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

Rating: G

Synopsis: Sometimes, help comes from an unexpected corner.

She wanted to scream but she didn't. It just wasn't in her upbringing to give vent to physical emotions and especially not those that the enemy could use against her. So she didn't scream. She kept quiet, kept her mouth shut, her eyes straight and her mind numb. It worked most of the time. But not right now. Every fiber of her being wanted to scream.

Lessons learned from the time she was old enough to understand the consequences of her actions kept her aloof with an air of confidence and total superiority about her that made her enemies waver in their resolve to break her. Or so she had been taught. But Aeryn Sun knew better. Her upbringing, pounded into her from birth, was what kept her alive, but her mind was breaking. She could feel it cracking, could feel that she was beginning to 'need' to give in. And that was what they wanted from her. They wanted her to break, wanted her to succumb so they could find out who the father of her baby was. And she knew what they would do once they found out. They would take the baby and kill her and she could not allow that.

The pain of struggling against the drugs, against the suggestive questions asked by that Scarran dren-hound was immense. She had never suffered quite like this before, even though her training to become a full-fledged Peacekeeper had put her through worse physical torment than this.

Her strength to resist, to fight the drugs and the questioning, the debilitating heat torture, came from another source though. A source she would never have even considered four cycles ago. In her mind, she repeated a mantra and it kept her from cracking, kept her from listening to the suggestive tones of her captors.

'Ka'elem. Ka'elem.'

Those words rang repeatedly in her mind, focusing her thoughts, forcing her mind into a trance-like state. She felt the presence of an old friend, a mentor, a protector, and through all her misery, she smiled.

'Oh, my dear.'

She more felt than heard the sigh and more sensed than saw the blueness she could only associate with Zhaan, long lost friend and the only real 'mother' she had ever known. In her mind, she reached out for the comforting presence she had known in that ultimate mind-meld with the Delvian priestess that had returned her to the land of the living and drained Zhaan enough to claim her life. "Zhaan," she whispered.

'Gently, child. You are in no condition to call out for me. I will come to you.'

The dulcet tones of her friend, her mother, rang in her ears yet she knew she wasn't really 'hearing' the Delvian. 'Please,' she whispered in her mind. 'Zhaan, help me. I cannot hold on.'

'The pain is great, my dear. But you must hold on. He is coming for you. He will find you. He will free you.'

If only she dared believe that. If she could just find the strength to believe that he would come for her, she would be able to hold on. 'I'm running out of time. Please, Zhaan. I cannot lose this child.'

'And you shall not.' Soft hands touched, feather light fingers tracing over her face. 'This child will live. And so will you. You must hold on, child.'

'Stay with me. Please, don't leave me.' She was begging and could not help but see the irony in this. She was pleading for a dead plant's help.

'I will be right here all the time.'

The promise was made and it was kept. Her sense of reality slipped away and her lids closed to seal out the space around her. The pain fell away like a heavy cloak dropped to the floor and the onslaught of the drugs was diminished to a tolerable level, a dark murmur in the back of her head.

'There now. Rest, my dear. Soon, help will come and you will have to suffer no longer. Rest.'

She listened to the words and smiled. Where she was now, nothing could touch her any more. She was safe, cradled at the bosom of a Delvian goddess she did not believe in, soothed by the voice of a dead woman, lulled in the hope of being rescued by her lover.