From: "Fialka" <email@example.com>
Subject: [glass_onion] NEW: Unbeknown, by Fialka (FS, 1/1) Date: Thursday, May 16, 2002 10:49 AM
SUMMARY: A long time from now, in a galaxy far, far away SPOILERS: none
CATEGORY: Post-ep for DWTB, vignette
DISCLAIMER: not mine, and all that dren NOTES: Beta by Cofax, KodiakkeMax and Marasmus.
"John Crichton?" He snorts. "How the hell should I know?"
"Don't frell with me, old man."
The girl sits before him, legs apart, elbows on her knees. Black hair draped over her shoulders like a cape. Face a stone carving, all ridges and planes. He studies her, hard. She sits without fidgeting, steady under his gaze.
"You're too much like your mother, child."
"I'm not a child."
Indeed she's not. She could be twenty or fifty -- with Sebaceans, who can tell?
He sits back, lets his focus blur. His eyes are beginning to fail him now, but he doesn't mind as much as he thought. He's seen so much. Empires falling and worlds on fire, new structures rising to fill the empty spaces.
Some. Not all. Some spaces can't be filled once the original is gone.
"John Crichton," the girl prompts. She probably thinks he's lost track of the conversation.
"Dichotomy of the universe. Dead and alive. There and not." He swallows, mouth painfully dry. She rises in a moment of breathless grace, reaches for a beaten metal pitcher on the table beside him. He accepts the water she pours, lets it moisten his lips. Cycles since he retired to this blue-green planet, built this cabin with the last of his strength. Still, he's surprised at the taste. Faintly sweet, like the mountain streams he drank from as a boy.
Yes, the universe still holds the odd surprise. This girl, here. The mother in the child. Same economy of motion; same hands, both delicate and strong.
He catches her left hand, turns it over. A heat scar ripples across the palm.
"You've been out there."
"Childhood souvenir." She withdraws from his grasp, returns to her place halfway across the room.
"Mama left her toys lying around?"
"I never knew my mother as a child." Gaze still steady. Direct. The eyes might be His but the expression is unmistakably Hers. "I joined the Territorial Militia when my planet was overrun by the Scarrans. That's how we found each other."
"And now she's sent you to me, to ask about John Crichton."
"She said you would know."
Fire in his chest. Same old pain, same old same old. Battles to be fought, enemies to outrun. Cycles falling away uncounted. Things he learned from Her -- how to shoot, how to fly, how to keep the entire universe at arm's length. The rest he brought with him -- how to hold on, how to let go, how to keep moving forward.
"Tell her if there's something she wants to know, she can damn well ask him herself."
He settles back in his chair, waves the girl away. She doesn't go.
Of course she doesn't go. There's only one time She went, and it was the last.
He wipes a hand over his eyes, suddenly tired to the bone. He's mixing things up, present and past. That's happening more frequently now.
"She wants to give him a message. She wants him to know she's all right."
"Good. That's good." He clears his throat. "If I see him, I'll pass it on."
He hears the girl move and his eyes fly open, his hand moves to his thigh. Winona, the only companion who's been with him all the way.
She comes towards him with a long stride, left arm held slightly away from the cartridge pack at her waist. A striking black-haired woman, all slender limbs and lethal grace.
It's all he's had, all this time. Memory and a warm gun. End of the journey so close he can taste it in the empty spaces. Two teeth, bottom right. A girl, a world. Things he's lost, never to be replaced.
The girl kneels at his feet, her face so familiar, so once-loved. He puts a hand on her cheek, feels that peculiar cool velvet, that same curve of bone. If only the eyes weren't His he might pretend, just for one moment, that she was someone else.
No. He sits back, folds his hands in his lap. There's nothing to be gained by pretending. He learned that long ago.
"Tell your mother...all the stories she's heard are true. And none of them are."
The girl places something cool between his palms, closes his hands around it. Speaks with Her liquid voice.
"The wars are over, John."
He has to open his eyes to realise he's closed them again. Doddering old fool. The girl has already risen, is nearly gone.
"What's your name, child?" The question is soft. He didn't know he had that much softness left in him, damn it all.
The girl turns back, but comes no closer. "Djanek," she answers, just as soft. "Djanek Sun."
"It's an old Sebacean name. It means unbeknownst." The girl touches a thumb to her lip, as if wiping the last words away. Another piece of her genetic code falling into place.
"Yes," she adds, smiling for the first time. "But."
He opens his hand. The center of the coin is worn, as if rubbed over and over by someone's pensive thumb.
"Tanvald Five," the girl tells him, and is gone.
Feedback is the chocolate in my universe: firstname.lastname@example.org (but no S4 spoilers, please, please, please)
If you enjoyed this story, please send feedback to Fialka
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