DREAMING OF YOU
SUMMARY:Aeryn's having a recurring dream that she mostly can ignore… but when it goes on longer than usual, her feelings about it and her current situation change... Yet more IP:IA angst from my sadistic Muse, and a sequel, of sorts, to "Nothing More You Can Do". Mucho J/A shippiness. Dreamfic.
RATING:PG-ish, as usual.
DISCLAIMER:While the characters may not be mine, the dream kind of is. (I've included the relevant part of my live journal entry about my own subconscious ramblings that inspired this…)
SPOILERS/SETTING:"Season of Death" to "Icarus Abides"…? If you haven't seen the latter, you may not want to read this one. This could take place on either Moya or Talyn, but it's mostly in Aeryn's head, hence the rather more descriptive use of language in this compared to the other one…
AUTHOR'S NOTES:Dear Muse, why do you see fit to come up with ideas at 2am? That much, actually, I could probably deal with, but why, my dear, sweet, Muse, must you make me write them at that time and keep me up until 4am doing so? People, this ain't gonna be pretty. My shippy angst is on overdrive, and I sincerely apologise right now if this makes anyone cry. This is shippy, fluffy, and very sappy, and I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing under the circumstances… It nearly made me cry last night (this morning?) when I was scribbling it down… and I'm more convinced that ever before that Aeryn is, in fact, my Muse…
Dreaming of You
© T'eyla Minh 2001
She was having the dream again, and no matter what she did, no matter what she thought about before going to sleep, nothing would make it go away. She refused to let it upset her in her waking moments, throwing herself completely into work, whether it was necessary or not. Menial jobs, maintenance checks, routine backups… anything it was possible to do, she did do.
But nothing can stop the unconscious mind when it has a message for a person, and every night was the same…
She would enjoy an hour of dead sleep, her brain full of no thoughts, no emotions, just a complete shut down. Then, just before the dream started, she would involuntarily curl into a foetal position, protecting herself from the onslaught of emotions that would inevitably bombard her, unawares. And then, when some part of her mind was satisfied that she was physically ready, the dream would begin, as it always did…
She stands outside a room, the door familiar for a reason she cannot identify. She raises a hand to push it and finds, not her usual Peacekeeper leather, but a soft, mahogany coloured wool. A large sweatshirt, over black denims, and thick, grey socks… and though both of these are entirely alien to her, she knows what they are, and to whom they really belong.
Opening the door, she enters into a haze of brown, red, dark cream, and orange, the colours merging to resemble a bloodshot sepia, and a warm sense of calm. The room is unlit, both dark and light enough to see by, the only illumination coming from the slowly setting sun as it filters through a large, square window.
There he sits, in that armchair she both loves and hates for opposing reasons, and has never seen before, but is familiar all the same, as most dream-objects are. The fading light casts his silhouette in front of her.
She closes the door, and his head turns to watch her approach. Two words immediately reveal his identity. She already knows who he is, but at the same time, is pleasantly surprised.
She smiles and approaches, stopping a few inches short of the chair, and assuming feigned annoyance at its continued presence in the room. He answers her before she even asks the question.
"I know. You hate this thing, and I was supposed to throw it in the trash months ago. But I like it, so it stays."
She says nothing to that, but walks to the window and leans back, half-sitting on the large, foam-filled arm of the chair. It creaks and bends in slightly towards the seat in complaint. On closer scrutiny, it is a deep, autumnal orange, fuzzy, the fabric held to the aging frame with dark bronze tacks, scuffed and dented. The chair has had some adventures, over three generations of his family. She wonders now why she wants it gone.
She stands like this undisturbed for a few seconds (although she knows they should be called 'microts', but also knows they should not.). Then, an arm moves around her waist, pulls her back, and shifts her centre of balance. She shrieks quietly as she tumbles back, and he drags her, unceremoniously, into his lap. Her back rests against a combination of his other arm and the opposite side of the chair, his original arm still wrapped around her waist.
Now able to achieve eye contact, she finally speaks.
"You know I don't like it when you do that."
He laughs. "So how come you never move?"
"Because," she says, smiling, "I quite like the final outcome." Her hand moves up, the sleeve of her garment to her knuckles, and she strokes his hair. It's your method I'm dubious about."
"Well… maybe you shouldn't stand where I can reach you." He runs a hand over her stomach, rubbing the wool of the sweatshirt, then reaches up to capture her hand in his. He pulls the sleeve further down to completely cover her hand. "And when are you gonna stop stealing my clothes?"
"When you learn to hide them better."
They laugh, and he leans his forehead against hers. They sigh simultaneously.
"I love you," he says, knowing how inadequate those three words are, knowing a word has yet to be invented in any language to let her know the truth. She repeats the sentiment, out of a familiar tradition coined too long ago to remember.
It almost becomes a fallacy when words can never be enough, and the feeling is too great to ever encompass in a single phrase.
She kisses him, because she can, and because she senses the exact moment to do so. He ends it, seconds later, for all the same reasons.
