Left Behind
by imloco2
Rating PG
Disclaimer: Farscape is owned by Henson and Sci Fi. I'm just havin fun.

"Damn it Aeryn!" John looked over at Aeryn, who was working on setting the last of the explosives. "You have to leave."

Aeryn continued to work without giving any sign that she had heard a word he said.

They were deep in the belly of the command carrier, near the secondary bridge, and their chances of survival were getting smaller all the time. They'd had a boat load of luck getting to this point but he knew from experience that their luck never lasted.

They hadn't been detected so far but who knew when a stray Peacekeeper would trip over them. While their faces were known, no one was expecting them to be here. In fact, only a frellin idiot 'would' be here. Any microt now the game could be up and he wanted Aeryn out of here. Now. Trouble was, she wasn't cooperating. But then, when did she ever.

He sighed and went to stand in front of her. She looked tired and drawn. These past few months had been rough on her. Not just the horrors of finding and getting here either.

If he'd had any doubts in the past about whether or not she could ever love someone deeply, they were gone. In fact, he had been stunned to learn she had let down her guard and given herself over to emotions, love, so completely. He'd prayed for that day and when it got here, he was missing. Well, part of him was anyway. The part that counted to him!
Crais never would talk to him, but Rygel had finally let a few facts spill. Pain sliced through him whenever he let himself think about Aeryn on that ledge. He shook his head. He never wanted to be the cause of so much pain. Especially not for Aeryn. He knew his other self wouldn't have either.

She must have loved him so much. The thought caused that sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach to start up again. The fact that it was 'him' that she had loved was small comfort. He didn't know if she would ever let herself feel that way again.

In a strange way it sometimes pleased him to know that she had loved him like that. Other times it made him want to bang his head on the wall and scream.

He had given up hope that he could ever get back to any kind of relationship with her. A few times he had thought the wall she'd built around herself was slipping. She would start to talk and stop herself or thought he knew things he didn't. The look on her face when that happened haunted him.

It was obvious that she wanted nothing to do with 'him'. What a frelling mess it all was. One thing was certain though. He loved her and by God he wasn't going to watch her go down with him. He had to get her out of here.

John held her arms and said "We have less than an arn, Aeryn. You have to get out of here. Just like we agreed, remember? D'Argo is waiting for you. You have to go now!"

She stood there watching his face intently. "And what about you? Are you coming?" Watching his face, she almost smiled. "That's what I thought. I'm not going anywhere." She pulled away from him and bent down to rummage through the weapons bag.

John had suddenly had enough. Time was running out. He had to make it to the Secondary bridge soon and disable the internal sensors. If she didn't leave soon it would be too late.

"Why, Aeryn? I don't get it. Are you trying to get yourself killed? Is that it?! Join John Jr. in the sweet hereafter? Cause it sure as hell isn't because of me! You won't talk to me, you stay as far away from me as possible. Hell, you can't even look at me anymore! Why won't you just Leave?!"
He paced back and forth, stopping in front of her. "Go find that other place." His voice lowered to a whisper. "The one where you can thrive. It's better this way. Leave. Please."

His voice was starting to crack and he stopped. Things were frelled enough as it was. Why was she doing this? Why was he?

Aeryn stood up. Maybe she hadn't been able to look at him before, but she was looking at him now. Her eyes were filled with tears. He hadn't seen her cry since she got back to Moya and the look of pain on her face left him shaken. "I left you once." she said fiercely. "I won't leave you again." She backed away. "We don't have time for this. We have to hurry." She tried to brush past him.

John grabbed her arms and pulled her close. "What are you talking about? Left me?" Their faces were so close he could feel her hair against his face.

She struggled for a moment and then went limp.

"You think I don't talk to you because I don't love you?" She half whispered, half shouted.

"You think that I don't care whether you live or die? Well, you're wrong. It's because I DO love you." She reached a hand to his cheek.

"It's my fault you died before and if you're going to die now it won't be because I left you. I'll be with you like I should have been on Dam Ba Da." She practically spit the words at him. "I will not be left behind!"

The microts were ticking away, but it didn't seem to matter.

"You're telling me this NOW?!" John wove his hands through her hair and pressed his lips to her forehead. Oh God, not now!

