The Sky Is Flesh
by not jenny

"This is not this is not this is not happening." (She exclaimed. Whispered. Chanted.)

This is not this is not-

The sky burns. Melts over her skin in waves. The smell of charred flesh making her sick.

This is not this is not this is not not not-

Her stomach moves. It's too soon, but it's rippling and screaming and maybe human physiology is not as compatible as they all thought as they said as they-

(Static. White light, everything fading and too bright at once. Noise. Silence.)

A tear, a loud rip, and she refuses to pass out from the pain.

A hiss, how does that feel? A whisper under her skin.

She does not scream. Does not cry. She is a soldier, a peacekeeper, a warrior. She. will. not. scream. The baby the thing cuts through her like a qualta blade.

 

The stars are twinkling, so they must be planet-side.

"Weer naht inkanzis aneemore toetoe."

Two cycles bleeding into three, jumping from planet to ship to planet. Always looking. Moving. Always searching. One step ahead of the law and two steps behind their prey. Their goal. John Crichton (may he rest in peace; may he live forever.).

The child has his eyes. His smile. The child is a warrior, with her ferocity and his tenacity. The child is small and haunting and deadly.

Aeryn is cautious of the child's power.

The child calls itself John, after its father. Aeryn calls it Child. Small One. Thing. It. A name would only give it more power, and that is the last thing she wants.

The stars flicker in and out of existence, and they have no where else to go. Lying on the hard ground, Aeryn cradles her pulse rifle to her breast. Watches the child breathe, refusing to sleep under it's watchful eyes. When it finally begins to snore, Aeryn closes her eyelids and rests.

Morning. The child points at a spot in the distance, and they walk.

She held the child to her, that first day, and tried to love it. Listened to its heart beat under her palm and smelt its head. Traced her thumb around its lips. When she fed it, it tried to swallow her whole. It may have succeeded; some days, she isn't sure.

I will find him I will find him I will...

The child can sense wormholes. Soon, he will be able to call them. Counting down from a million, it waits. Aeryn knows this to be true, that it is only waiting for the moment it can control destiny. It will travel through realities, collapsing worlds behind it.

They search. The child for power; Aeryn for salvation. Tomorrow, they will leave this planet.

 

She always saw the end, but it never looked anything like this.

She woke up on fire. She woke up alone. The sky fell, and she woke up broken and burning and cracked. The baby was born microts later, and, suddenly, she was a mother.

The baby shrieked. Aeryn screamed.

John was gone.

From the beginning, they walked. The child not even alive an arn, and already they were running. From the Scarrans, to John, from the Peacekeepers; always to Crichton. She canít remember which came first, the flight or the search.

Not that it matters.

The child smiled, and her heart stopped.

 

A transport ship waits in port, and Aeryn trades herself for travel to the nearest Commerce Planet. The captain's tongue is spiked and black, and she screams. In agony, in ecstasy. His talons rip into her thigh, and she cries out his name.

The child is silent. Watchful.

The trip is mercifully short, and they reach the Commerce Planet just as her bruises begin to fade.

Disembarking at daybreak, they head for the mountains. Just Aeryn and the child, and it plots their course with military precision. Tales of a Sebacean who howls at the moon greeted them when they arrived in the market, and Aeryn feels hopeful for the first time in cycles. For the first time since John died. Since she died alongside him.

They walk.

They walk up into the sky, one foot in front of the other, and the air thins with each step. They make camp long after nightfall.

John comes to her that night, as he does when the moons are full and the sky is liquid dark. This is her truth; this is her choice. She chooses him.

"Hey, Aeryn, what's up?" (Doc. Bugs Bunny, cartoon character, wabbit.)

"Crichton," she whispers. It is important to be careful. Stealthy. This is when her Peacekeeper training comes in most helpful, these long nights with John in the shadow of their son. She can almost feel his fingers wrapping around her wrist.

They kiss. His mouth is dust.

 

For over a cycle, she was the mother she always imagined she would be.

"I love you," she would croon, "I love you, little one." And his sticky boy fingers would slap against her cheek, and she would kiss his thumbs and hold him in her arms.

The child grew heavier. Her arms more tired.

 

Morning arrives in a blaze of purple and grey. The child smiles.

Aeryn checks her pulse pistol, kicks some dirt over the fire, and checks her weapon again. The trigger sticks, but the aim is still true. They continue up the mountain, their footsteps a military tattoo.

She can feel him, here, in the air. Crichton. The child can, too.

They do not speak. Quicken their pace.

She can taste him, his warm fellip nectar mouth, his yeasty masculinity. She can smell his morning skin. There is a fire up ahead. A cave. Movement.

They walk faster. The sun slips behind a patch of clouds.

The child points. A figure, waving in the distance.

"Crichton? Is that-"

The sky cracks in half.

 

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