Warning: death, loss, angst in huge helpings.
Set: Post-Peacekeeper War. Lots of spoilery stuff.
Pairing: Aeryn/John Warning: Seriously. This is NOT A HAPPY FIC.
Horse With No Name by ALC Punk!
He thinks he understands it now.
Not that he'll ever be able to explain it, or write about it.
Sometimes, he thinks she decided on this place for the memories of him.
The sand dunes stretch too long and too far, and there are mornings he wonders if he'll die from lack of hydration.
One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn't belong. Sesame Street was the best cure for insomnia when working on a thesis at 3 a.m. Even if it kept DK from sleeping, too. Valuable things could be learned from Sesame Street.
Never cross the street without an adult, for instance.
There are mornings he wonders how Chiana's doing, if Rygel ever made Dominar again, whether Scorpy's still trying to find the secret of wormholes. He doesn't think about D, doesn't consider Stark.
Both of those would hurt too much.
"Do you love me?"
The question is unexpected, and John raises a hand against the glare to watch her watch him. "Aeryn--"
"You once did."
She looks as tired as he sometimes feels. Worn and destroyed, the air leaching the vitality from her as the sun strips the moisture away.
"Yeah." He doesn't elaborate on which statement he's answering.
He doesn't have to.
When the world was fresh and new, John Crichton landed on Moya and found a world he'd never dreamed of.
The world is stale and old.
And there's never anything but sand, sand, and more sand.
"You're going to die here."
He doesn't bother shading his eyes, this time. He's sure that if this were Earth, there'd be marriage counseling, people with sympathy, empathy, and roads to recovery.
Twelve-step programs aren't Peacekeeper idiom.
She makes a sound, leaves.
John thinks she's always been leaving him, in one way or another.
This is your plaything.
The words had been meant in jest, said in wonder. D'Argo had been the most perfect baby he'd ever seen.
It rains, one day.
"I'm going." Aeryn says it like she's trying to convince herself.
John pokes a finger in the sand he's laying on. "Have fun."
John can remember the list of immunizations human babies get, can remember hearing frightening statistics about how the immunizations caused the diseases, made them worse, triggered AIDS, you name it.
'Whenever there's trouble, we're there on the double...'
A baby half-human, half-sebacean was a fragile thing. Especially when exposed to all of the wonders of the universe.
"Peanuts, pears and popcorn, pickled peppers," John singsongs, staring up at the sun.
The sand shifts, and a fist pounds his shoulder. "You're an ass."
Yep. He stops singing.
He remembers the first time he saw Aeryn Sun falter in her strength, the first time he saw her scared. This is far worse. And he can't help reaching out to touch her. "There is no why."
A sob shakes her.
It never rains on Dambadah.
For the first time in (years, he thinks, but it hasn't been that long), John holds his wife close. The sand is hot and scorching, the sun beats down.
The pod settles nearby, and Aeryn walks towards it, not looking back.
John watches from his normal spot, sand trickling through his fingers. From the hatch, a grey head appears. It flicks in his direction, then back to Aeryn.
If there's a conversation, he can't hear it. He can imagine how it goes, though. Chiana suggesting Aeryn stay, or hit him, drag him along. Aeryn telling her no.
A moment more of discussion, the grey head bobs his way again. And then they both enter the pod.
Aeryn never looks back.
The sun sets on John Crichton, splashing crimson glory across his sky.