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Orpheus Descending

by Flora

[Story Headers]

John had a story, once.

He had many stories, so many foolish stories. Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, as if nothing interesting ever happened here and now. It's tradition, just go with it, baby, okay?

Green light catches in dark glass as she swallows, liquor sickly sweet and burning. The last empty bottle slips from her fingers; at this height she'll never hear it hit the ground. In a land far away, a man lost a lover, and refused to let her go.

Wind breathes strong and cold against her face, carrying the smell of primitive industrial smog. Not just any man, but a singer and a poet, whose voice could move the very stones to weep. Eyes half closed, she can see his lips quirk, amusement at her disbelief.

Refused to let her go, traveled alone to the Underworld, to the land of the dead, to find her. And he'd shake his head at her disbelieving snort, waving a hand before she could argue.

A three-headed monster guarded the gates of the Underworld. The poet sang to it, and it slept, and he passed through unharmed. One hand traced along her hip, the other threading through her hair. She remembers him singing, tuneless but joyful, nonsense syllables loud enough to rouse Rygel from a sound sleep. Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall ... Just go with it, and she'd hidden her laughter as he continued.

He wandered the halls of the dead, calling for his love, singing her beauty, her strength. He played his lyre and the darkness lifted, hope returning to the damned. And the King of the Dead pitied him.

The guardian of this underworld has only one head. Five eyes and flesh like a rotting corpse's, but she did not flinch to touch him. But she had no music for her lover, no words of beauty or strength. A child's story and a fool's hope - how could the greatest poet sing, his throat closed with tears?

Lights flicker through gray smoke below her, cold and remote, vanishing in endless twilight. Sixty floors between her and the ground, and she cannot see the sky. She wonders if this world even has one.

He made me better. Futile words, in a halting, broken voice.

Four words to encompass so much, but these were all that she could find. She has words to build a wall, to isolate herself, hide this weakness of emotion. She has words like acid, twisting like a barbed knife, words to tear a man open and leave him bleeding on his knees.

She has no words to describe John Crichton.

Lead her back into the light, the King said. As if it would be that easy. Running lights glitter in the depths, far and cold as stars in space.

Lead her to the light, and she will follow. But it could never be that easy. This world's sun is rising, glowing orange through the smog, but dawn here brings no warmth.

Do not look back, the King said. A moment's hesitation, and all will be lost. But he was afraid, and he could not hear her footsteps behind him. He turned to look for her, saw her falling back, through a long and twisting tunnel. So close ... and then to lose it all in an instant. A distant voice calling, wormhole raging blue against the sky.

You lose them ... everything ... instantly. And suddenly nothing can replace them.

Foolish stories from a strange world, and five eyes cannot see far enough to bring her anything real. There is no one standing by her window, and the voice she hears is only in her head. The door slams shut behind her, and she does not look back.

But no one follows.

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Fandom:  Farscape
Title:  Orpheus Descending
Author:  Flora   [email]   [website]
Details:  Standalone  |  PG  |  3k  |  03/03/05
Characters:  Aeryn
Pairings:  John/Aeryn
Summary:  She has no words to describe John Crichton.
Notes:  Written for the Farscape Friday fairy tale challenge. Spoilers for season three.
Disclaimer/Other:  Thanks so much to Kernezelda for betaing this! 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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