My first Farscape fic! Eeeeeep!
Shreds of Heaven
A drop of sweat fell from Stark’s forehead and mingled with the tears and grime on his face as slowly- very slowly- he wrapped the fresh acid wound with a ragged, filthy piece of cloth. He wanted to stop this wretched digging. He wanted to cry out, to fall, to sleep.
But Stark remembered the boy, not much younger than he, who had once worked at his side until illness claimed his strength. Remembered covering the child’s mouth desperately as he began to sob. Remembered kneeling over his broken body when the foreman had finally left and showing the boy the rest he had so begged for.
A slave knows to cry in silence.
With a brutal shove, Stark, bound at the wrists and ankles, was launched into his master’s sleeping chamber. It was all he could do to keep from collapsing onto his bony knees.
“You will help him, Stykera.”
Numbly, he raised his tethered hands and struggled to unbuckle the straps of his mask.
Light and the touching of minds. Thought bleeding into thought. The slave shook in the presence of his master, a tear falling from his one blue eye as he struggled to keep him at bay. His master whispered to him, stroking the darker corners of his heart in fascination.
It became too much. Howling in desperation, Stark forced him back. He showed him. Pain. Starvation. Anguish. Dead, dead, dead, dead, all of them dead! You caused this horror and now you will see it- all of it- and know. No peace, no peace, no peace for me, no peace for you!
And Stark screamed, falling to the floor in a tangle of limbs.
His master was dead.
His master was he.
There was a fissure opening in his mind, growing wider and burning brighter with every turn of the chair- love the chair, love the chair, lovethechair- creeping ever closer to the source. A nail not yet bitten to its nub pierced Stark’s palm as he fought against the shattering, the blurring of himself.
He was thousands and he was one and he was here and no where and no! Scorpius would never take that from him. Never, never, never!
When Stark was tossed back into his cell, he curled his fingers around his baby and struggled to gather the bits of self that had been hurled to the winds.
When Stark stared at his rags and his skin stained with dirt- when he attempted to touch the broken corners of his mind- he was no longer certain where fact ended and pretense began. But John Crichton- the angry, spitting stranger who now shared this fetid hell with him- did not believe he was mad. The knowledge brought tears to Stark’s eye.
So when Crichton began to fade, Stark cradled the man in his lap and gave him a little of the one thing he had kept to himself for all this time.
There was a thousand- a million- lifetimes worth to spare.
During his first hours on Moya, Stark sat down to the largest meal he had ever seen in his life. He wanted to partake of it all- to swallow every last crumb. But he stayed his hand, smelling and tasting everything but only taking the smallest of bites.
What the yotz are you doing?
A few of the others were puzzled by this. And they were puzzled further still to discover him sleeping curled beneath a thin blanket on the floor beside his bed. But it all had to be saved for later. It all had to be rationed- drawn out for as long as possible because one never knew how long it would last.
Stark knew that every luxury- every joy- could be stolen from him in the blink of an eye.
Stark leaned against the alien instrument panel and rested his cheek against it, harsh fabric pressing into flesh. He had been staring at the readings over the frayed edges of the cloth that held his fading energy at bay, searching for any signs of them until his vision blurred and the figures twisted into incomprehensible shapes. But now- now he could feel the shadows of death crawling closer, swallowing the edges of the universe.
With his last remaining strength, he reached out a shaking hand, casting his thoughts out to the stars. She will hear him. She will know to come.
Each night, Stark cradled her and whispered to her of sunlight and rich earth and soothing rain, his calloused fingers stroking her in slow, calming circles. Each night, Zhaan was weaker, but still he came, wrapping his arms around her and rocking gently. Sometimes he hummed, softly and brokenly, a melody he had heard once in distant memory. Sometimes he would lay her down and rest his face against her breast. Sometimes he would share Unity with her, giving her his shreds of peace that still shined amidst the damage.
New life was out there waiting for her, he always promised- waiting beyond the nearest star.