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Unity

Another snippet for your reading pleasure

Well, I sent off another snippet to HRS and I thought I’d share it here.

“God damnit to all hell!” John shouted as he dropped to his knees, ignoring the sudden rush of pain from his wounded leg and the echoing surge riding up from his bruised knuckles. “What is happening to me? They’d better lock me up ‘cause I’m such bad news. I can’t believe I did that. I actually pushed my child and wife. God help me.” He had to pull himself together. Why couldn’t he get it back together? It had been a week since those sorry excuses out of some Land Of The Lost Show had grabbed him. It wasn’t the first time, why did this one bother him so much? For the sake of his family he had to suck up the grief and anger, yes; That was it; think of Little D and Aeryn, of Chiana, and even Noranti who need you. Shake it off, John. He shook his head as if the physical motion would clear away the rage at fate that was clouding his thoughts and obviously bleeding into his muscles. If he could have just a few moments of peace. That was all he needed, the peace of home and family. But when did he ever get what he wanted?

He leaned over and back, rocking away his grief with eyes closed to hold back the tears. What would his dad say if he learned what had just happened? Abuser. He would call him a child abuser and murderer. Probably lock him up. And he deserved it, too. That’s what it was, abuse. He was an abuser. He’d become a sociopath. Son of Sam had nothing on him. Good thing Dad wasn’t here to see this. There was no excuse, none, for what he had just done.

Aeryn stood at the door to their living quarters watching her husband where he sat rocking on the floor. John was oblivious in his pain and grief. Aeryn’s heart went out to this complicated man whom she loved, even with his follies. Who was she to judge his demons when she had so many of her own? They just had to figure out a way to heal together.

John looked up blurrily from his place on the floor. “Aeryn, is the squirt okay? Are you okay?”

“We’re fine, John,” she stated simply as she stepped into the room. “What just happened? It seemed like you didn’t even know we were in the room with you much less sitting on the bed?”

“Do you ever wonder about what made Zhaan special?” John whispered, looking down at his mangled hand.

Aeryn sat down next to him after grabbing the medicine box they kept in the room for just these types of situations. She gently took his hand and proceeded to clean the cuts to give herself time. As usual, John was going to take the long road both figuratively and verbally to get where he was going. She had a strong clue what was causing his violent outbursts, but she had to be patient and see if he would come to the same conclusions. She deftly wrapped his hand and only said, “Hmmmm?”

“I, do,” John continued gruffly. “Taleen and her wacked-out philosophy almost converted Zhaan into a permanent Viseen candidate---anger sure does bring the red out. What was it Zhaan said back then? Oh yeah, if you don’t channel the anger and compartmentalize it it will drive you insane. Zhaan beat it with a little help. Yup, our Zhaanie could swallow Maldis and Taleen, and even her own crimes and come out somehow clean. That sort of inner strength is what I miss most. I wish I had that ability right now… to turn away from the darkness. To be whole again.” John raised Aeryn’s hands to his lips with his bandaged on and kissed each knuckle. “For luck.”

She looked at his bowed shoulders and took his face between her hands, “John, what is bothering you, really? What else happened during the kidnapping? You’ve killed before without having such a terrible reaction. There is something you are not saying. Let me help.”

John shivered although the room wasn’t cold. She had gotten to the crux of the matter in her typical direct fashion. “Delvians have this fourth sensation, you know?”

Aeryn pursed her lips together in impatience, although she knew that John had to get around to things in his own strange fashion. He would eventually get to the point or she would pin him to it. “Yes, and?”

“Well, um, that weird-assed Delvian who was part of the kidnapping duo, she, she obviously had forgotten all about that.” John licked his lips and looked at Aeryn pleading with her to help him say what he needed to say. “That chick had the reddest eyes. They burned in the dark. They were all I could see but her hands, her frelling claws, those I felt along with her teeth in the dark, Aeryn. They were everywhere. Tearing, biting, scratching where the sun don’t shine, if you get what I mean. And I, I couldn’t see. And, there she was, everywhere.”

Aeryn’s eyes grew wide as she realized what John was trying to tell her. This man, who had endured so many mental invasions and physical indignities; who always seemed to bounce back from the worst the Uncharted Territories could throw his way; had been almost raped by a being from a species who he trusted implicitly. Oh Cholok, no wonder John was hurting.

She nodded encouragement at him as she whispered, “John, that was rape. How could you fight such a foe when she had all the advantages? And yet, as usual, you figured out a way. I guess you used Plan B, as you always do.” Aeryn smiled at him and he tentatively responded with a small, sideways smile back. “Nobody can stand up to Plan B. She obviously didn’t couldn’t. You triumphed. She’s dead and you are still here and still my impossible human. She didn’t take that away from you.

“Yeah, such a triumph. I get the dren beaten out of me by a woman. Aeryn, she was so close. So close. And there is blood on my hands. Blood in my eyes. So red. Everything was red.”

