Disclaimer: Not mine. I'm just playing. I'll put'em back when I'm done.

Rating: G

Synopsis: Sometimes, fairytales come true.

Sequel to Happy Endings Are For Fairytales ... Or Are They?

Silence could have a profound impact on its surroundings much in the way that noise could. The constant murmur of crowded barracks, the quite, subdued breathing of hundreds of cadets sleeping in the same area. Private quarters were a luxury not bestowed on mere grunts and silence was therefore hard to come by.

Aeryn Sun had left such details behind her long cycles ago. First when she had moved up in rank and then when she had moved out of her life. The first she'd had a hard time with, but the latter she had learned to appreciate in a completely different way. Solitude was not always a bad thing.

Solitude was what she sought when she roamed the carrier during the sleep cycle, restless and worried, tired and oh-so-sad. Sadness was one of those things she had learned to feel after leaving her old life behind. Sadness was something she had brought with her when she had returned to that life.

Another corridor, another silent passage carried her still further from the sleeping quarters. All was prepared, ready for her attempted escape. She had worried over the details, gone over them time and time again. She had clocked her escape to the microt, knew every change of the watch, every soldier's routine. And why not? She'd had four cycles to study their comings and goings, four cycles to convince her superiors that she had conformed and was again a Peacekeeper.

Granted, Aeryn Sun was not part of any regiment. They did not trust her and her former comrades regarded her with disdain and downright disgust. So to call herself a Peacekeeper was to give herself too much credit.

A silent smile briefly slipped over her pale lips. Dark patches had long since asserted themselves under her eyes, a permanent discoloring of her skin, caused by too many sleepless nights and a too long and hard struggle to maintain her cool exterior. But all misery came to an end. If the universe had taught her anything, that was it. Misery didn't last forever. It would end this very night. In one way or another.

Her footsteps were silent, paced to make as little noise as possible. She wore no unnecessary garments, only pants, tanktop, boots and her gun belt. It had actually been something of a surprise that they allowed her to carry a weapon. But, on the other hand, why shouldn't they? She had proven to be a good little Peacekeeper over the past four cycles, had fought so hard to make them think she was safe. And they were beginning to trust her. Nobody kept an eye on her any more. Nobody reprimanded her and reminded her of her duties and what might happen should she decide to ignore their threats.

Oh, she knew all right. They had repeated it time and time again what would happen. And she would not have risked it for anything. Not until now. She stopped just before a corner, counted down, heard a door slide open and footsteps receding. The guard had left his station and was on his rounds. He would be out of her way for a while.

Although she did not necessarily have to explain why she was up and moving at this time, she took no chances. She would not give them the opportunity to foul up her plans of escape.

Unhurried, she continued along the corridor toward the part of the ship that housed the children. A'yla was not far now and Aeryn had made sure the girl knew her and was waiting. Four cycles old was not old enough by Peacekeeper standards to put such responsibility on such a small child's shoulders, but Aeryn had learned that her child, her daughter, was exceptionally gifted and was developing her mental capacity at a much higher rate than ordinary children did. And that had left Aeryn feeling secure that she could count on the tiny child to be ready when she got there.

This night would bring about the end of this charade one way or another. If she should be so lucky to escape the frag canon's fire, she knew that in a ship as small as her prowler she would not get far. The Peacekeepers, her people, would follow her and kill both her and the child. But it no longer mattered. Death had been her plan since she had been forced to watch the father of her child shot and killed. Tonight they would once again be joined, all three of them.

Aeryn, who had never believed in a deity in her life, felt her heart lift at the thought. John had been convinced that there was an afterlife. She herself had become convinced of this after the other John had died. She had seen him, felt him on Valdon. There was no longer any doubt in her mind.

Her heart skipped a beat whenever she thought of him and if it hadn't been for her rigorous training, she would have shed tears right now. But there was no time for tears, no time for fears and heartaches. She had to get to A'yla and then to the prowler.

But there was regret. A'yla did not know what lay ahead. She was too young to understand. But Aeryn would not leave her child in the clutches of people who would treat her different all her life because of her mixed heritage. The child needed to be with her parents and Aeryn was set on meeting up with John somewhere out there among the stars. Something told her he was waiting for her. That feeling was so strong, she could almost sense him near.

She stopped, waited for a guard to clear, and briefly allowed her lids to close while she imagined meeting him again. It would be bliss. Long since had she ceased to think of her plan as crazy and now considered it the only way out. Careful planning for four cycles had brought her to this point and now that she was about to carry it out, she felt at peace with her decision.

The guard left and she continued into the nursery. A small shape stood in the shadows, watching and waiting. Aeryn smiled a reassuring smile at the child and pressed a finger to her lips, assuring that A'yla would be silent.

The girl nodded, a serene look in her peculiar blue eyes when she reached her little hand out to her. Aeryn took it in hers and barely refrained from sweeping the little being into her arms. There was so much of John in her that it was nearly painful to look at her.