Still holding her, he lifted his head to look at her. "What do you mean, your fault? You didn't kill him Aeryn. It was the radiation. You know that."
She shook her head and whispered "It was my plan. If I hadn't stayed behind, left him with Furlow, I could have saved him." She squeezed her eyes shut, tears falling through closed lashes. "It should have been me." She let her head fall to his shoulder.

John eyes closed from the emotions that were overwhelming him. He pressed his face against her hair and spoke in a voice that was not quite steady.

"Sshhh. No... No. It wasn't your fault. There was nothing you could have done. He knew that. You know that. He loved you." He whispered against her hair, softly. "Just like I do"

His lips lingered there for a moment till Aeryn pulled away. She straightened her shoulders and tried to get back to the soldier she had pretended she wanted to be.
"It doesn't matter. If there's no way out for you then there's no way out for me. I meant it Crichton. It's both of us this time. I'm not leaving."
He knew she meant it. Which changed everything.

He suddenly had just over half an arn to figure out how to get them both out of here and onto D'Argo's ship before the explosives detonated. There weren't enough explosives to destroy the Command Carrier by themselves but when placed in the proper places it would have a cascade effect.
It had cost a lot to find out where those places were. When they went off it was going to be a Stephen Hawking moment. Big Bang! Right now though, they had to get off this tub.

He didn't know if their escape route was still clear. The whole thing was set to blow and there was nothing he could do to stop it. His plan to get everyone out and stay behind to take care of the sensors himself had seemed like a good one at the time. But now... Think, John. Think!

His brain seemed to suddenly go into overdrive, discarding this plan and that one in the space of a heartbeat. Each one rejected till one stuck and he thought *this might stand a chance. Not a good chance, but a chance*.
He looked at Aeryn and grinned when he said, "I have a plan."

Aeryn instantly accepted that the emotional exchange had come to an end. The soldier was back and ready to do whatever needed to be done. She surprised him yet again, though, when she looked up and said with a small grin. "You want to tell me now, or should I guess?".
Even with things so frelled up and time running out he took a moment to file that grin away under *things to remember if I survive*.

"You finish setting the last of the explosives?" She shook her head yes.

"Then come on!" He grabbed her hand. "I'll tell you on the way".

And he took off running, still holding her hand.

They slowed down when they got to the main corridor. Peacekeeper troops were everywhere. John and Aeryn blended in but who knew how long it would be before they were recognized. If Scorpius showed up then all bets were off of course, they'd be dead meat.

Aeryn hadn't thought much of his plan when he had explained it to her, but, since the alternative was to be blown into bits a boolite wouldn't be able to grow back together, she went with it.

She gave his plan an 20 percent chance of sucess, if they were lucky. That was Aeryn, always the optimist.
They ducked into a side entrance, just short of the bridge.

The original plan had been for him to patch into one of the remote controls like Gelina had done but there was no time now. With Aeryn there he might stand a chance of getting onto the bridge and getting a direct link.

If they could get to the main control panel and disable the internal sensors, Scorpius couldn't track the explosives or them. He had to contact D'Argo though and get him out of here. They'd never make it back to his ship in time.

"D'Argo?" John commed the Luxan. "Listen. Go ahead and take off. We'll meet back at the designated coordinates."

D'Argo's voice came across faintly. "John? Are you sure?"

John's voice was impatient. "Yes! You have to get out of here now! Just trust me. We'll be ok. Now go!"

God, he hoped what he said was true. What hadn't mattered before became of paramount importance now that Aeryn was with him. Would this work? Maybe. If the luck of Gods was on their side. Oh, frell. They were dead.

"Ok. Got any ideas" John said sneaking a look around the corner at the two guards by the door.

Aeryn gave him a smirk when she said "Just follow my lead. Let me do the talking."

She went past him into the corridor with John mouthing *talking?* behind her. As they reached the guards Aeryn looked around to make sure the corridor was all clear, raised her pistol and shot the guard on her left. John followed suit with the guard on the right. He looked over at Aeryn and grinned. "I love your way with words, baby."

That he had called her 'baby' caught Aeryn by surprise and her face tightened for a moment but it soon cleared. There was no time to dwell on it.

John and Aeryn each grabbed a guard and held them up, trying hard not look suspicious. John was straining with his and gave the limp guard a disgusted look.

"A little to much KeedvaBBQ there big fella" he grunted as they dragged them to a room not far away so they wouldn't be discovered. At least not right away. A little bit later and it wouldn't matter.