He could feel the heat rising in his face and he closed his eyes, remembering the streaks of pain in between the battering as the bitch sought to have her way. “No, you don’t get my heart either! If the fish lady couldn’t win my heart with her gunk on the ball, her Gaylord Perry trick, you won’t either, you freak!” he screamed as he swung his fist.

Aeryn saw the wild swing of John’s arm and ducked under the violent punch. “Frell, John! Come back. The fekkik Delvian is dead. She can’t hurt you any more. Wake up!”

“My life is a movie. Ought to be filmed by Sergio Leone.” John mumbled. He grabbed Aeryn and pulled her in tight. “Aeryn, I don’t think I have what it takes to swallow the anger this time. I’m not Zhaan.”

Aeryn was still in shock from John’s words. And yet, they were exactly what she was expecting. There were always soldiers who tip over into perpetual combat. They strike out against foe and comrade alike because they can no longer compartmentalize the violence. These are usual people who should have been culled from the ranks early on because they felt too much. They couldn’t shelve their emotions and just Be. She had seen that closely. John felt everything. And he wasn’t a soldier. Wasn’t bred for battle. Cholok knew where he got the strength to keep going. So, what could she do? She definitely couldn’t use the Peacekeeper solution. She smiled bitterly. Honorable discharge? No, she had to figure out the key. What could she give him to make him see the strength in inside and the honor that was his core?

John continued to hold her tightly, almost too tightly as if he could meld her into himself. Even single-armed, he could pull her so close and she welcomed his warmth and solidity. She had been so scared. He had been so mangled and destroyed physically. And yet, here he was again, worrying and living. The love and trust was still there, the basic strength of him. That’s what he was. But how could she show him? How could she convince him that the anger was a tool, a survival tool.

“I killed them, Aeryn. Smaug had me by the leg as if I was some sort of brontosaurus appetizer. Dino had it coming. But when does it end, Aeryn? There has to be an end.” He shivered again in her arms and pulled her even tighter, if that was possible.

And there was more of a mystery to solve here. Obviously more had happened in John’s recent past than a thwarted kidnapping and attempted rape. What had he said, she pondered? A memory out of Delos tickled but then faded away before she could grasp it. “John, have ever given a thought to why you needed to learn defensive skills? You were so innocent in your white clothes when we first met. You were such a target back then. We decided that if there was any way at all that you could learn (and we weren’t sure that such a defective barbarian such as you could learn) then we would teach you how to survive here. You learned well. You surprised me. Still do. But somehow, Zhaan was right, you never truly have lost your innocence. What you did was right. When an enemy captures you it is your duty to escape and even more, to destroy them in the process. This is war, John. You did what you had to do.

“A soldier does what he has to do to survive and defeat his enemy. John, you survived and came back to us. I still don’t understand why you have been avoiding the baby. You did nothing wrong. There is no shame in killing someone who is trying to kill you. I taught you that. You learned it well.”

“Aeryn, how can I hold and care for our innocent with such anger in me that I feel like I am burning up. Every time I look at D’Argo I see my guilt. I have so much blood on my hands. They will never be clean enough for him. And now, I can add physical abuse to my resume. Yeah, astronaut, wormhole terrorist, and child abuser. That’s me in a nutshell. The best I can do for you both is to keep away. I’m so afraid, Aeryn. There, I’ve said it. I’m terrified of what I can do with these hands.”

Aeryn wrapped her arms tightly around John’s bruised and abraded back—the back that withstood assaults from his enemies but couldn’t withstand the attacks from himself. “Oh you silly human. D’Argo will love you for yourself, the man who thinks too much. He won’t see the scars because you hide them so well. As we all do. What do you say again? Oh yes, we muddle along. Parenthood has no field manual. I need your strength, John. D’Argo needs you as his father. Who else could teach him how to survive with hope?”

John shook his head at her military metaphors. His soldier and wife didn’t understand. He knew, deep inside. Stark knew. John swallowed the bitter bile that rose up and almost gagged him. He had taken in the evil, the darkness of his enemies. What had he said about Durka years ago? Oh yeah, it’s tough to get the red out. He was full of blood and it was choking him to death. Aeryn with her strategies and single-minded outlook couldn’t see the real John Crichton. He was an unfit father for his son. And, oh God, he wasn’t even sure he was a fit husband for his wife. He swallowed the thought along with the burning reflux and closed his blood-shot eyes.

“You are very wise. How did you get so wise/” John whispered into her hair.

“I had a good teacher,” she whispered back as she gently turned his chin towards her face and kissed him deeply. He couldn’t help but respond in kind. His shoulders lost some of their tautness and he felt exhausted down to his bones. But was there a glimmer of peace in her love? Yes, he could see it now.

Aeryn rubbed his back and spoke softly, “But, I think for the safety of our son, you must keep away until you get help.”

Comments

Wow, a real nice little please. I so do like these. Way to go, jirl.