You weren't supposed to think of another man on your honeymoon, were you? About other men?
Aeryn Sun shifted her position where she sat on the floor of what John had happily declared to be the perfect honeymoon hideaway when they arrived here five solar days ago. He'd described their temporary abode as a "grass hut on a deserted island." It wasn't really an island, and it wasn't really deserted, but she and John and tiny D'Argo did have considerable privacy here on the shores of a gentle sea. Dressed only in a T-shirt and underwear, she looked out the open doorway to the dark night sky. It was full of brilliant pinpoint stars and a bright swath that looked a lot like the Milky Way she'd seen on Earth.
It was a beautiful place, and on the whole, she'd never been happier than she was now, just "hanging out" with John, getting to know their son....
On the other hand, it was so frelling foreign to the life she and John had led for cycles, that if it went on much longer, no doubt both their heads would implode.... She scanned the skies again, and chuckled, low and warm. They'd be back to trouble soon enough, she had no doubt.
But as to other men....she dragged her mind back to her original observation on propriety: There hadn't been any time to think about other men -- or anything else -- before the marriage, had there? Everything had happened so fast. One microt she and John had nervously agreed to marry, and the next, from their point of view, anyway, they were in the middle of a great war. And when the dust had cleared just a few days later, they were married forever, with a beautiful child -- and minus one very dear friend....
Ka D'Argo would have liked this planet. And in a way, it was his fault that she was thinking about men other than her husband tonight.
She snorted softly and glanced over at the bed, assuring herself that John was still asleep, as was their little son, in his cradle. The sound of the waves breaking on the sand seemed to soothe both the males in her life.
She pulled her knees up and wrapped her arms around them and let her mind drift back a few arns, let her body conjure up the feel and touch and taste of John Crichton as he'd slowly, deliberately, maddeningly taken her up to the edge of bliss and over. She could still hear his low voice chuckle as she pounded on his back and threatened him with mayhem....
She had never imagined she could love anyone as much as she loved him.
And their son -- Frell! She'd never imagined that anything that only ate, eliminated, and made so much noise, could have such a hold on her heart!
She shook her head and stood up in the doorway, far too restless to stay sitting.
Instead of making her deliciously tired and sleepy, tonight her lovemaking with John had left her wide awake and buzzing with energy, with way too many thoughts running around her head. She'd been trying to pin them down.
It was proving a difficult task, as her mind flitted from one topic to another. It was a very unnerving experience. Usually her emotional thoughts had the decency to stay buried until some understanding came to her, fully formed. Like, You idiot, leaving John on Moya was a stupid, stupid mistake! Or, You idiot, you can't let Talyn kill John, you need him!
The ocean drew her attention. She'd discovered over the past cycle or so that the shore of a living, breathing sea was her favorite place on a planet, if she had to be planet-bound. She didn't need to see the ocean, or the waves; it was the roaring sound constantly in the background that made her think of the great ships she'd lived in all her life. John had rolled his eyes and said she didn't have a romantic bone in her body when she'd told him that, but it pleased her nonetheless to find something that helped make one of these balls of rock feel at least a little like home. Because she rather suspected that John would want to settle down somewhere one day, as D'Argo had planned to do....
She was back to D'Argo again.
One of those thoughts buzzing around in her head was that she was glad she and D'Argo had had a chance to make peace before he died.
The Luxan had been the first of Moya's crew she'd been comfortable with, a fellow soldier. Her prejudiced, Peacekeeper self had at first looked down on him, but that hadn't lasted too long. They had understood each other, they thought the same way about many things in the harsh universe they lived in.
And that had made it more difficult to bear his resentment during the past year, when he'd made it clear that he felt she couldn't be trusted not to hurt John, not to betray him....
That was a word that still had the power to make her gut go cold with guilt.
She could never decide if she liked the smells that drifted in on planetary breezes. Even the sweet ones smelled wrong, somehow. But she focused on the one that wafted into the room now, trying to find the source, because it was better than following where her previous thought was leading.
It must be the flowers a few motras away, in the shelter of a tree that blocked out perhaps a quarter of the sky.
She should go sniff the blossoms, see if her deduction was correct.
But she knew she was being a coward, and she stopped, halfway there, forcing herself to think about the man she'd betrayed to his death.
Not John, of course.
What would her life be now if she hadn't been so set on being the perfect Peacekeeper? On getting her prowler duty back? If she'd done what he asked, gone away with him?
Could she have?
