The Edge of Twilight
He could hear every word that was said. He could feel the cool touch of his wife's fingertips as she stroked his hair. He tried to blink his eyes to give her a sign that he was still with her but he remained in the catatonic state. He had never felt this bone weary and so emotionally drained. Rygel had insisted that Aeryn close his eyes but she refused. When he continued to badger her telling her it just wasn't right to leave him lying there with blank eyes wide open, that it was disturbing, Aeryn grabbed him by the throat shouting "He's alive, not dead!" By her actions and the tone of her voice the ruler of over six hundred billion subjects backed away leaving her to sit by John continuing to watch the rise and fall of his chest.
Aeryn couldn't bring herself to close his eyes. It brought back one of the most heart wrenching moments in her life when she watched John's "twin" die and she closed those beautiful blue eyes forever. She wouldn't do it. To her it would be admitting that John was lost to her all over again. While he still had breath in his body he was alive and that gave her hope. Hope. The word that John had used so often and had taught her it's meaning. She would not give up hope of him coming back to her. She needed him. Needed him in a way that sometimes scared the frell out of her. Losing the other John nearly destroyed her. Her mind told her she was strong and she had to remain strong for the sake of their child but her heart felt differently. There would be no second chances this time. This man, the love of her life… She shut herself off from continuing down this path, she refused to contemplate the worse. Instead she sat by his bedside touching him, talking to him, waiting for some sign of life.
In the solar days that had passed since John fell into the coma, Aeryn stayed by his side only leaving when absolutely necessary. She had no appetite but forced herself to eat. Noranti had made it perfectly clear that her son needed her. She was his sole source of sustenance . Aeryn's meals were brought to her and Noranti reminded her that when Crichton woke up he would be farhbot to see that his wife had withered away to skin and bones. So she ate.
How many solar days had passed since that fateful day? God, he prayed "please help me." He prayed that he would be released from this prison his mind and body were trapped in. He wanted to take Aeryn and his son into his arms and hold them and never let go. He wanted to look in to his wife's beautiful face, stare into those stormy gray eyes telling her how much he loved her. How much he loved the child they had created and brought into the world together. There had been hardly anytime at all to marvel over their creation except for just a few brief moments when he had been born. No chance to count fingers and toes, to remark on who's nose he had or who's mouth. Everything had gone to hell in a hand basket in moments after the birth. Now as he lay here he pictured everything Aeryn was telling him about their son. Already the little guy was changing and he was frelling missing it. Aeryn held herself together when she spoke of their son, careful not to fall to pieces. But he could hear it in her voice. He knew how hard it was for her to see him lying like this. In his mind it was probably close to what Sebaceans referred to as "the living death." He remembered falling out of the wormhole machine and falling to the floor. He could still hear her screams echoing deep in the recesses of his heart as she called his name "John, John!" He could hear her pleading for help as he lay on the floor not moving. "Someone… Somebody help me! Somebody help me!" Demanding that he wake up as she tried to raise him up from the floor. Hearing the terror in her voice had nearly ripped his heart out of his chest.
The latest turn of events was no surprise to him. After all he was John Crichton. Hadn't he gotten use to the universe frelling him over and over again? But this time his resolve was unyielding. He vowed this time he was done being the intergalactic whipping boy. Too much had happened for him to roll over and take it up the butt one more time. D'Argo's parting words resounded in his mind as he told him to do "big things " with his life as he lay mortally wounded. He wasn't going to let the big man down. He couldn't, he wouldn't. D'Argo had sacrificed his life so they all could live. A debt he could never repay but was more than willing to try by making a new life with Aeryn and their son. Their child deserved to be raised in peace and damn if he wasn't going to be a part of that. Everything he had fought so hard for, all that he had sacrificed was just beyond his reach. Crichton began to panic that perhaps the damage done to him when the wormhole weapon had been shutdown was so severe that this was going to be what was left of him. But he couldn't accept this fate. Fate, there was that word rearing it's head again. Well fate had brought him to this point and his fate was Aeryn. She was his destiny. It had been written in the stars. She had been and always would be his guiding star, his constant.
As he lay there he let all the memories come flooding back. The past four cycles washing all over him like a tidal wave. There wasn't a single moment that did not include Aeryn. It was as if his life ceased to exist before she came into it. He still winced at having had his ass kicked the first time they met. But as time wore on the relationship began to change, to soften and grow. The first time their lips met, the first time they had shared their bodies, the countless times they had each other's backs. He even let all the dren they suffered through enter his mind. The neural chip imbedded in his brain by Scorpius that wrecked havoc not only on himself but everyone around him. The time spent apart when Aeryn had left Moya to join Talyn with his "twin" in tow. Leaving him to slowly die because she had taken his heart and soul when she left. Aeryn's heartbreak of losing the other John and her return to Moya. Only to leave again because she was so afraid to love John Crichton. It was a hard fought battle riddled with much hurt, desperation and heartache. As lost as he had become in the end it had all been worth it. They eventually found their way back to each other and repaired what had been broken. The love between them far more powerful than either would have thought possible. The old earth expression had been true, "absence makes the heart grow fonder." Each passing memory John felt his mind and body gaining strength. He needed to get stronger so he could break out of what he felt was the edge of twilight. John Crichton wasn't through yet, not by a long shot. He didn't care how many curve balls the universe was going to throw at him. He wasn't going down without a fight. He had two reasons to keep fighting, his wife and his son.