And normally, it ends here…
In the conscious world, her body uncurled itself and straightened out, as it usually did, preparing for the mental road of calm unconsciousness that lies ahead. Unheeded and unbidden, the dream continued, even in her vulnerable state…
Ignoring the puzzlement at the sudden newness, she shifts to a more comfortable position. She rests her feet on the arm of the chair and brings her knees up, leaning against him with her head on his shoulder. Close is never close enough, and he hugs her to him, ever closer still.
Somehow, she realises that in this new turn of events, she is in control, and must initiate conversation without the aid of her rebelling subconscious.
"Why are we still here?" She feels his confusion. "I'm normally gone by now."
"I don't know." A pause. "Do you want to leave?"
"No. Never. That's the problem. I don't want to leave ever again."
"You'll have to leave at some point."
She doesn't answer, but shifts her head slightly, burying it further into his neck, mumbling. "…not letting you go again…"
Silence permeates the room, and then the atmosphere shifts, almost imperceptibly.
She looks up, her own name seeming heart-wrenchingly familiar said in his voice.
"What?" she asks, swallowing the sob that threatens to escape.
"The others… they'll worry."
"They already do."
"Okay," he says, wiping the tears she was unable to stop. "Then they'll worry more…" She nods, but makes no attempt to move. "C'mon, you have to go back."
"Please, John…" She stops. The name has been unspoken for so long it sound almost alien to her. She takes a deep breath and tries again. "I'll go back, I promise… but just give me a few more hours here."
"There's only ten more minutes of the sleep cycle left. You'll have to go then, whether you want to or not." Noticing the question that is about to form, he silences her with a finger on her lips. "Believe me, I don't want you to go either. I want you to stay… God, I want to go with you… But you know it's impossible."
"I can't go on like this any more. I need you…"
"I know." He has to tell her something, and knows she won't want to hear it, but it must be said. "There's someone who needs you, too."
She knows exactly what he means, but makes no effort to acknowledge the fact.
"The other one. He needs you. Don't hurt him any more, please."
"I can't…" she trails off, then takes a deep breath and tries again. "I can't… let myself love him, John. He's not you."
"He is me."
"But the memories… our memories. He doesn't have those…"
"No. But you do." Uncomprehending, she sighs. "He loves you."
"I know… that's why it feels so wrong. Everything I've… we've been through, he doesn't know any of it. I don't want to end up… comparing."
"Talk to him. Tell him everything, if you have to."
"He'll be jealous."
"Probably. But he'll understand."
"But what if-"
"You've only got five minutes left, and this part of the dream is never going to happen again. I know you wouldn't want to waste it."
He kisses her, long, lingering, everlasting in a place where neither needs to breathe. They break apart, if only to necessitate more talking. There are other things to say yet.
"I know how much it hurts, honey," he says, the familiarity one left unused since a time neither recalls. "Remember, I lost you for a while, too, and that was only for a day or so… and even in that short time, I didn't want to go on. I asked D'Argo to kill me."
"No." He gets up, taking her with him. Conceding defeat, she allows herself to be placed on the ground, and they walk to the door, fingers entwined without either of them realising. They stop mere inches from it. "I know you're afraid of what might happen, of losing him like you did me. But, even if you can't love him again, at least promise me you won't shut him out of your life. Please?"
He pulls her close, and they hold each other for the last few precious minutes.
"Where is this place, anyway? Do you know?"
"Yeah. It's my Dad's old cabin. I was going to show it to you when we got to Earth…"
She nods. She knew this, somehow. "I love you…" she says, somewhat futilely. "I don't want to leave yet…"
"Beyond my control, Sunshine," he admits. "The Powers That Be are gonna take you back, anyway. Just remember something."
"What's that?" she asks, and pulls away to face him.
"That I love you, and that I'll always be here…"
The kiss reaches her forehead a mere two seconds before the door opens of its own volition and fills the room with light. This is the end, and the land of the living beckons…
She awoke the next morning tense and in pain, her body having straightened itself out in the night and held the position too strictly. Beyond that, there was a yearning ache somewhere in her stomach that she was unable to exactly identify.
Somehow, she knew she had to talk to John. The other John, the one who was still living, breathing, and waiting for her. At the same time, however, something told her not to, not just yet.
The day passed like any other, but her companions noticed she was much less aggressive in her approach to work. A sense of serenity seemed to envelope her.
That evening, absently flipping through John's notebook and trying to read the words, she realised that shutting out the other Crichton would not help. She found the star chart, half-remembering and half-understanding the words on the page: 'Huey'. 'Duey'. 'Louis'. …'Aeryn'. She turned to an earlier page, filled with writing. She couldn't read most of it, but saw her name several times.
He would know what it said, she decided. After all, if they were one and the same, then his memories before she left for Talyn would be the same. Perhaps, one day, she might get him to tell her what it said.
Perhaps, one day, she might let him teach her all over again…
A/N continued again:Phew! That was a harrowing experience, let me tell you… And if you would care to go here, you can read the live journal entry about the dream that started it all (and a lot of other rambling as well…) And yes. The title's cheesy. There's a reason. It's part of a line from "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" from "The Phantom of the Opera" (my other Muse is Erik…), and the line in question goes as follows: "Dreaming of you won't help me to do all that you dreamed I could." Actually, the whole song's pretty well the same general feeling of this.
Feel free to review. Feel free to yell at me for making you all cry, too. I know I would.