SUMMARY: Just when you thought the angst was over… What, you think I've learnt how to do plots since the pantsfic? Feh… of course not. No plot… Random Aeryn-angst, third person POV. Also my pathetic, if rather clichéd, attempt to put the John/Aeryn relationship into words. No easy task.


DISCLAIMER: They be not mine. Please be not suing me.

SETTING: This has two settings. It starts off somewhere between GEM and "Relativity" (and no, not like that, you gutter minded people…), or, in fact, any night at any point after this, and then it moves to right after IP:IA. And just when you thought angstfics for that had gone away, too. *evil smile* Actually, this fits nicely in right before my other IP:IA fic, "Nothing More You Can Do"…

AUTHOR'S NOTES: Apparently, I have some kind of control over my Muse/s, in this case, Aeryn. I was reading through a fic from Eve before I started beta-ing it, and this idea came rushing into my head. However, it was 1am, and I was tired, so I vehemently refused to write it until such time as I was awake and coherent (ha!)… to my complete horror, Aeryn backed down!! This is a Good Thing. Anyway… this is Eve's fault. It appears I'm not responsible for any of my fics =)

When writing this, constantly, I was complaining (as Eve will vouch for) that something seemed a little off, and not right. Then I realised, the perspective was all screwy… this has a certain dream-like, lucid reality to it, and needs to be read with this in mind. It's done in third person POV but some of it can be read as first person, too… it's just odd. I had a really hard time writing this - it just wouldn't… work… somehow - which I suppose will teach me not to frell about with Muses when they throw an idea at me. Anyway, please bear this in mind, and enjoy.


This fic © T'eyla Minh 2002

The room is dark, its colouring somewhere between crimson and black. The only sounds, the gentle, almost silent, humming of the myriad systems of a biomechanical vessel, and two distinct breathing patterns, one slightly faster, but in perfect timing nonetheless. Two bodies lie close together, one curled protectively around the other, asleep and wide-awake respectively; one dreaming, one thinking.

She'd never realised how alone it used to feel, before this. She can't see a thing in the darkness, but that only means that every other sense is heightened. She can detect everything - the curious metallic smell of the Leviathan hybrid, the sounds in the room, the steady, comforting warmth of the form behind her, and the gentle heartbeat against her back. This, she realises, is nothing short of perfection, the beginning of a brand new life starting from this moment. There is to be no going back… no more will either of them sleep alone. Neither of them would want to. Being alone… is being alone.

Being alone, now, or ever again… is torture. Unfeasible. Unthinkable…

In the peaceful stillness, sleep should be the only option, but she finds it impossible. His breathing is hypnotic and reassuring. It would be easy enough to lapse into unconsciousness, just listening, sensing the rise and fall of his chest, but she resists it. What better time than now to reflect - neither of them is going anywhere, and there are no words to be said. If anything were to be spoken, the serenity would instantly shatter, no matter what the phrase.

Even on this gunship, with its arsenal of weaponry, and defensive shielding, she feels vulnerable, and has so far been unable to explain why. Now, encircled by strong arms, the answer is clear - she feels far safer in his embrace, enveloped by his love even while he sleeps, than she ever has in any troop.

She wonders how much longer this will last, and how long it has been. Already it feels like an eternity has passed, as if there had been no time before this. This moment is an eternity in itself; there are no boundaries of time or space, and there probably never have been, nor ever will be. She never wants this to end.

For the briefest of microts, he's awake, moving almost imperceptibly, the stillness momentarily broken. Seemingly glad to find her still there, he tightens his grip, kisses her lightly on the back of her neck, and drifts into sleep again. He does not acknowledge her own awakened state. She smiles to herself, listening as his breathing settles again.

The point of contact on her neck tingles, and is suddenly accompanied by a similar, if much less pleasant feeling – an overwhelming dread that courses down her spine. Eternity is never forever…

Morning will come, and everything will shatter again, fracture into the harshness of reality, the meniality of living, the agony of being apart again. Beyond that… what? She fears the future, being alone in the universe without him, and not knowing what lies ahead. Will this last forever? Can it? Should it? Is this warmth, this closeness, to be as constant in her existence as her life as a Peacekeeper once was?

He holds her to him like a possession he cannot bear to part with, his arms a barrier to keep her from harm, and her body a shield to protect his own heart. They both know it is entirely within her power to crush it, but the thought no longer surfaces; it is dragged down, and drowned in emotion.

She loves him. Admitting it makes it almost inconceivably better. She loves him, more than it is possible to believe. Despite this, she doubts herself. He has adored her for longer than he cares to admit, and she worries that, perhaps, she is merely mirroring him. Is the love she feels nothing more than a projection of his, or is it her own? It may be nothing more than a bubble formed between and around them as they ricochet feelings off each other. She dares not ask herself for the truth. They are both too fragile, and too afraid to find out.

