Author: Regala Electra
Summary: There will be a light at the end of the tunnel.
Spoilers: Everything up to and after the Season 4 finale
Author's Notes: Originally, this was intended to be considered a sequel to mending horizons when viewed at a slant. But it pretty much spun out of control and became, well, another kind of story. And can I say how very, very happy I was to learn I still had a viable copy left of this story? The final version now all posted and full of dark joy. Feedback is love.
There will be a light at the end of the tunnel. Not white, because things are never white and for it to be white would just be too perfect and if one thing could annoy him more, it would be something mimicking perfection.
No, the light will be at the end of the tunnel and he will say - he will say it again - he will repeat his words and this time, there will be an answer. It will be louder than a universe's birth and quieter than a universe's death and only he will know exactly how both sound and only he will make those moments occur at exactly the same time.
And they will drown in the light, bleeding all their colors till the hues will be leeched away into memories past and futures forsaken: it will be reborn starch-white, stiff and faded into the wind. He will call it the Clorox treatment and if she is there to hear his comment, she will, like so many times, only smile and not understand. He will not explain it to her.
Rosemary and thyme never were and therefore, there will be no authority higher than him.
Storms will never approach without his design flanking the chaos behind the swelling anger.
A gust will always rise as sharp as a broken crackle and it will not sound at all like a laugh he ever remembers, no, it will be no laugh ever uttered before. The shades that denote night from day will change and remain in eternal stasis.
There'll be a cry in the dark, but it'll be a horse of a different color, maroon maybe, because the cry'll come from a child. His child. Their child.
The horse'll be mauve.
Or opaque, a color melting into the sky (like ice cream never tasted, the color of psychotic dreams and crumbled bits of crackers) and he'll never tell his child to wish upon a star. Because wishes can come true (it can happen to you) and it if happens, he'll say the twinkle in the sky is the worst of his worries when reality shapes itself into a twisted version of an innocent fantasy. It'll have a voice too but it cannot cry in the dark and a truth no longer hidden in the shades, but colorless. And cold.
Brittle broken bones and skulls will crunch underneath the ocean and burn a sharp white in mounds of sand and he will be there, walking in heavy boots. There's a color for them too, the color of murder and innocence lost. He'll give no name to it. That will be the day a question may be asked and he'll hope his response sounds honest enough, when in any reality, in any unrealized event, it will not be so.
The sky will not fall because Chicken Little (and he will not tell that story to his child, because a cry of falling skies may lead to revolutions and he'll always be wary of any possibilities, it is stasis he will now hold as the only solution) was never right and he will have seen and known too much to wonder if the sky could ever be a mystery anymore. He will have learned all its secrets.
He will have seen to that.
It will not hold a thousand potential nights of rainfall and kisses, wet and warm and true. That weight will be taken care of, all too well. He will remember the taste of rain, but it will only be his memory, his many memories, infinite and gaping, black holes of responsibilities and destines forsaken.
A thousand stars will fall every night and people will stop wishing on a star.
And Aeryn will look at him one last time and ask him why he wants to stay on solid (false) ground when her body cries to find a piece of the universe unrestricted by his hands. He will not say anything in reply and she will search to find the impossible and he will wait. That day will come and it will pass.
His body will scream and his mind shall be at peace.
He'll sing, on key (in a shade long forgotten, once called gentle), a tune old and never remembered, with burnt ashes falling to the ground and the scurry of too many bodies (they will be people most of the time, but not always), but he'll sing very softly, "Twinkle, twinkle little star," and no one will understand what that means anymore.
They'll never wonder what things are anymore; they'll have all the answers, tied up neatly in a shiny bow, scribbled over in blood a thousand equations, each one will taste as metallic as the vibrant ribbon. All answers will be free for he will bind questions into a dark, deep box and "what if" will be a silly thing to say, for everything will have an answer. A present delivered that will be so unwanted.
Here, he will give it away without a word and he will not desire forgiveness as a sincere form of gratitude.
He'll stand in a field of flowers and watch his child pick the daisies and the laugh'll be bitter because he'll hear words he'd hoped to sway with promises and lies and new fairytales (where no one ever leaves home and stays in the same place and lives happily ever after).
Those fairytales would be called lies in another color, but remember; the horse'll be mauve. Or maybe something else, a new color that will not change with the undying days and nights, forever unbound by the constraints of time. For there will come the day when even he will figure out how to unravel time forever beyond the twisting of it - a mobius strip that never quite touches the angles he will need the most.
Perhaps that color will be turquoise, like a gleaming fragment of a shell.
They'll forget what tortoises are. They'll only know turtles. And the shell won't gleam.
There will no longer be a twinkle in his eyes (little stars, a hiss will not say, are the best weapons that cut quick to the bone). But he will remember it. And if Aeryn finds that piece of the finite universe unmarred by his touch, where ashes will not fall wherever he treads, she will dream of the color of his eyes and they will be as blue as they once were and she will still love him, perhaps.
But he will walk out of that field of flowers down to the bleached sandy shores of the vast ocean and he will sit and watch the swell and fall of the ocean, as though it does not move to his command and he could find the unknown in such a sight. He will pretend not long enough and empty everything with a wave of his hand and the waves will be silenced.
He'll be asked to craft a necklace of broken shells and he'll tie it through a rough cord of twine. It'll itch, but it's a sight to behold. The colors will glimmer in the light, even in the darkness, and he will always close his eyes and know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
He will tell tales that last forever and end in seconds. He will remember everything, for if he ever forgets, it will unravel and he cannot allow such a thing.
