She finds Crichton in the corridor outside her quarters.
Talyn's internal sensors follow her, as if he thinks that by listening he will somehow understand. His pain and confusion are nearly overwhelming, but his disappointment distracts Crais from his own.
He tells himself it doesn't matter, that he wants nothing but rest, relief from the ache behind his eyes and the itch and burn of fresh sores. That he feels nothing, watching them, beyond the disgust anyone raised a Peacekeeper would feel.
Aeryn's voice is weary, frustrated, filtering clearly through the haze of exhaustion, though he tries not to hear. Talyn's distress presses at the edges of his mind, but the young ship's focus is still mercifully elsewhere. Crichton, for once, is silent.
The transponder lies where she left it, gleaming dully on the table, dried blood and a strand of long hair still clinging to metal prongs. A slight weight, barely there when he picks it up, turning it over in his hand; such a tiny, fragile thing to hold so much hope. The human babbles some nonsense about naming stars.
His fingers tighten, one convulsive squeeze crushing delicate wires, sharp spines biting into unprotected flesh.
What can she see in him? Talyn wants to know, pressure against his mind growing insistent. Crichton is making even less sense than usual. The star he points to has no navigational significance; according to the ship's charts, its only planet has been a radioactive wasteland for more than a hundred cycles.
Crais flings the transponder in a drawer, stares at the blood running down his fingers. Slams the drawer shut, and feels Talyn's pain pounding stronger in his temples.
It's my one constant.
He laughs aloud, hoarse and ragged, fists clenching against Talyn's rising anger. Let the human delude himself. There are no constants in this universe, only questions he cannot answer and choices he cannot explain. Why parents forsake their children, how families can be torn apart, and how to fill that bleeding void she left.
They are not talking anymore.
His eyes open, focus shifting and all he sees are his own hands, fingers white and bloodless, clutching the edge of the table. He whispers, "Talyn," knows it's useless against the white-noise shriek building in his ears, driving him to his knees. Worse than before, and he is out of options, too worn to fight any longer and nowhere left to turn. He claws at his collar, serrated agony slicing raw nerves and he cannot breathe to scream, knows no one would hear him anyway.
No, Aeryn, he thinks, as the pain spikes to its highest pitch, just before the darkness takes him. This is what it feels like to need someone.
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Author: Flora [email] [website]
Details: Standalone | PG | gen | 2k | 03/03/05
Characters: Crais, Talyn
Summary: There are no constants in this universe, only questions he cannot answer and choices he cannot explain.
Notes: Spoilers through GEM.
Disclaimer/Other: Thanks so much to Kernezelda for betaing this! *g* I don't own any of these characters, I'm not making any money off of this, please don't sue.
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