She couldn't have done it. She had been a Peacekeeper. That was her world then. And he had been kind, and she'd felt something for him, but it wouldn't have been enough for her to leave the life she'd been bred for.
It had taken John to do that, to destroy her world, and remake it....
In the right new place she would thrive, Velorek had told her, and she'd been too frightened to believe him, not that she'd understood it then as fear, any more than she'd understood that what she felt for him was love.
Sighing, she pushed her hair out of her face, lodging it neatly behind her ears for a few microts, and then she shook her head and set it free again.
He'd been wrong to expect she could change, back then....
If he could see her now, with her alien husband, a man who drew trouble to him like a blind cragen, and her beautiful half-breed child who took her breath away every time she looked at him -- What would her old lover think?
She could see his smiling face in her memory, and she realized she knew exactly what he would say: "See? I told you so."
She was thriving in this unexpected new life.
Oddly enough, that thought made her feel just a little bit better about what she'd done to the first man who had loved her. At least she had lived up to his expectations, and not just down.
She heard John roll over in the room behind her, and her pulse quickened just a bit. Her body was more than ready to share his all over again, and her heart would have been happy just to feel his arms around her while they stood and looked at the stars -- or at their infant son.
When had she learned to value that connection?
She knew exactly when.
On board Talyn, with the John Crichton who died.
When they weren't being shot at or chased, they'd spent every microt, every arn, together. It had been a revelation to her that two people could share so much. Even now, thinking about their time together made her stomach flutter.
Here was the one man she surely shouldn't be thinking of on her honeymoon....
But she couldn't help it.
Was he watching her from Stark's "other side"? Did he see her with her son? Little D'Argo was his son too, as well as John's. If he'd known about the baby, would he have been more careful on Dam-ba-da, not played the hero and gotten himself killed?
Of course not. He was John Crichton. And John Crichton had taken the same desperate gamble for peace just two weekens ago, and this time he'd risked not only his own life, but hers, and their son's, and thousands of other lives, to stop the killing and the dying.
Because he had to.
He'd run out of options.
And she'd had his back all the way.
Because she had to.
Because they were beyond lovers, they were partners, a team, two halves of a whole.
And it was....perfect.
It was beyond perfect.
This was her world now, John and the baby. If Fate had any more nasty surprises in store for them in the future, they would deal with them together.
John startled her then, stepping up behind her and sliding his arms around her waist. "You're getting careless, woman," he sniggered, nose in her hair. "I snuck right up on ya."
She grinned at the waves without turning around and told him lightly, "Perhaps I wanted you to." He didn't need to know she hadn't heard him coming, it would go to his head.
He kissed the top of her head, still holding her in his embrace. After a moment he asked, "What's wrong?"
She turned her head sideways, so her cheek rested on his bare chest. "Nothing's wrong, John."
He was silent for a bit, and then said, "Okay, nothing's wrong. So, why are you out here communing with mother nature?"
Why indeed, when she could be in his bed? She turned in her husband's arms and lifted her face for a kiss. Despite his enthusiasm, and his undeniable skill, she managed to keep her wits about her well enough to frame an answer when they broke off. "I was thinking."
His hands slipped down to cup her rear. "Thinking?" he said. "Now I know I'm in trouble, Aeryn Sun is thinking."
She hit his shoulder playfully with her fist, and John grunted and kissed her again. There was nothing gentle about the kiss, as his tongue probed her mouth. She could feel him growing firm against her, and she really didn't want to talk any more. She slid her hands up his chest and brushed her thumbs gently over his nipples.
He trembled most satisfactorily, but he was apparently made of sterner stuff than she was. He pulled back just enough to be able to speak. "What were you thinking about?"
She tried to remember, while he slipped his hand down the front of her underwear. Velorek, the other John -- and she let out a little gasp as his fingers found just the right spot -- even her friendship with D'Argo, had led her to this perfect life. John didn't need to hear it that way, though. "I was thinking," she managed to get out, "that I was meant to be, mmmmm, here."
"Nope," John said, continuing his gentle stroking.
"What?" she asked, no longer sure she had any idea what he was saying.
He kissed her again without answering, and then scooped her up in his arms. She wrapped her arms around his neck while his long strides took them back into the room where the baby was still sleeping.
"You belong here," John announced, dropping her onto the bed and climbing on top of her.
Aeryn wasn't going to argue with that. She reached up and pulled his face down to hers and captured his mouth with her own.
Her last coherent thought was that if he didn't get her sleepshirt and underwear off in the next 15 microts, she was going to do it herself -- and then Cholak help him....