But his child, oh his child, will look up and away (no, musn't look upwards and the focus'll shift upside down and rightside up and then, perfectly sideways), not listening to the treacherous fairytales that sound like dust stirred in the wind, and that terrible question will come.
"Daddy, when are we going back?"
He'd then pray that his own lifeblood and body could've pushed up the daisies. That the earth'll swallow him and his wretched secrets to a dark grave and then he'd be free: captured in a silent scream.
If the dirt and the grass were clear, a pane of glass that won't be shattered by his hand, then people could visit his grave and they'll know that He was just a man, after all.
If the dirt and grass were clever, they'd figure out how to manage it before he will tear their existences from the universe with a mere glimmer of thought.
No, he'll stay alive. If they walk towards him, they'll hear him speak, his drawl will never fade, though his voice will be older. Wisdom shall drip just like acid, sizzling with every drop.
He'll talk about how the universe was once dispersed into blades of grass, once upon a fairytale ago, but he knit them all together, every single strand of shattered glass (clear and colorful at the same time) mended by hand, and now the universe isn't about to forget that. It'll be screaming every second, and it is two words, two infamous words, that the universe will be swearing.
It'll be crying for eternal damnation to the one who committed this horror. Tightly contracted and sewn to itself, the universe's balance will unnerve and freeze everything and time itself will halt.
He'll be the one holding the hourglass and no one will dare oppose him or he'll crack it and the broken shards will cut the precious fabric of life and then everything will fall apart.
But the true fabric, alive, will scream his name over and again, for not even he could silence the universe.
Screaming will sound more like singing every time another piece of the universe is mended just a bit tighter.
And he will look off into the ocean as this is told and he will not regret how he did this, for it is beyond memory and ability. Emotions will flee first, the yearning will never ebb. It is the taste of Aeryn that will rest in his mouth as he talks without pausing, the feel of her body, heavy and swollen with child that he will remember loving without restraint, with a love that was once as free and unbound as the universe itself, but that is all a memory as he will tell his tale.
His name will live in infamy and his love will be forgotten to all, save for himself, Aeryn, and a child that will always ask a question that he will never answer.
And this will stand as a testament to his actions, to his hopes and despairs, and to his terrible choices. This will be his gift to the future, his condemnation of the past, and his refusal to drown in the possibilities of the present.
They'll hear it and maybe they'll just think it's a story. But maybe the rumors of his dangerous nature will be true. Maybe they'd fear him. He'll sift grains of sand between his fingers, they will fall freely, not a grain will stick to his skin, and not even he will remember the significance.
And one day, he'll be screaming, captured like a tornado trapped in a bottle and he'll never be forgotten. He'll never fade or vanish like so many faces and lives, the questions will always be the same: "Are you the one they said controlled the wormholes and bent them to your will? Are you the one who twisted the universe itself to your liking?"
His child will (he can imagine a son or a daughter, but the expression on the young face is always the same unaltered youth) say to him, "Daddy, is that why everyone is frightened of you?"
And they'll - John and the child - leave the beach, walk towards the field of grass and wildflowers will call to them and he'll tell his child never to pick the berries growing lush on the bushes (there will be no poison save words and he will say only enough to wound). He'll tell a true story, for once, about simple poisons and heroes brought back from potential deaths, and he will then speak of Aeryn and her icy death (screaming his name) and rebirth on a planet they will never visit, for he will never let his child fall in love with space.
And if an innocent question, like why it never rains during the days, which are always sunny and warm, did come, he wouldn't answer it.
He'll always warn his child never to look at the stars, never to dream of an elsewhere, of a better place, because he'd seen to the universe and stitched it back together, a bit tighter than originally intended. The universe will be bursting at the seams, and the echo of pain will always rest in the shells of his ears, but he'll ignore it.
But there will come the day. He'll sit on a rock and watch the waves crash. Fires will fall from the sky, sizzling and disappearing when swallowed in the ocean. Someone'll touch his shoulder, Aeryn maybe, and he'll cover the hand with his own and know that it's time, it's always time and they've finally run out of space.
He'll have made sure that the distance is no longer infinite. A long time ago, he wouldn't have forgiven himself for such an act.
Aeryn's return to him will be dreamed of less and less. Her hand, paled whiter (the Clorox treatment) than he'd ever remembered from before, may not ever touch him again.
He could, with a sharp tug, make it all a bit better.
She'll leave her child and him and only say, "Not like this." He'll never think of another way it could've become.
Yet that hand will rest heavily on his shoulder. If he'd only turn around to see the owner of that hand, he'll have his answer. But he'll keep looking onwards. It will remain just a hand, just a universe, just a scream. He will look towards the sea, to an expanse that will never be called vast, and he will not dream, for the dreams will serve him.
The horizons will be ripped apart.
And he will meet the stars without complaint or final words. The universe will give him an immortality he never wanted.
Aeryn'll wait for him to find her and this time he'll stay and she may never return.
He'll turn around a final time, and watch his son (his daughter, his son, his daughter, it's his child and he'll love the child more than he can bear) make sand castles. The waves will crash over the formed sand turrets and sweep over the dimensions of stately creations, and then he'll blink and the whole universe will disappear.
His child will pause, the bleached sand tower will topple over in negligence and there will be nothing more to explain, yet he'll still say, it's only a trick of the stars.