A/N: I have no idea where this came from. But somewhere between watching my Earth 2 DVDs and wrestling with ideas for a full-length, post 'All About Eve' story, this little drabble made an appearance. It's short, and a little in-coherent, but hopefully honest. Spoilers, I guess, for 'Natural Born Grendlers'.

When I Grow Too Old to Dream

He's already an old man, chronologically speaking, by the time he learns what it means to dream again.

Sometimes, when he closes his eyes, he dreams of the stars. The vast, deep, cold expanse of space stretches infinitely, and he's free. It's an exhilarating rush, one he never wants to come to an end.

But somewhere along the way, he becomes aware that something is missing (or is it someone ?). Where once flying solo was his one desire, the feeling of liberation gives way to emptiness, panic and unrest. He is trapped in his cryo-chamber, freezing, immobile. He cannot even scream his fears that this may very well become his crypt.

He tosses uncomfortably, eyelids flickering; brow creasing in anxiety. Then, some logical part of his sleep-addled brain kicks in – perhaps the part the Terrians healed – that reminds him this is only a dream, and he settles. His heart rate slows, and his breathing stills to a steady rhythm.

He dreams of a fair-haired beauty, with eyes that are blue as the Sea of Antaeus, but infinitely more captivating. For her, he would willingly turn his back forever on the stars. Her smile when it graces her face is brighter than those distant burning balls of gas, anyway. He rests securely knowing that smile is for him, and only him.

He marvels that he came twenty-two light years across the galaxy to fulfill a longing he didn't even know existed. He had convinced himself he wasn't made for growing old; that he could outrace the hands of time, locked in perpetual youth without ties or responsibilities.

He understands now that being grounded isn't the death of his dreams, but the beginning.