A/N: Sorry everyone! Hope you like this chapter! (Finally managed to chase the muse back into the 'scape verse) please leave reviews, let me know hwat you think! love xx SHezzi
A week had passed since Buffy had landed on Moya, and she had, at least to the rest of the crew, seemed to be fitting in well. Then, one morning, she hadn’t been in the room Chiana had set up for her when the rest of the crew woke. The others had made noises about searching the ship, but Aeryn had put her foot down.
“I’ll go, and I’ll do it alone,” she had told them, garnering her some odd expressions. “I’m female, which she probably needs at the moment,” she silenced Chiana’s objections with a single glance, “and I can actually speak to her, which I’m fairly sure is also going to be necessary. Any objections?”
Aeryn found Buffy hiding on one of the lower teirs, her face still streaked with moisture. She dropped down next to the younger woman who looked so much like a Sebacean and sat silently, waiting.
Buffy had heard someone coming, but didn’t even look up as they stopped and sat down silently beside her. The silence, accompanied by the slightest smell of sweat and leather mixed with the scented conditioner the woman used told her it was Aeryn, and since she knew the woman wouldn’t mind how long it took her to talk, she didn’t, just brushed the heel of one hand over her face to get rid of the tears.
Finally, she spoke softly, not entirely sure what she wanted to say. “Sorry, I meant to be back before breakfast, I didn’t want to worry you guys,” she told her, and Aeryn sighed softly; this was something she had noticed about Buffy, she worried about everyone else around her and taking care of them, often to her own detriment, but Aeryn didn’t know what to do or say about it.
“Don’t worry about it,” she said slowly, her English halting but clear. She waited another beat, then decided to be slightly more proactive. “What’s wrong?” she asked, hoping that she could get the girl to open up. John…most of the time, he was very open with her, both less and more so now than he had been in the beginning, but Buffy…the girl, in many ways, reminded her of herself, a warrior, albeit one who did allow herself to have emotions, she was clearly used to taking care of other people and not worrying about herself.
“I…I had a dream, that’s all, just a stupid dream,” Buffy muttered, shaking her head. “This last week, I’ve been so busy, I haven’t really stopped and thought…it’s been a very, very long year…sorry, cycle,” she corrected herself.
Aeryn waited silently, nodding her understanding of Buffy’s words so far.
“I just…miss them,” she admitted softly, and Aeryn smiled sadly. “I love them and I miss them and I’m worried about them and I’m relieved that I don’t have to be responsible for everything anymore, and I feel guilty for being relieved,” the words all seemed to come out on top of each other, her head dropping down against her knees as she ran one hand through her hair, frustrated with herself.
Aeryn sighed as she understood what Buffy was saying. It was times like this, with both of the humans, that she felt woefully inadequate. Their lives were just too different for her to truly understand, but she understood responsibility, and the mixture of relief and guilt that came with being freed from it. “I understand,” she said softly. “I lost a lot when I first came to Moya, and…hezmana,” she swore as Buffy looked at her blankly. “This isn’t getting through, is it?” she asked softly, and Buffy shook her head. “Sorry, too complicated for English,” Aeryn grimaced in annoyance.
“It’s okay,” Buffy replied with a slight smile.
“No, it’s not,” Aeryn contradicted her. “I want to say…” she stopped, biting her lips, and carefully strung the words together into what she hoped was a coherent sentence. “I understand; I have been there.”
“Seriously, it’s okay. Part of this is just the need to go out and kill something, exacerbated by the fact that there is nothing here for me to kill and not being able to spar because Zhaan won’t believe I’m fully healed.” Buffy scowled; it had been an ongoing argument between the pregnant Pa’u and herself, she thought she was healed enough to start sparring again, but Zhaan insisted she wasn’t. Unfortunately for Buffy, Zhaan had medical scans and the entire crew on her side, meaning that she hadn’t had a fight since Glory. “I’ve never taken this long to heal before,” the girl groaned.
