sleep when nothing else would.
But not tonight.
He'd been trying for arns to surrender his consciousness to the void of sleep, to forget, just for a little while, the turmoil and revelations of the past day. Tossing and turning, it just hadn't happened.
Finally, nowhere near closer to sleep than he had been two arns ago, he uttered, "Screw it," and flung the thin blanket to the side. Standing up, he reached out blindly in the dark for the shirt he knew he'd tossed nearby before attempting his fruitless pursuit of unconsciousness.
Before he could question the intelligence of his actions, he was headed out of his cell, padding down the corridor in bare feet. His eyes were just adjusting to the change in light as he rounded a corner and all but ran into the main object of his overactive mind.
"Aeryn," he said by way of greeting, his voice betraying the surprise at running into her at this time.
"John," she replied, her eyes also indicating she wasn't expecting to see him here. Always forthright, she added, "I thought you had gone to sleep." For emphasis, she gestured to his state of dress.
"Couldn't sleep." He had noted her similar appearance, and made it known as he captured her eyes. "You?"
She dropped her eyes and shook her head vigorously, taking a deep breath before looking back up at him. There was a long pause, and then….
"I just needed --"
"John, I --"
Just as their words had been, they sighed in unison. After another, shorter pause, a little less awkward this time, John gestured with his hand to himself. Aeryn gave the briefest of nods in response.
"Aeryn, I…" he sighed again. "Look, I know what you said earlier…I don't agree with you, but I'm not gonna argue about it right now. Right now, I just need to…I needed to know that --"
"I know," she interrupted. Without speaking further, she took his hand in hers and led him away, back in the direction she'd initially come from - the direction he'd been headed in the first place.
They reached the cell she'd long-since claimed as hers and entered the darkened room. Once inside, Aeryn let go of John's hand and shut the door, a semi-permanent privacy curtain still in place from earlier in the night.
John stood awkwardly in the middle of the room and watched as Aeryn covered the distance to the bed and slid in under the blanket, scooting over to the far side without so much as a mere hesitation. Once settled, she looked up at him, and in the dim light that wafted in from the edges of the door, they're eyes locked once more.
John had learned to read a lot about this woman by her eyes. There was no questioning there, no invitation for him to join her, just simple understanding. It was the understanding he saw there that finally made his legs move, bringing him closer to the bed. He paused once more, but when the expression in her eyes didn't waver, he made the final move and slipped into the bed beside her.
They were both on their sides, facing one another, but they had no physical contact. The silence between them stretched until finally John had to pull out the proverbial knife and make the first cut.
"I'm so sorry."
"So am I."
He thought he understood what she meant, but wanted clarification. "Zhaan?" She nodded. "Do you want to talk about it?"
She hesitated, and he was almost hopeful she'd give in, but finally she shook her head. "No," she whispered, almost apologetically.
He saw something in her eyes then, something he didn't like at all. "Aeryn, it's not your fault." She looked away then, but he wanted to make sure she understood. "It is not your fault. If anything, it…its mine."
Her eyes shot back up then, concerned. "That wasn't you. It wasn't."
He hoped his own eyes conveyed belief in her words, but he doubted his ability to deceive her in that manner, just as she couldn't mislead him. But he was completely honest when he said, "And it wasn't you, either."
He saw in her eyes what he expected was reflected in his own.
"You know you can talk to me about it, whenever you're ready."
"I know," she replied. "I do appreciate it."
"Just know I'm not pushing or anything." Wanting to make sure she understood, he added, "About anything."
The ghost of a smile crossed her lips briefly, and he barely caught it in the darkness. "I know." Reaching out, she found his hand and slid her fingers into his, the first contact they'd made since laying down. He squeezed gently in response.
Suddenly, Aeryn shifted around, laying so her back was to him, but she kept hold of hand so that his arm was stretched across the distance between them. He thought he understood, but proceeded with caution, scooting closer to her.
As his engaged arm slackened, she took the opportunity to pull it more fully around her, allowing her own attached arm to rest on the bed in front of her. Taking it as confirmation of what she wanted, John moved closer still, more confident, and pressed his front lightly against her back. Only when he felt her relax did he allow himself to do the same, exhaling slowly.
Despite what she'd told him earlier in the maintenance bay, they just both just needed to feel the connection once more, even if it led nowhere. For now, that was enough. Seeking comfort in each other, both of them were finally able to release the tension they were holding in, to forget for just a moment the enormity of what was happening to their family.
Slowly, the soothing sounds of the living ship rose amidst their thoughts, managing to pierce through the barriers once more, and they were both lulled into a peaceful, dreamless sleep.