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

Rating: G

Synopsis: A long life full of adventure is drawing to a close.

For thinking that my love would hold you
I'm crazy for tryin'
And crazy for tryin'
And I'm crazy for lovin' you.

The soulful voice of Patsy Cline, singing the age-old song, played in his head on repeat along with another few oldies he had learned to love from his mother. A soft breeze gently caressed the land while the twin suns set in another spectacular sunset. His breathing was a little labored again today, but then the climb up the hill to the bench he was now sitting on had started doing that to him lately.

He pressed his lips together to still his rapidly beating heart while he stared at the sunset and thought of home. It was funny, but even after all these cycles, he still thought of home now and then. And lately, the images had become gilded around the edges. His memory was dodgy these days, fickle and fleeting like wisps of cloud on the azure blue midday sky of Teenaka, the world he now called home.

He drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly while his gaze followed the suns to their rest. Soon, the night cold would come creeping in and his old bones would ache from the changing temperatures.

Old he was and in his humble opinion, he wouldn't get much older than he was this cycle. A man could tell when things drew to an end and the last few monans, he had been very tired. But he was also satisfied. Granted, there were things about his life he would love to go back and change, but most things had been okay. The things that mattered anyway.

"Hey, old man."

Lithe and nimble as ever, his favorite travel companion settled herself next to him, her black eyes on what light remained from the setting suns. He glanced at her and admired how well she aged. She was older, wiser than ever, and still so beautiful, it almost hurt to look at her.

"Hey ... Pip," he said, still a little out of breath. "What brings you out here? I haven't seen you ..." He hesitated, uncertain of how long it had been, but assumed that he should just count his loses and be happy he'd made it this far, "in ages," he finished with a smile.

"Yeah, it's been awhile," she agreed and turned her head to meet his eyes. Her hair was long now. She had that arm-thick braid dangling down her back, and it was still as white as snow. "Jack Jr. sent us a message. We figured it had been too long, so we decided to drop by."

John smiled wistfully. Three kids and countless husbands later, Chiana was still a joy in every sense. Her kids were mixed breeds, but then mixed breeds popped up everywhere nowadays. This galaxy was no longer so opposed to the blending of species.

"How's the old man doing?" he asked and winked at her with a slight chuckle that cost him much of his air. He coughed a few times.

Chiana patted his back, the smile on her lips unable to hide the concern in her eyes. "D'Argo is doing good. He's getting old and grumpy ... or rather grumpier, but that's what we expected. He's got a great many cycles left in him though. Luxans tend to get old," she said.

John took a few deep breaths and cursed his vanning stamina for a moment. Then he nodded. "And stubborn. You can't forget how stubborn he is."

"Look who's talking," Chiana countered good-naturedly. "Let's go back down to the others," she added and rose again.

John considered the option and would respectfully have to decline. The thought alone of the trip down the hill wore him out. "Nah, I think ... I'll stay up here ... a little while longer," he said and returned his attention to the fading orange of the setting suns.

Chiana lingered for a moment, then bent down and kissed him tenderly on the cheek. He did note the tears in her eyes as she straightened again. "All right, old man. You sit here and enjoy the view for a bit longer. I'll have Jack come up and get you in a bit," she said. "It's good to see you again, old man."

John merely smiled and nodded his head once. He was too tried to talk right now. All he wanted to do was sit and watch the fading light. He didn't turn and watch her go as Chiana hurried back down the hill. He didn't need to watch her go to know she hurried.

The sky's edge was now a deep purple with wisps of orange still streaking through it and the breeze had become a little bit colder. John kept his hands on top of his cane and pretended not to notice the cold that seeped into his bones.

He sat like that until the purple had turned into darkest black and the stars had finally managed to push their way through. They shone brightly up ahead, constellations so familiar and yet so alien. But it still made him smile.

He became aware of soft footfalls on the grassy path leading up to the bench and his smile grew warmer. He would recognize those footfalls anywhere. But he didn't turn his head to face the new visitor. He kept staring at the stars.

A hand settled on his shoulder, squeezing lightly. Then he felt hot breath on his cheek followed by soft lips as she kissed him. "The suns have set. It's time to go home." He loved her voice, loved listening to her talk and laugh.

He turned his head a little and eyed her. A few gray hairs here and there and a few lines on her face, but apart from that she looked just as young as the day they had met. Sebaceans aged more slowly than Humans and that was just as well, for he would not be able to bear the heartbreak of having to say goodbye to her.

"I think I'll stay here a little while longer," he said and reached a slightly shivering, aged hand up to caress her face.

Tears rose in her eyes, but she smiled anyway. "All right. I'll just stay here with you," she said, slipped an arm around his shoulders and pulled in close.

"That's good," he said. He was so tired and it was nice to have someone to lean against. When that someone was also the love of his life, it made the whole thing even better. Weary after a long day and the long walk up the hill, he leaned the side of his head against hers and closed his eyes while the words to True Love rippled through his care-worn mind.

While I give to you
And you give to me
True love, true love
So on and on
It will always be
True love, true love
For you and I have a guardian angle
On high with nothing to do
But to give to you
And to give to me
Love forever true
But to give to you
And to give to me
Love forever true
Love forever true.

The End