This, at least, was a frustration that Aeryn could truly understand all too well; she had felt it herself many times, and had found herself wondering if Zhaan was, perhaps, being overly cautious with Buffy. Making a decision, the ex-peacekeeper pushed herself up off the floor. “Come on,” she said, reaching a hand down to Buffy. “Let’s go spar.”
John found the two of them in the gym, Aeryn showing Buffy several PK techniques the younger woman hadn’t encountered before. Once Buffy understood what was going on, she straightened, and started to demonstrate what she would have done in the same situation.
Buffy was enjoying herself immensely. The opportunity to spar with someone with greater than human strength and flexibility, as well as vast hand-to-hand experience and technique was exhilarating. She could feel Sineya relax within her as she used up some of the pent up energy. The Slayer had been getting more and more frustrated with Buffy’s prolonged inactivity, not to mention the lack of anything to fight, but it was only now that Buffy realized just how tightly coiled she had been.
Aeryn was greatly enjoying the challenge of having a real warrior to spar against. She could feel the girl pulling her punches, but didn’t say anything, mostly because she was going close to all out and didn’t really want to get hurt, but also because she didn’t want Buffy overextending herself. Fairly soon she called a stop to open sparring, and started to demonstrate some of the moves that Buffy had had difficulty with. Then Buffy taught her some of the throws she had taken her down with.
The two of them became conscious of being watched at the same time, but kept going with what they were doing. Only when they were both sweat-soaked and exhausted did they turn to face John, who was leaning against the wall, watching with a slightly amused expression on his face.
“Having fun?” he asked, and the two women grinned somewhat sheepishly.
Aeryn considered, for half a second, having John translate what she wanted to tell Buffy, but she didn’t want to give the girl’s secrets away if she didn’t want her to.
“Let’s go have some breakfast,” Buffy suggested, wiping the sweat off her face and admitting, privately, that she really wasn’t as healed as she thought if a simple sparring match wore her out this much. Trans-dimensional travel really takes it out of you, she thought wryly.
“I came to tell you that we’re coming up on a commerce planet,” John said as they made their way down the hall, the women using towels from the gym to clean up a bit.
“Commerce…as in shopping?” asked Buffy curiously.
“Got it in one,” John replied, grinning. “You feel ready to take your first trip to an alien world?”
“How are we going to get around the ‘You understand me but I don’t understand you,’ thing?”
“Just stick close to us. In a pinch, we can pretend you’re deaf or something,” John told her, and she nodded.
Two hours, or arns, as Buffy was learning to call them, later, the transport pot set down on the surface of the planet. She followed behind John and Aeryn as they climbed down the steep steps, carefully scenting the air of the planet. She crinkled her nose at the array of scents, sorting them out in her mind. There was plant life, and some kind of exhaust similar to that on earth, as well as the same smell as the fuel that Aeryn’s prowler used.
She followed them out of the spaceport and into the busy marketplace, eyes wide as she stared around. John kept glancing at her, enjoying watching the same thing he had gone through in someone else.
Aeryn led Buffy to a clothing stall, John hanging around behind them, having already agreed that splitting up would just be asking for trouble. The two women flicked through the racks of clothes, pulling out things that were practical but still nice, not unlike Aeryn’s own clothes, lots of leather.
Buffy tried on item after item, thoroughly enjoying the shopping trip, although the noise of all the different alien languages was giving her a headache. She had been making progress on the languages spoken on Moya, after only a week she was able to carry on very limited conversation in all four, Pilot being the hardest. In some ways it was easier than French, mostly because she had no choice but to adapt and learn, because she was surrounded by them all the time and learning them was the only way she was going to be able to communicate.
After they finished clothes shopping, they moved through the market, managing to pick up some fresh food and several parts Aeryn had been wanting for her prowler. They headed back to the transport pod without incident, and were back on Moya without anything bad happening, a fact which had Aeryn on edge, waiting for something to go wrong.