In her quarters, Aeryn sat on her bed staring at the floor. The brush-offs from John were getting worse lately. The majority of the time he just avoided her all together and the few moments they were together he seemed cut off from her. At first she thought it was just a phase, something that could eventually be broken. But now she wasn't so sure. Maybe she had finally hurt him beyond repair.

Aeryn shook her head. No that couldn't be true. Their roles had just been switched and she had yet to find out the secret he used on her. That something that had made her finally break and actually learn how to live, to open up. Had it really been this hard with her?

After she had come back from being on Talyn he had tried to bring her back to him and she had just pushed him away. He was the same John in truth but she hadn't been able to see him that way. He was like a ghost, a memory that wouldn't stop hurting. He had tried to give her his heart again and again and all she had done was step on it a thousand times more.

She hadn't trusted him, had shut him out, and had refused to be open to the shearing pain that she had received from losing the other John. She hadn't seen him as John Crichton but just someone with John Crichton's qualities and characteristics. She had never seen him as a person until now.

She had told the other John that he had ruined her life, that he was a plague. Whether he truly had ruined her life was still up for questioning but there was no doubt in her mind he really was a plague. He was the one plague that had no cure and without it you couldn't seem to keep living. A plague that if you lost it you could spend the rest of your life searching for it even though you knew you'd never find it. She couldn't help but love the idiot human who's plans never worked, who always said the most confusing things, and who always got into situations that were way out of his league.

Aeryn smiled as she thought of John in their many adventures. The past few cycles would never have been the same or quite as interesting if John hadn't insisted on her coming back to Moya with Dargo and him after she had been declared "irreversibly contaminated". Even from the start he had been there for her more times then could be counted.

She had known from the very moment she had stepped off that transport pod with John standing there to welcome her back to Moya that he was her second chance. Her second chance to be with the man she loved. The man who had given her so many gifts. She had pushed that thought out of her mind letting her pain have a grip on her decisions. Even pushed to the far reaches of her mind she still heard those warning bells that told her not to tempt fate because if you wait till it's too late you may lose your chance.

Aeryn closed her eyes to hold back the tears as she remembered what John had said to her. "I would put my life in your hand, but not my heart." The words repeated in her mind again and again. They had haunted her ever since they were spoken. They never failed to rise in her mind no matter where she was and no matter how deep she tried to hide them. She couldn't sleep most of the time because of them. It wasn't just the words that bothered her so much but the fact that they were true. They had always been good partners since the start. They working relationship was priceless and if the other's life was in danger the other would be there in a heart beat to do whatever it took to save him or her. She would do anything to keep this John alive, even if it meant losing her own. He could put his life in her hand anytime but she couldn't be trusted with his heart. Not anymore. Not until she restored his faith in her and her faith in herself.

John sat in the command staring out into space thinking about wormholes. He messed with the formulas in his head, twisting them and putting them together. It at least gave him something to think about, something to do. Thoughts of Aeryn suddenly filled his mind smothering wormholes and formulas. He took a sniff of whatever Noranti had given him after his adventure in that nightmare of a game and the thoughts were gone as quickly as they had come. Wormholes resumed their previous place and he went back to the formulas.

Noranti's herb was priceless to him. Without it he wouldn't be able to think, to reason and he could take it whenever, as often, and as long as he needed it. He didn't like that hole he felt inside when he locked thoughts of her away. However submerging himself in everything wormhole kept his thinking straight and from straying to that subject. If truth be told he had a hard time functioning normally in life with her constantly clouding his thoughts. She was an enemy invader who he fought battles with every minute using his only weapon, something he probably used too frequently.

He was jarred back to reality when he heard someone enter command. His body automatically tensed because he knew whom it was even with his face turned away from the door. He might be able to diminish her attacks on his mind but not always in reality. He heard her footsteps move closer to him and he knew this time it was going to take a lot more energy to try and avoid interaction with her.

