Summary: It’s come full circle.
Character(s): Braca; Scorpius; OC
Original story: Circle of Life by astrogirl2
Notes: I’ve done this twice now, and I have to admit that I’m always a bit nervous doing these things. This time, like the last, I was lucky enough to have a fic simply demand to be remixed. Read this one and you’ll know why. My thanks to Astro for writing it. Beta thanks to eva for her mad skillz and everything else. Also, mad props to Kaz for her insight and help in getting this right.
It’s almost easy now; almost a pleasure to watch it burn.
Choice and command converge on the half-lit deck bathed in the raw, electric light that swirls just outside in the black, empty sky. Your pulse pounds in your ears and you can’t breathe as something primal you’ve never named crawls up out of a hollow gut and camps in a tight chest.
Fingers flex as you stare; framed through the forward portal, you can almost reach out and touch the fire.
You blink as a hungry red-orange flame flares; drop your eyes to the small shadow standing statue-still just to your left. Light and flame flicker in her clear, wide eyes, her father’s eyes, the blue-white light of a wormhole burning beneath the flutter of long, dark lashes, beneath the slow, smooth motion of eyelids as she lifts her eyes to yours.
Worlds die in those eyes shining fever bright; Scarran, Nebari, Sebacean. Heat shimmers in the space between you, simmers just beneath your skin.
The roar in your ears explodes into silence and you know it’s not real, but you feel the weight of it, sense the shape of it as the silence stretches and you feel your body split, jagged edges of torn halves grinding on each other. Orange flame chases the shadows on her milk-white face, her mother’s face, dances like starlight in the spill of hair framing that face, her mother’s hair, and fear circles you on silent feet.
“Braca.” Scorpius doesn’t take his eyes from the river of red, orange, and yellow flowing in the void just in front of the carrier.
The river twists and writhes; snaps at the ship.
Her eyes drift closed and she stands weaving side to side. The river disappears, red-orange flame snuffed out like a candle.
You stare for a long, silent microt at the empty black that floods the forward portal. No ships, no worlds, no stars, no…thing.
It never fails to awe you.
It never fails to terrify you.
She makes a small, soft sound, a quiet exhale in the sudden stillness of Command.
You turn your gaze back to her, small and standing oh-so-still in the deafening silence. “Sir?”
“It would seem that we are finished here.” He turns at last, favors you with that small, satisfied smile that pulls at his lips.
You step closer to the small, silent shape in front of you; bright, dead eyes that reflect nothing, framed in a pale face, pin you in place.
Your voice is low, smooth and cool as a knife’s edge. “Do you think High Command will be willing to accept terms of surrender now?”
His smile turns hard and feral. “It is not within our purview to predict High Command. It is simply to up to us to successfully complete our mission.”
You’d laugh if you could.
Search and destroy. Mission accomplished.
There is nothing left.
“You don’t believe this will be sufficient?”
The words turn to ash on your tongue, choke you. The small pale shadow doesn’t move.
“Any future peace accord will require more than a simply demilitarized Scarran state for its foundation.”
A gloved hand reaches out and slides over the spill of unruly curls. Rage and terror flare in her eyes, hit you like a solid, living thing as small hands turn to tiny fists at her side.
“Action, Braca, not words.”
The hand settles on a tiny shoulder; the smile slips away. “Your charge is waiting.”
“I’ll see to it.” Spine straight, your own shoulders tight, you breathe deep, tilt your head, slide one step forward. “Sir.”
Scorpius waves a dismissive hand as you reach out, wrap your fingers around the small hand that slips into yours.
This late in the sleep cycle, this deep in the carrier’s bowels, silence roams the corridors and your footsteps echo softly in the dead air as you move through the empty, hushed hallway. It’s always silent here, and empty. Except for the required medtechs, the two of you are the only ones who ever come here.
Five cycles on, the route is as familiar to you as the walk to Command.
Moving through the half-light and the quiet, short, slow steps to accommodate little legs, you count your own heartbeats; listen to the soft sound of your own breathing as you slide past the cascade of shadows dancing on the smooth, sterile wall and lose yourself in memory.
The human’s limp body on the medbed, blue eyes dull and lifeless. Aeryn Sun’s non-responsive, delirium-wrecked body in the medchamber.
And their child.
Half a dozen steps bring you to a stop; the door slides open with an almost silent whoosh, and you slip into the white silence and half-light and the cool, still air of a silver world. Your gaze strays to the other side of the chamber where Sun’s body lay, stretched out like cold marble, unmoving and unaware but still breathing.
Scorpius kept his promise; you’ve taken excellent care of the child. And you’d learned early on that there was no need for extraction of chemical memories from living cells when you had the living, breathing offspring.
The tiny hand slips from yours as you turn toward the table, hand her the carefully folded sleep clothes.
You watch as her small, silent steps follow the route across the cell into the fresher.
Control; power; peace; protect…wormhole weapon.
You turn and busy yourself with the cup and your part of the nightly ritual; pull the tiny silver vial from your pocket and pour as you let your thoughts wander.
The soft sound of breathing is the only sound in the room.
You feel her at your side; drop your eyes and a small smile. There is comfort in custom as you follow her across the cell.
You pull back the light cover and she crawls into bed, finds her spot and sits. The cup goes from your hand to hers; both hands wrap it as she tips it back and swallows. Clear, wide eyes lift up to yours as she offers it back to you.
She swings up her legs and her tiny body settles easily next to her mother. You watch as she arranges arms and legs; pull the cover up and over mother and child, rest your hand on the soft spill of curls and count the microts in silence as her eyes close and her breathing slows.
She’s taught you well over the cycles, lessons her mother had so painstakingly learned before you. Some things you give up your life for.
Your lips brush the soft spill of dark curls, whisper against the delicate shell of her ear. “Sleep well, Zara Sun.”
You remember the day you named her.
Your feet move and less than a dozen steps take you around the bed. You run your eyes over the quiet, still face as gentle fingers glide through a river of hair as black as the void of space. You trail a fingertip along the dark hairline.
She looks as you’ve always remembered her.
Residual heat ripples just beneath the pale skin, you feel it as you lift her arm to wrap her child, curl her fingers loosely in her daughter’s hair.
You still and allow yourself one long microt to burn the image into memory. It’s all so very clear.
Loyalty; honor; duty; sacrifice; service; love.
You listen to the soft sound of her breathing as your fingers find the injector. Your hand is steady and you know that this is the best you can offer.
White silence wraps you; your voice is low and soft. “Fly safe, Aeryn.”
Light flickers as you angle the end against the long, elegant neck and press the trigger.