He ripped away the ident chip from one of the guards and they grabbed the pulse rifles that had fallen beside them. Racing back to the Bridge door, John gave Aeryn a glance and with a big sigh said "here goes nothin'." The door opened.

There were mostly techs but enough soldiers to make it a fair fight. It took precious moments they didn't have to take over the center. Aeryn was still firing when John saw the control panel they needed to disable the sensors. If he could just get to them.

"Cover me Aeryn!" He jumped up and started to run for the controls. Aeryn kept firing, keeping them at bay behind a far console.

With pulse blasts all around him, John began to disarm the sensors. He had learned a lot from the PK technology left behind on Moya, not to mention his numerous run-ins with Scorpy, but he couldn't be certain he had the sequence right.

"Aeryn! Over here!" he yelled and turned around to cover her as she ran.

When she reached him he yelled "Can you tell if this is right?" She looked over his shoulder and shrugged her shoulders. "No idea."

"Ok. I'm gonna go for it!"

Still firing, she looked at him and nodded before he turned around and pushed the control. They watched the lights from the sensors go off and grinned at each other.

*Whoop* *Whoop* *Whoop*

The alarm almost gave him a heart attack, right then and there. "Oh, hell!" He gave the control panel a burst from Wynona before he yelled "That oughta do it. Come on!" Still firing at the remaining guards, they ran out the way they came.

When the doors closed behind them he fired Wynona again to fuse the door controls. "Ok, the sensors are down, but now they're lookin' for us. Time for a new plan." He shouted at Aeryn. "Which way?!"

Aeryn looked around and turning to her right said "This way!" as she started running down the corridor.

"Where are we going?"

She turned and looked over her shoulder "Now, 'I' have a plan. How long do we have?"

He checked his timer device. "Three hundred microts!" he yelled back.

"Then you'd better run faster."

John put on a burst of speed to keep up with her.

Ducking down an access shaft, they made their way through a small maze of tunnels and corridors till they were suddenly in a hanger full of Prowlers.

The alarms were still going and Peacekeeper soldiers were everywhere.

"Nice goin' ace! How did you know about that shortcut?" John asked Aeryn.

"I was born on a ship like this one. Remember?"

Now, they just had to make it to one of those Prowlers and they'd be home free. Spying a couple of soldiers with black helmuts on they ventured closer.

In unison and like they had done it a million times before, John and Aeryn walked up to the two soldiers. Looking for all the world like they had a perfect right to be there they motioned for them to come closer.

The black helmuts stepped a bit closer and instantly got cold-cocked into unconcsiousness.

John grabbed a helmut and threw the other to Aeryn. "Put this on."

"We'll take the one closest to the hanger doors." Aeryn said pointing to the Prowler at the far end of the hanger.

John nodded and spared a moment to look at Aeryn. "Be careful.... I love you." It was said with all the love and yearning in him and Aeryn gave him the look back.

"I...." She couldn't quite get the words out and John held a finger to his lips. "Ssshh. We've got all the time in the world." He missed the strange look that came over her face as she heard those words.

They pulled the helmuts down and joined the other troops rushing to their ships.

They reached the Prowler and decended on the two pilots who were just getting ready to climb up. A few blasts and they were out of the way. John took his helmet off as he began to climb into the cockpit. Suddenly he realized that he had been recognized and the Peacekeepers were starting to fire at them.

"Oooh boy. This is not good" He climbed faster.

"Aeryn? You gonna fly this thing?"

He threw the question over his shoulder. He felt her stumble and bump him briefly before she straigtened.

"You ok?"

"I'm fine Crichton. Just go on. You fly."

John climbed into the drivers seat and fired her up. Aeryn sat down behind him.

"I figure the only way to get out" he was flipping switches "is to just go on through!"

The Prowler was off the ground now and they were facing the hanger wall. On the other side was freedom. And that meant something. Now that he had Aeryn again.

He began firing with everything the Prowler had as they started towards the wall. The defenses were there to keep enemies out not in. He kept his fingers crossed that by the time they shot through the wall they'd have an opening.

"Hang on!" He shouted as they went faster and reached what he hoped was their beginning.

*Shoosh* *Crunch*

The Prowler slid through, just barely. A wing was nicked and sent them spiraling though the blackness till John got control back and they were stable again.

Ordinarily, they would have had to worry about the Command Carrier targeting them and blowing them out of the sky but the people on the Carrier had other problems now. The explosives had started and the cascade effect was in full force. As John watched, the Carrier started to glow. In a rush it exploded with a blinding light.