The air was suddenly heavy and her lungs almost did not overcome the strain of having to draw breath. To see her dead lover in her child's eyes almost became too much for her and she decided to hurry on toward the prowlers and forget about the schedule. She needed to get them both off the carrier as fast as possible.

Again, she pressed a finger to her lips, instilling silence in the already silent child. A'yla nodded solemnly, rose up on her toes and tiptoed along with Aeryn as she started to move.

Everything went according to her plan until they had nearly reached the landing bay. The silent corridors, devoid of motion during the sleep cycle, stretched endlessly before them and Aeryn transversed them with the experience of a trained navigator. To her great relief, the child at her hand remained silent and followed her every move without question. How she had managed to convince this little person to follow her she no longer remembered, but A'yla seemed to have a sense for whom she could trust.

Two turns down seemingly unending corridors would bring them to the bay, but Aeryn stopped, suddenly worried. She had the feeling that they were being followed, that someone was taking the same route they were. If that was a fact, they knew she was trying to escape and would try to stop her.

Aeryn's hand slid down to her pulsepistol and came to rest on the butt of it. If they tried to stop her now, she would kill A'yla and herself before they could get to her. Her heart had been too burdened and her mind too stretched over the past four cycles for her to give up now.

She hunkered down, never releasing A'yla's hand, and pulled the little girl closer to her. "A'yla," she said quietly. "We're being followed." The girl nodded. "We may have to run." Again the girl nodded, still quiet.

Assured that A'yla understood that something was going on, Aeryn rose again and listened into the silent hum of the vessel. The signs of their pursuer were subtle, but strangely too much for any Peacekeeper. She could almost hear him or her breathing.

Something caused her to remain where she was and continue to listen. A cord was strung in her, its vibrations dragging long-buried memories to the surface of her conscious mind. Whoever was following her was alone. There was only one. That alone made her wonder if one of her team mates had decided to try and stop her endeavor. But why had that person not shown him or herself yet?

Ready to do what it took should she have misjudged the situation, Aeryn lifted A'yla off the floor and positioned the little girl so she straddled her hip. This way, if she had to run, she could do so immediately. And then she pulled back into an opening, which would shield her from prying eyes. She knew it might not be wise to wait, feared the outcome of her actions, but she had to know who was following them.

For long moments, all she heard was silence. Then the creak of leather followed by uncertain footsteps brought her pursuer into the light as he rounded the far corner and Aeryn's world started to spin.

John stumbled, braced himself against the wall with a half-muttered curse. Then he glanced around him, fear in his eyes. He looked terrible. His fatigue was much more pronounced than hers and he had a band of destruction circling his neck. But he was alive and breathing and Aeryn could not remember ever having seen anything more beautiful in her life.

Her mind blossomed at the sight of him, at the impossibility of him. She had seen him die cycles ago, had seen them shoot him, had watched while he fell to the ground, lifeless, dead to her. Yet here he was, not well, but alive. He was breathing heavily, seemingly having trouble with keeping upright, and the severity of their combined situation hit Aeryn like a full command carrier.

He, like her, had been a prisoner on this ship for four cycles. Where she had been reduced to grunt-status, assured never to rise beyond it again, he had been tortured. She could see it in his eyes, in the way he held himself, braced himself against the wall.

Her mind filled with conflicting emotions, she stepped forward, out of the opening. He wasn't looking her way, but sensed that he was no longer alone and turned back to face her. She had expected stunned surprise, maybe disbelief, but he merely stared at her and then smiled.


To hear him say her name, his voice so full of love for her, made tears rise in her eyes. He started moving toward her and she closed the distance and slipped smoothly into his arms, allowed him to shower her with kisses while she relished the feel of him, the smell of him. It was as if the last four cycles had not happened as time bleed away and the darkness in her mind was pierced by a brilliant light that ate away the pain and confusion. If it hadn't been for the added weight on her hip, she would not have remembered the torture of the last four cycles from this day forward.

A'yla sat silently on her mother's hip and watched them with wide eyes. Aeryn pulled back a little, using almost all her remaining strength to break this moment of complete happiness. They were pressed for time, had to get out now. All the how's, why's and when's would have to wait for another time.

"We have to get out." Her voice grated in her own ears. The peace of her decision had fled and left behind an abyss of dismal fear of detection.

"How?" His voice sounded almost as bad as she feared hers did. She trailed fingers over his tender neck and swore vengeance over those that had done this to him.

"I have a prowler waiting." She took his hand, laced her fingers with his, and dragged him with her. Her heart had crept into her throat and was pounding away there with a solid rhythm, making it hard for her to breathe properly. All of a sudden there was so much to lose. She reminded herself that if this was their final day, at least they would go together, hand in hand, on their way to freedom. She didn't fear death. She feared losing him again, a completely unthinkable scenario at this point. If it came to that, she would kill him and A'yla and then herself. She would not accept recapture.

