Setting: Between Beware of Dog and Won't Get Fooled Again
Disclaimer: Not mine. If it was, we'd have a Farscape channel.
headlights in my eyes, we collide
So leave me on my own,
Run me down and race away from me.
I've got nowhere to go to,
I don't think I can get back on my feet.
-- Rob Dougan (I'm Not Driving Anymore)
He rests one hand on the door, the other hovering just over the control to open it. Something in his gut is telling him that there is danger just on the other side, waiting for the first opportunity to latch its teeth deep into flesh too warm for comfort. Laughter is his only available weapon and he uses it, attempting to banish his fear to the darkest part of his psyche without success. There is no way to truly rid himself of the fear and paranoia that grow in silence; binding him in that same wordless cacophony. It keeps him off-balance and vulnerable.
He knows this and the knowledge wears him down further as he fights.
His lips form a prayer, a chant to fortify his strength, as he allows his hand to fall across the sensor. Pressing forward before his instincts force him to turn and run, to hide away from unwanted eyes, he breathes out the lungful of air he’d unconsciously been holding since stopping on the other side.
There is someone waiting for him and he speaks her name.
Several microts tick by before he realizes that he is unsure if what he’s feeling is relief or anguish. He uses surprise as a mask to hide the confusion, the growing need to run in the opposite direction when he sees her.
He stands there, staring in silence for a moment as her muscles coil, ready for the unexpected. When he voices no emergency, she visibly relaxes, but he can see the warning signs of worry, subtle and hidden from the others. They have grown close, their emotions and skill maturing into something wholly new to them both. At times it is conceivable that each of them knows what the other is thinking with accuracy that borders on the unreal.
She slides a canister across the surface of the table, offering him a drink; the opportunity to talk without pressure. He wants to, is almost desperate to do so, but not here. The possibility of unwanted interruptions is too high. What he wants to say he has imagined time and again, of lying her down beside him in the dark where he can hide from her appraising eyes. Arms and legs entwined as he whispers uncertainties against her skin.
His hope is palpable, but thread-bare to anyone willing to look more closely, and the woman observing him as he accepts the invitation and sits down beside her is doing more than that. She’s watching, waiting to cast judgment if he doesn’t take care.
Assuaging her hidden worry with a smile and a quip that only he truly understands, he focuses by staring at the features he finds worthy of adoration. Her lips – careful in their shaping words of comfort that he understands are still strange for her to form at times. He imagines tracing a line down the curve of her nose; the action has brought a smile in the past.
And finally he gazes into her eyes. Meeting them, he reaches out as if to take the offered drink but rests his hand upon hers instead. It’s only for a moment before he pulls away, clearing his throat to relieve the sudden heaviness in the room.
He laughs and picks up the container, taking a drink then stopping in surprise when he finds that it is a favorite, and a rarity. Making appreciative noises, he gives her a thumbs up signal and is pleased when she responds with a chortle of laughter.
Such a simple reaction and gesture puts her at ease, allowing her to let her guard down to an extent. And with her easiness, he starts to feel foolish over his earlier unnamed fear.
He sits there drunk on her presence and strength, his voice gaining in volume as he gestures wildly with a passing show of humor as he regales her with one of the Nebari girl’s excursions into forbidden sections of the ship; namely the Dominar’s quarters. She listens quietly, only interrupting his commentary to ask a question; not realizing nor understanding what she does – what she gives him – on a daily basis.
She quiets the discourse in his mind.
When his story comes to an end, neither says a word for several microts. The silence is not uncomfortable, but its edges are sharp and obvious with unspoken questions.
He wraps his hand around the cup of juice, mouth tingling with the flavor, and considers keeping the promise he had made to her several weekens before, a game of strategy played against even those that he cares for. It confuses him and he is unable to force away the wall of doubt it creates in one he trusts so implicitly. Many times he has stopped himself from coming to her door deep in the sleep cycle and telling her that he feels the shadows he sees out of the corner of his eye following him even into sleep.
When he is even capable of closing his eyes; paranoia and the instinct to always be on guard often supersede physical need. His judgment is starting to be affected by nightmares and it works to keep the words unspoken and locked away. He tells himself that he continues to keep silent for everyone's safety. If they doubt him - his direction in a time of crisis - it could lead to his, to their deaths (he thinks, correcting himself). Images rush forward in his mind. The surrounding room becomes intangible as he witnesses several horrific sequences of events; each resulting from his need to speak of what follows him through the Leviathan’s long corridors.
Nauseous at what he believes his imagination conjures, at the smell of scorched flesh that mingles with the scent of the fruit wafting upward, he quickly throws the cup across the room. She doesn’t jump up in shock and that surprises him until he realizes that she knew something was coming. There is not much that she misses, always on guard, always watchful. Her training is as much a part of her as breathing, as the color of her hair, or the softness of her breasts under his callused touch.
He stares at the wall, unsure of what he will see, and refuses to face her, almost certain he would not find a scornful look or pity, but the possibility causes him to tremble. That is, until the touch of a hand atop his draws him into turning toward her. There is none of the expected, dreaded, emotions lining her face. What he finds instead is understanding and genuine concern mixed with something else, something unknown. It gives him a gift of peace, a moment that he can hold onto when it’s needed most.
She stands, never removing her hand from his person, accepting of what he requires; both physically and mentally. The time it takes for them to reach his quarters is not long. They both know there is no need for words as they almost lean on one another, silently recognizing what they mean to one another.
Closing the door, he pulls the privacy curtain in front of the latticework before joining her next to the bed. He touches a strand of hair, bringing it across her shoulder, glancing up and smiling as she caresses his face. They undress to only their underclothes, agreeing silently to what was not the only purpose of their stolen moments alone. No one knows from what quarter danger will find them and so their time together is precious, neither wanting to put a name to what they feel developing between them.
As they lie side by side he listens to her breathing, to the heart beating in her chest as they press tightly together, as if becoming one being. They both know each is the other’s strength, the other's weakness. They've proven this fact over and over again as they’ve stood together under fire from those that hunt them all. His thoughts tumble; his mind is becoming dangerous ground, its surface littered by old memories so that he no longer knows where it's safe to walk and where he's going to plunge into a quagmire that suffocates his self even as it obliterates the treacherous memories. Too many things; his home, old dreams and memories lost forever to him. It is only a matter of time until he is unable to keep from adding his sanity and self-control to the list. He can feel himself weaken day by day, minuscule parts drifting away from the whole in order to hide with the shadowed voice that demands to be heard even as it secretes itself away.
He threads his fingers through her hair, brushing through the strands, and tries to ignore feeling as if eyes are staring over his shoulder at her, at the lovely pale flesh of her side before it rises up with the curve of her hip. He spreads out a hand protectively across her hip and tucks his chin into the crook of her neck. His lips form a prayer, a chant to fortify his strength. Prays to a deity he no longer believes in to protect her. Protect her from Scorpius. From himself. It is an errant thought, rushing by quickly even as it allows him to realize that he is breaking down and losing no matter how fast he runs. The old rituals are useless. He knows this, as do I. The more he fights, resisting reason in favor of self-preservation, the more he fades. Believing more in the person in his arms than in himself, he gathers his strength for the coming day. His strength is his weakness.
Aeryn Sun knows what it means to be a tool for that which is greater than herself, but villainous idealism continues to corrupt her and her usefulness in the coming days will be re-evaluated. For now she keeps him safe from others. As I protect him from himself.