"Wooo Hooo!" John pounded his fist on the controls. "Did you see that?!" he asked Aeryn. "We made it!"

"Yes, we did." her voice was soft behind him. All of a sudden he felt her lips touch his ear as she whispered "I love you."

He thought he'd never had a happier moment in his entire life. "I love you too."

But nothing is easy.

He suddenly heard the catch in her voice, the laboured breathing from behind and the fear came in waves he couldn't control.


He twisted to look behind him and his heart crumpled. Red. So much red. A pluse blast must have hit her before she got in. And she hadn't told him. Not a word. He couldn't focus.

"Oh God! No!" This couldn't be happening. Not now. He twisted and turned to try and help her. She was only half conscious.

"Aeryn, baby, hold on. I'm gonna get you back to Moya. You're gonna be ok. Ok. Just don't leave me." He was crying. "Not again." He didn't even bother to wipe the tears before he turned the Prowler around and headed for Moya.


John sit quietly, playing with a dark strand of hair that was splayed across the bed. He twisted it between his fingers then smoothed it while he watched his life ebbing with each breath. Aeryn was his life, and when she was gone he would be too.

It had been arns, maybe weekens since they had got back to Moya. Time was acting oddly, moving like molasses one minute and speeding up impossibly fast the next. But no matter what, it was always running out. Jool had tried. First one potion, then another. She wasn't half bad at playing doctor. Just not good enough.

The blast Aeryn had taken had hit vital organs. Like the perapheral nerve thing, only worse. They could've fixed something like that. Or died trying. God how he wanted to 'fix' it. Make it right. Save her.

Nothing to be done. That's what Jool had said. Nothing...

He had lost hope when Aeryn had come back. Sure that they would never find their way back to each other. She had been so distant. It was unnerving that the man she was in mourning for was himself. He still had a hard time wrapping his mind around the concept of being two. It must have been even harder on her. The cold Peacekeeper act had fooled him right up till the end.

Until she said she loved him. She loved him. He'd always thought he could face anything if he knew that. But he couldn't face this. He'd done it once and knew the pain of losing her. It couldn't be happening again, not now. He had faced the loss of her once before. Knew the pain and despair intimately. No! There had to be some way...

He'd thought defeating Scorpius and destroying the wormhole technology would be his crowning achievement. His destiny. He would save the universe. Be a hero.

He could barely remember now why he'd been trying.

He leaned over to trace a finger over her forehead, her lips, down her cheek. She was pale and gaunt but she was still the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen. She had been asleep for arns now. Asleep. She was just asleep. That's all.

"Commander Crichton!" came Pilot's voice over the comm.

"Not now Pilot. Just give me some time, all right?" He switched off the frellin comm. The others had left, wanting to give him some privacy. Right now, nothing was more important than Aeryn.

He leaned over and brought his face close to hers "Hey, baby." He said softly, almost in a whisper. "I don't know if you can hear me. I hope you can hear me... I love you." He half laughed. "But, you already know that don't you." He bit his lip to keep it from trembling and his eyes grew damp. "You probably know more than you should." His hands stroked her hair gently.

"But that's ok. It's ok. I know you loved him. And I sure as hell know, he loved you." He shook his head.

"It's funny. All the time I was angry that he took my stuff and went with you, I was really mad at myself. I wouldn't have done a thing different you know."

He leaned over to whisper in her ear. "You said you didn't want to be left behind." His voice took on a rough fierceness. "Well, neither do I."

"Stay with me Aeryn. Please."

As he looked down at her, her eyes started to flicker. Her breathing was painful to listen to but it didn't hurt as much as it would if it were silent. Her eyes were open now, and looking straight at him.

She started to talk and he scooted closer. "Did we do it? Is it over?"

He realized that she hadn't seen the Command Carrier destroyed. His smile only wavered a little.

"Yeah. We did it. The universe is safe again. At least for few arns." He grinned. It hurt to grin but he did it. He would not be weak for Aeryn.

His cheeks were wet and he brushed his hand over his face.

Aeryn was watching his face, the hollows of his cheeks, his eyes rimmed in red and said slowly "You look awful." Her lips twitched.

He gave a quick smile back "Yeah, I guess I do." He spent a long moment just drinking in the sight of her, her beautiful eyes still with the spark of life left in them.