The bay was almost as dead as the corridors. Aeryn checked the area visually, made certain that none of the personnel was within reach, and dragged her lover with her to the nearest prowler. She ushered him up the ladder and lifted A'yla up so she could follow her father. John retrieved the child and pulled her into the back of the prowler with him and Aeryn was once again amazed at how trusting her daughter was.

But there was no time. No time to think about her daughter's unending trust, no time to rejoice in her lover's reappearance or be angered over the lies she had been fed over the past four cycles. All that mattered was escape.

She climbed the ladder herself, slipped into her seat and closed the canopy, still without anyone detecting her unauthorized presence in the bay. She had timed it all, knew the routine, knew what could go wrong. With suddenly numb fingers, she flipped switches and felt the slight tremble go through the tiny vessel as the engines came to life.

Only when the prowler lifted off its pad and sped toward the bay doors did the personnel realize something was wrong. Aeryn saw them rushing away to seal the doors, but it was too late. The prowler zipped out of the bay and Aeryn banked it to hamman side and raced the prowler in under the belly of the beast. She was desperately searching for something that could shield them from the mammoth vessel, something big enough to give them a fighting chance of escape.

The prowler cleared the underside of the command carrier and that was when she spotted it. An azure mist in space, so compact that the light of the stars on the other side did not penetrate it. The gas cloud was three times as big as the command carrier and Aeryn knew its composition without even thinking about it. It would shield them, not only from visuals but also from scans. This gas cloud was impenetrable. She gave the prowler full throttle and closed her eyes in a quiet plea to anyone out there listening that they would make it.

Then she heard A'yla draw in a sharp breath behind her and felt John's hand on her shoulder and this prompted her to open her eyes again. They were in the mist, solid azure surrounding them on all sides except straight ahead. Ahead of them the mist had parted and was being sucked into an impossibly big wormhole.

Aeryn was nothing if not adventures right now and the thought that this could be their salvation or a quick death made her guide the prowler right into the center of the white expanse before them. She hung on for dear life while the prowler raced through the wormhole and when they emerged on the other side, there were nothing but stars around them. No sign of the command carrier and no sign of anyone following them either. The wormhole had closed up behind them and Aeryn briefly wondered where they were. But then she smiled. It didn't matter. Nothing mattered except for the two in the back of her prowler.

She switched the auto-pilot on after reducing their forward motion to cruise speed and then turned in her seat. Man and child sat silent, both of them staring at her as if they had never seen her before. Aeryn lowered her gaze to the azure blue eyes of her daughter and reached out to caress her cheek. Then she raised her gaze to John's and smiled.

"You're alive." She could barely whisper. Her voice was clogged up with tears of joy.

He grabbed her hand, pressed her knuckles against his lips, his eyes never leaving hers. "So are you."

For an eternity, they fell into each others eyes, reveled in each others presence, until John glanced down at the dark-haired little head in front of him. "And who is this?"

A'yla tilted her head backwards to look up at him. "A'yla," Aeryn said. "Your daughter."

He stared down into those incredibly blue eyes and the soft smile had been replaced by disbelief and wonder. Then he looked up to meet Aeryn's gaze again. "My ... daughter?"

"Yes. And mine." She couldn't help smiling, felt that her face would split if her smile widened any more. He looked down at the child again and then, without the slightest hesitation, he planted a kiss on the girl's brow, his hand closing hard around Aeryn's.

"My daughter." His voice was nothing but a whisper, all clogged up and full of emotion.

All A'yla did was sit there, her lips slightly pursed, a look of silent confusion in her eyes. She knew Aeryn was her mother, but Aeryn assumed the child had nothing to relate that information to. But she was still young. She could unlearn what the Peacekeepers had taught her and learn everything that Aeryn and John had to give her. And Aeryn swore that this child would learn all about love and understanding, about hope and kindness, about compassion and sensitivity. In short about all the things her father had brought to this region of space.

Aeryn reached out to cup a hand against his cheek, the need to feel him near so strong she cursed the fact that she had not been able to get a hold of a bigger ship. "We're free." That word sounded unreal, out of proportions. It was far too big a word for so small a vessel, but it was real and it was theirs.

"Where to?" John asked the question before pressing a kiss into the palm of her hand. "Do you know where we are?"

"No." Aeryn shook her head. "I have no idea and it doesn't matter. Not now. Not any more." That said, she gave his hand another squeeze and turned back to the instruments. It was time to find a place to land, a place where they could breath clean air and feel the ground under their feet. They would need time to plan their next moves, to find a way back to old friends hopefully still out there. But for now, Aeryn was content in the knowledge that they were together and alive. That was all that mattered now.

The asphalt jungle of despair was now overgrown with billions of tiny white flowers. Hope would always have a place in a lovers heart and there was enough love between them to sustain them for the rest of eternity.