She loves him too much now to lose him. Paradoxically, she almost loses him too much to love him. They are torn between two contrasting worlds; one, the safe haven, created in a future yet to happen, and the other, reality, dangerous and lethal. Nothing meshes. The past and the present and the future are all jumbled, merging into an amorphous sense of simply being, where all that exists is togetherness. Nothing before, and nothing after.

Fear is exhausting; there is nothing to be done about it except hope it is not justified. With this in mind, she lets herself sleep, her breathing falling into rhythm with his almost perfectly…


The room is still dark, its colouring similar and yet somehow bleaker, colder. Two bodies still lie together, their places now reversed. The humming continues as always, a familiar background noise. It seems almost imperceptibly quieter, somehow. Contemplative. Respectful.

She wakes from a dreamless slumber in a place that is both familiar and alien, and attempts to orientate herself. Reality hits with a sickening thud in her chest. The events of the previous day come flooding back, drowning her in memories and images. Her attempts to banish them to her subconscious fail, and more feelings than she has experienced in her whole life wash over her.

She pulls herself further into consciousness, unwilling, but knowing it must be done. The body in her arms, once so warm, is now cold. Her own arms are stiff. More than her two dead limbs, a larger part of her is missing, lost, and gone forever to a place nobody can find. She knows she should move, but cannot find the strength.

Dealing with death is familiar, a part of her old training. Dealing with loss, however, is not. And now, she has no guide to talk her through it, nobody to lead her to the answers within herself. The feelings she experiences are as alien to her as her world was to him. They helped each other to understand. Her world was his end… her feelings will be her end, without him.

She wills the form beside her to move, and the emptiness within her seems to double when he does not. Eventually, every muscle creaking and complaining, she gets up, replacing the red cover over him. She is cold inside and out. In her mind, she feels things begin to vanish, dissipate, and blow away on a mental breeze: her plans, the future they had talked about together… brief memories of a false Earth combined with memories of themselves - an idyllic ideal, a constant, a goal. A hope. Nothing remains, and there is only darkness – a future unplanned and situations unprepared for.

Her fears of the unknown, considered at a time that feels like cycles ago, start to come together and form into reality. She is alone. She will always be alone. It is torture.

She loves him, still, and yet she hates him for leaving her. But her love and hatred are submerged in a gelatinous ocean of grief, and the possibility of swimming to the surface seems to be non-existent. He would call her 'radiant'. She feels far from it. Radiant only in his eyes, loved only in his heart, protected only in his arms, she feels only a half-being… existing only in his presence.

She kisses his steel-cold forehead, wishing for a reaction but knowing there will be none, then turns. In the doorway stands her former commanding officer – a manifestation of her future, if she did but know it yet – his face fixed in a grim representation of sympathy. She walks past him, heading somewhere, her destination unknown to her until she gets there. No place on this vessel matters now that she is alone. Nowhere can bring her comfort.

Eventually, she reaches the curious chamber, which houses no Pilot, and sits against the wall of the console. Finally, out of sight of the others, she allows herself to cry.

In the very back of her mind, as her sobbing turns into nothing more than silent tears, she can still hear his breathing in her ear, and his heartbeat at her back…


ADDITIONAL A/N: Phew!! You have no idea exactly how much trouble I had with this. And randomly throughout writing it, Aeryn and Erik teamed up – she gave me random feelings, he gave me metaphors, and the result is what you've just read. Now, please be honest, and review. Flames will be bottled and sent back to their owners.

Before I sign off, I'll give you a list of parodies I might attempt in the near future. Feedback on whether or not to do them would be gratefully appreciated:

1) "Leviathan Rouge", as I already mentioned, and which I may attempt to start over the Easter break, work permitting.

2) A "Les Misérables" parody. Title suggestions would be nice. Unlike the FHS, these two will probably be more serious (with the exception of the random insanity that is "Moulin Rouge", of course) and angsty, not to mention a challenge.

3) Okay. Now I'm imploring you. Please stop me from writing this deliciously evil idea: "The Adventures of Moya, Queen of the Uncharted Territories". The temptation to do it using John, D'Argo and Crais is entirely too delightful. For the sake of my sanity, please stop me… (And the same goes for "To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar", which is exactly the same premise but with an appropriate female character to throw in for Aeryn to play… oh God. You see what I mean??)

4) On a much more serious and slightly saner note – "The Wizard of the UT"… starring John Crichton as Dorothy Gail. *grin*

5) Finally, "Little Leviathan of Horrors", with our favourite Hynerian as the mean, green, eating machine that is Audrey II.

So. Yays or nays for any of these would be appreciated. Calling the men in white coats is optional but not recommended, because then I'd have to kill you. =)

Anyway. Now you may review.