"I think I've run out of lives this time." She said it matter of factly but the words were like a knife in his gut.
"No Zhaan to bring me back."

"Ssshh. You just need some rest. Don't talk."

He brought his hand back up to smooth her hair. "I'll find some way to fix this. I promise. I promise." Another tear fell.

As he watched her face, the lines of pain seemed to increase. When she spoke her voice was weaker but he understood when she said "I have always loved you."

"And I have loved you." His voice lowered to a mere whisper.

"Always." He bent and gave her mouth a gentle, lingering kiss.

She tried to smile but with a small gasp her eyes closed and breath stopped, her head falling gently to one side. He gathered her against him and just held her, face buried in her hair.

He was alone. She'd left him. And suddenly this was no longer home. Just some strange nightmarish place that he would wake up from and wonder why he would dream such things.

Suddenly there was a flash of light, blinding in its intensity and a familiar voice spoke behind him.


At that moment almost nothing could have caused him to give a damn about anything, but this did.

It was Jack.

He laid Aeryn down gently and spun around to see what looked like his father standing there watching him.

He turned his comm back on.

"Pilot! Did you know.... ?!"

"Yes, Commander." Pilot broke in.

"That's what I was trying to tell you. There appears to be a wormhole nearby, similar to the one you encountered two cycles ago. D'Argo would like to know if you require assistance?"

John was watching Jack watch him.

"No Pilot. I've got it covered." He brought his arm over his face to wipe the tears away.

"I thought you were dead" John said numbly.

"We thought you were too."

John laughed then, a frenzied sound.

"Dead? Yeah. Well, as a matter of fact, I am." He walked a few steps closer.

"You got the wrong John you know. I am the wrong John. Always the wrong one." His arms flailed about with each word.

"Wrong time, wrong place, wrong person..." He placed the heels of his hands against his eyes for a moment and took a deep breath.

"I suppose you're going to tell me why you're here." John moved close to the alien so like his father.

Turning his head quizzically from side to side he said "You gonna kill me? You gonna thank me for saving your sorry asses? Well, it wasn't me. But, guess what?! It doesn't matter. I don't care! No. I don't. You do what you want.

He started pacing in front of Jack.

"You wanna screw around with my head, take it apart? Fine. You want the wormhole knowledge you gave me? Take it back. I don't want it anymore. It doesn't matter. Nothing.. matters.."

Jack was silent. He watched John move back and forth.

John stopped pacing and moved in, inches away from Jack. "My life has been nothing but screwed up since I got to this Godforsaken place but at least I had hope. I had Aeryn. Now I have nothing."

He stuck a finger in Jack's face "YOU did this." He pointed to Aeryn.

"You and your Ancients." His voice damned them all. "None of this would have happened if you hadn't stuck the damn knowledge in my head where I couldn't get to it. You should have just given it to me or forgot about it. I would have been happier without it. I could have lived without it.

Jack's expression never wavered. "You wouldn't have said that a cycle ago."

"That's because Aeryn was alive a cycle ago." He said harshly.

John turned and went back to the bed where she lay. Falling down on his knees he pressed her hand to his forehead.

He turned and looked at Jack. "This is why I was alive."

Jack moved then. He walked over to the bed where John knelt and reached out his hand over John's head. With a flash the light came and suddenly John was no longer in the room bending over Aeryn's lifeless body but in a strange otherworldly place, cocooned by light.

"What is this? Are we inside my head?" John was freaked.

"We still have a link from the time of our last encounter." As Jack spoke the sound of his voice seemed to surround John.

"You were right John. We made a mistake. In our search for a home we understood too well your longing for yours and it blinded us to the truth. We should not have given you the information. It is too powerful a tool to be left in one persons hands. We wished only to help and instead caused much pain and grief."

John couldn't move but could feel Jack near him.

"You have proven yourself to be worthy of the knowledge and you have protected it well, but it has led you here. We came because of the one you called Jack. He sent us his memories and thoughts before he died."

"The other John, he told Jack about there being another... me?"

John was puzzled. Surely his message to himself would have said something about that.

"No. He could not read the other Johns mind that deeply. John would not let your presence be known. However, since Jack's last transmission we have been monitoring the situation. We saw the death of the Dreadnaught and we learned of your...his, death"

John couldn't move but the light was almost comforting. He knew without doubt that his other self had been trying to protect him. Hadn't wanted to give away the fact of his existence in case they came after him. A wave of sadness overtook him. He would have liked to know the other him.