Simple yet so complicated. With that one word he could have taken just one more whiff of his 24:7 miracle cure if she hadn't been standing right beside him. It brought back memories. Just that one word was all it took. Even just the sound of her voice sent his mind reeling. It was more than just one word but their own code that meant there were things that needed to be said. A code he had taught her. He kept his face turned away from her because just one look at her would be the true killer to the wall he had tried to work up. Just like that it would be blown down with one single puff of air.

"Hey" The words came out of his mouth more as natural reaction then of his own desire. His intentions of avoiding interaction with her were now diminished.

"John, I have something to tell you. I need to work some things out. I'll only say it however if you'll hear me."
The distress in her voice, tugged at his heart. He couldn't say no. He turned away from the stars and looked up at her face. Just a simple glance at the look on her face told him how important it was that he give her this last chance. With the decision made his wall crumbled.

He nodded his head. "Okay."

A wave of relief crossed her face. She sat down beside him leaving just the right distance between them. It was as if she had come before hand and measured exactly a neutral point between too close and too far.

For a few minutes she looked past him into space and fiddle nervously with her hands. Her gaze finally returned to his.

"I've thought a lot lately about things that have happened, especially mistakes. One of the biggest I've mad is never accepting you as the man that I fell in love with cycles ago. I kept thinking of that man as dead and gone forever."

She shook her head and returned her gaze out into space. "See, I don't think I ever wanted to see you as a him. Just something that couldn't possibly be the man that I remembered, that died in my arms. Some impostor walking around in his body. You look like him but your not really John Crichton."

She looked him in the eyes and then quickly returned her stare back to the stars. "You are. I wouldn't trust you, I wouldn't accept you just because I didn't want to have to go through the pain I had already gone through. What I was too ignorant to figure out was that by not letting you in, that was causing just as much pain if not more. I would rather be with you now even if it was for only a microt then to never be with you at all."
He studied her face as the words came out. A tear slowly slid down her cheek. She closed her eyes for a moment trying to hold back the tears.

"I know I've screwed up and maybe I'm too late. I know I've hurt you too many times to count but all I want more than anything is to feel your touch again. For you not to avoid me and put up some barrier everytime I'm near you. To be able to have your arms around me and feel that overwhelming sense of security and warmth. I don't know if you're willing to give me another chance but...."

She had to stop to try and get enough control to finish. His heart was pounding as he looked at her. He wanted so much to wrap his arms around her. To tell her how much he had missed her. How he had missed her smell, her smile, her touch, and everything about her. How he hated the things that had been said that put this rift between them.

"...Even if you won't give me this last chance I still wanted you to know the one thing I know for're John Crichton, you're the man I love, and I will always love you."

They both were silent for a moment staring into each other eyes. She finally broke the stare, stood up, and began to walk away. 1...2...3...Precious seconds passed while the two everlasting battles fought each other in his mind. No, he couldn't let her hurt him again. What if he she did? He couldn't take it. He wouldn't...he couldn't let her back in. 4...5...6

John stood up and reached out, grabbing her hand. They stood facing each other, inches apart. She looked into his eyes with a slightly confused look. Like she wasn't sure what to think. John closed the gap between them doing something that he had wanted to do a million times and that seemed familiar and foreign all at the same time.

They broke from their kiss moments later and stillness settled around them. They stood there silent for a few minutes until Aeryn suddenly moved forward wrapping her arms around him. He held on to her tight as if some part of him was scared that this was some illusion formed by his mind.

"Thank you," she whispered in his ear.

"For what?"
"For loving me for who I am and accepting that I make mistakes."
John let go of her, reached down into his pocket, and pulled out his anti-Aeryn drug. He looked at Aeryn and saw her looking at him questionably.
"What's that?"
He smiled and held it up.
"A thing of the past."
He tossed the herb on the ground and crushed it with his boot.
"And you're my future." He smiled at her and tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear before he pulled her to him and kissed her again.

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Six Seconds
By: Elizabeth
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