It was hard to distinguish what part of the solar day cycle it was. He heard someone approaching his side. He could hear someone speaking. As he listened closer he realized it was Stark.
"Crichton. Whenever we cross paths, I leave the encounter…transformed. And none more so than on this occasion. Thanks to you, I've found my own internal peace." "Remember me, John " He felt Stark lift his hand up then place it over something cool and metal like. He couldn't move his fingers over it so he could feel it in it's entirety. But he knew what it was. It was the mask that he wore. " Till we meet again." He heard him get up and walk away from his bedside.
Aeryn who had been sitting off to the corner watched Stark leave the room after he gently placed his hand on her shoulder and gave her a gentle squeeze in which she patted his hand in return. She got up and went to get her son who had been placed in a makeshift bed. She walked over to John's bedside and sat down with her son in her arms.
"You did it, John. There's no more dying. You know it's strange." She tenderly looked down at the sleeping child in her arms. "It took almost losing this little one to fully understand motherhood. And I love it." She leaned down to softly kiss his small head. She tried to choke back the emotion as she continued to speak to her husband. "And all of a sudden…three is not such a scary number." She placed their son next to his father telling him that as wonderful as motherhood was she would not accept it as a tradeoff for losing him. Looking down at her son one more time, gently stroking his face Aeryn rose from the bed and walked back to the corner and watched father and son lying peacefully together.
John's head was pounding as his eyes flickered and he gasped for breath. Aeryn felt her heart stop as she saw John's eyes open up. John turned his head and noticed his son lying next to him. "Hey." "What are you doing here?" The baby started to cry softly and John kissed his head to quiet him down. "Boo, did I scare you?" "Cause you scared me. Shh…Crichton's don't cry…often…or for very long." He rubbed his lips across his son's forehead as he smiled and asked "Where's your mother?" John looked up and saw his Radiant Aeryn Sun standing off to the corner with tears in her eyes and the most brilliant smile on her face.
"Hey, baby" he whispered as he gently made his way to sitting up on the bed, careful not to wake his son who had fallen back to sleep. Aeryn took a few tentative steps towards the bed thanking whatever supreme being for bringing him back to her. She closed the distance between them and sat down on the bed by his side. He gently touched her face and twisted a strand of her raven hair around his fingers.
"How do you feel?" Aeryn asked as she stared intently into those blue eyes that she loved so well.
"Like I've been hit by a Mack truck." Aeryn gave him a strange look, "I'll explain it later. Come here." He pulled her closer into his arms. She wrapped herself around him not wanting to let him go. They remained that way for several microts until Aeryn finally spoke.
"I was so afraid John." Her voice cracked with emotion. "So afraid that I was going to lose you and I didn't know if I …."
John pulled away and placed his finger on her mouth. "It's alright. I am not going anywhere. There's nothing in this universe that would keep me from you and junior here." He tipped her head up and brought his mouth to hers so he could drink her in. It felt like it had been forever since their lips had met. When they were both out of breath they broke apart. "How long was I laying here for?"
Aeryn laid her head against his chest, "About seven solar days." John lightly stroked her hair as he told her he had been able to hear her. That he had been able to feel her.
"So did I hear you right? Three's not such a scary number?" Aeryn looked up at John as she displayed the slightest wisp of a smile and pulled his face close to hers and touched her lips to his. It was the sweetest kiss which ended too quickly as Aeryn broke away to stare into her husband's beautiful eyes that were full of life again, the bluest eyes that now were rivaled only by her son's.
"Before we even think about number two and three, we need to think about our firstborn. We've yet to name him John" Aeryn stroked the baby's cheek who was nestled between his mother and father.
John brushed his thumb across his son's forehead. "Yeah. You're right. I've got some ideas."
Aeryn looked back up to her husband, "Me too." John could see that Aeryn looked drained, totally spent over having to suffer through his coma and she needed to get some rest.
"Hey. Why don't we talk about this later. Right now I want to lay here with you and the little guy. It's been so long since I held you in my arms." Aeryn picked up the sleeping baby and shifted positions so her back was against John and laid their son in the curve of her body.
"If I live to be a hundred cycles I will never tire of your scented hair. Is it for you or for me?" He asked her as he buried his face in her hair gathering her and their son closer to his body. He recalled another time, a couple of cycles ago when they had had a similar conversation.
Aeryn turned her face towards him and whispered, "For you, only ever you." John sighed with contentment. There were many things that needed to be discussed, the emotional turmoil they had suffered through would have repercussions and they would need to deal with the fallout. But they would together. He closed his eyes and kissed Aeryn's neck as he fondled his son's small head. Tomorrow would come soon enough. For now he wanted only one thing his future which he held in his arms.