John's voice seemed flat to his own ears. "So what now? You gonna suck the information out of my head, or is that too much trouble? I'll tell you what. Why don't you just go ahead and kill me. Actually, if you feel so sorry about your Major League screw up, look at it this way. It would be a really big favor." Laughter tinged in despair filled his head.

"We came because we want to help you John. It's not your fault that the wormhole knowledge has caused so much death and destruction. It is ours."

"Well, you're a little late then, Jaaack." He said bitterly. "Because unless you can bring Aeryn back, there's nothin' you can do to help me."

"It is possible we can bring her back."

Every nerve ending exploded at once, or at least John felt like it had. Time was doing that funny thing again. And suddenly he wanted to be out of the light and back in his room with Aeryn. Now!.

"Get out of my head Jack! Get out Now!" He was practically screaming.

With a Whoosh he was back, still kneeling on the floor by Aeryn. With a lithe motion he stood up, turned around and grabbed Jack with both hands, pushing him back against the wall.

His voice was desperate. "You can do this? Tell me the truth! Can you do this?!"

Jack's look was sympathetic. "We can repair her body. But to bring her back is not without cost John. To you. To her."

John looked over at Aeryn's still body, then pushed Jack towards the bed. He went over to stand beside it looking down on his worst nightmare. "What do we have to do, Jack?"

"Our energies will have to be linked. Yours and mine. Her body can be healed but her life force has gone. To get it back will require a sacrifice. She will need part of yours John. There is a risk."

"I don't care about the risks. If you can save her, do it. It's worth any price, Jack. She's worth any price."

"You have to know this. For Aeryn, her life span will be shortened. By how much, I don't know, but she will not live out a full Sebecean life cycle"

John almost laughed. Considering she was frellin dead now there didn't seem to be much to think about. A shorter life for Aeryn still beat the alternative.

Jack continued. "That's not all John. You cannot take this lightly. In the joining of life forces you will be connected to each other. Forever. If one of you should die the other will too. Think carefully, because there is no going back once it's done."

The thought was sobering and gave him a moments hesitation. Not for the fact he would die if Aeryn did, but that she would die if he did. And what about Aeryn? Would she want to come back tied to him for the rest of her life? He felt again her lips against his ear, whispering "I love you" just before the Carrier blew. He had to take the chance she meant it and accept the consequences if she didn't. Jack was right, his plan was costly, but the alternative was lying in front of him on the bed.

Without hesitation he said "Okay then. Let's do it."

"One more thing John, and perhaps the most important. IF we do this, the wormhole information you have stored in your brain will be lost. The possibility exists that you will never go home again." Jacks face swam in front of John looking him straight in the eyes.
"Think carefully John."

John thought. He thought about everything. He thought about his Dad. He thought of all the good days. Laughing at his sisters, nights spent eating Pizza with DK, watching football games. Chocolate, beer, sunshine, blue skies, trees....Earth.

And if he went back alone, none of it would mean a thing. His dad and friends already thought him dead he was sure. They had moved on with their lives. You 'know', the military would never leave him alone. And heck, he could get a buzz off of Felip Nectar. Keedva was pretty tasty and the sun on Kapra was beautiful beyond description. He could find trees on a dozen other planets, but there was only one Aeryn Sun. It didn't take him long.

"Like I said Jack. Let's do it."

Jack walked around the bed and stood on the other side of Aeryn. His voice was somber. "This is not something we do lightly. Take this gift and cherish it."

John nodded, breathing hard, his mouth set in a grim line. Oh yeah, he would cherish. But first they needed bring her back.

"Relax John. This won't take long." He raised his hands and the world fell away again. This time was different though. It was not light but darkness that surrounded him. He could see nothing, hear nothing, feel nothing... He started to panic but suddenly Jack's voice sounded inside his head, telling him not to worry. That everything was as it should be. It reminded him of years past when his Dad would sneak into his room in the middle of the night and tell him stories to comfort him after a nightmare. He grew still and concentrated on the sound of his childhood.

Jack voice broke the darkness. "Her body has been healed but her life force remains apart. To draw it back, part of yours is demanded. Do you accept?"

Fear flashed for a second. What was he doing messing around with something like this? For a just a microt everything that made him who he was screamed out, No! He could not do this. It was wrong! But there followed visions of Aeryn. The times she had fought for him, the times she had loved him. She had risked everything for him time and again. He could do no less. He wouldn't want to.

"Yes. I accept"

He stopped resisting and let the alien take from him what was needed to bring her back. As he accepted this, a sensation unlike anything he had ever known before hit him. It was not a physical pain but rather the pain of a soul being torn apart. The Aurora Chair was nothing in comparison. He would have stopped then if he could, but he couldn't even scream. Even thought was beyond him. All he could do was endure. It could have been microts or arns but as suddenly as the pain came, it left, and he was once again on Moya.

He was confused at first, unsure of where he was. Sweat slicked his body. "What?..." It was only a microt before it started coming back to him and he looked around.
"Is that it?" He shook his head, feeling confused.
There was no sign of Jack. He was alone. No. Not quite alone. It was a very strange feeling. It was nothing so defined as a presence but just 'something' there with him.

All of a sudden the truth dawned on him and with fear threatening to overtake him he turned his eyes to the reason for all this.
Had it worked? He knelt down once again and with trembling fingers reached out to touch her face. Had she moved? His hand touched her face. A light feathery touch. Warm! Her skin was warm to the touch. As he watched, her eyelashes started to flutter and slowly open. He was staring into the blue/gray depths that he had despaired of ever seeing again.

She blinked and ran a tongue over her dry lips, her eyes
wandering around the room until they fell on John again.
He had been watching her. Unmoving. Still not sure if it was
all a dream or perhaps some new nightmare this place was
going to throw at him.

The corner of Aeryn's mouth tilted just a little when she
finally spoke.

"Funny. You don't look like Zhaan."

At the sound of her voice he made a sound between laughter and tears. Her voice was raspy but surprisingly strong considering she'd been dead just microts ago.

"Did you bring me back?"

John was still staring at her, and Aeryn grew uncomfortable.
She was starting to worry. "Crichton? What's wrong?"
He laughed then as he bent down and wrapped his arms around her. "No, baby. Nothing's wrong." He held on for dear life.

Pilot's voice broke the moment.

"Commander? The wormhole has disappeared and the life form that was on Moya has gone as well. Are you well? How is Officer Sun?"

John realized then that no one on Moya knew what had happened. Did he tell them the truth or keep it to himself?

"I'm fine Pilot. Aeryn is... better. I'll get back to you, okay?"

He sat back a little to look at her. "You are better, aren't you?" his voice was soft, hesitant.

He couldn't stop his hands from running up and down her arms, her shoulders, her hair. He'd never get enough of touching her. So far she didn't seem to mind.

"Yes.... I'm better." She gave a him a half smile. The thought struck her that she was always 'better' with him. It must be a Crichton thing.

He was watching her face intently trying to figure out what she remembered and how she was feeling. About being brought back. About him.

Aeryn reached out and touched his cheek, giving him a questioning look. "How?"

John shushed her with a finger at her lips. "It's a long story. I'll tell you the whole thing later. I promise, but now you need to rest...." He waited a beat then shifted nervously. "Umm, Aeryn?"

She raised an eyebrow in response.

"Do you 'feel' any different? Like you're not quite the same as before? Like, maybe you're not alone?

"Crichton, what are you talking about? I'm not alone. You're here." She was giving him the old familiar 'he's crazy' look.

"Yeah, but ...." he heaved a sigh. There was no way to explain it except to tell her everything and he wasn't looking forward to it.

A strange expression crossed Aeryn's face as she looked at the him. She would always love 'her' John from Talyn with all her heart and she knew that if he hadn't died things would have ended very differently. There would always be a part of her that would miss him. But she accepted that the man standing before her was every bit as much John Crichton as the other. And they both loved her as she loved them.

Right now, he had that look on his face, at once guilty and innocent. He was remarkable, she smiled to herself.
The events had taken their toll though and her eyes started to drift shut. She would just have to wait for his, no doubt, interesting explanation. She was so tired. Before she could give in to sleep she moved over slightly and motioned for him to join her.

Thankful for the reprieve, he lay down next to her and pulled the blanket over them. He still didn't quite understand the miracle that had just happened. There would be a lot of things to consider and explain later, but for right now none of that mattered. Being here, holding Aeryn was what mattered and he knew he had made the right decision. There would be time enough to tell her. Tell her that neither of them would be left behind again.