Title: Finding Joy

Author: Aenea

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters, just write completely implausible fic about them.

Archiving: Ask first, please

Rating: NC-17, very explicit, lesbian writing. Zhaan/Aeryn.

Summary: Zhaan learns something new about Aeryn, and Aeryn just learns something new....

Feedback: As stated, appreciated, but please be gentle. This is pretty difficult to post for me.



By Aenea

Aeryn Sun was feeling restless. Restless and most of all simply exhausted, but every time she lay down she was just tossing and turning, unable to relax her brain or her body for even a microt. It was late night, and none of the others she was sure was awake at all. Not that she wanted to be with them, not at the moment. The day's battle had taken a lot out of all of them.

Battle. She exhaled slowly. Battle was not the right word--disaster was better. Ambushed on a commerce planet, separated from each other and from their transport pods, she'd been frantic to find them before the PeaceKeepers did.

Fighting her own people was the worst of it, she supposed, rising again from her bed and pacing the room. Even after all these weekens she couldn't get used to that feeling of being their enemy. Life had *always* been divided into neat categories, the simplest being 'us' and 'them'. 'They' were whoever PeaceKeeper command ordered them to kill. Kill the enemy, meet the objective, obey your superiours, watch your own back and the backs of your comrades.

Aeryn had grown close to her new comrades, but she still didn't entirely trust them and didn't suppose she ever would. Zhaan, D'Argo, Rygel and Chianna were as likely to abandon her as not if they had a chance to get home--unlike Crichton, she had no illusions on that score. Crichton *would* give up his chance to go home to save any of them--but he wasn't a soldier and he tended to bound in against all common sense and try to talk his way out of a situation. She snorted softly. Talking.

She heard a light footstep behind her and turned, ready to snap at the intruder.

"Aeryn," Zhaan's voice was soft with concern, "Are you having trouble sleeping?"

Aeryn shut her mouth in surprise. "You're awake too?" She blurted, too tired to even resort to her habitual reserve.

Zhaan smiled and padded quietly into the room on bare feet. "Meditation has replenished my body and my mind."

Aeryn nodded curtly. Meditation wasn't something she was good at or even understood. On a command carrier, there was *always* something going on, somewhere to be or someone to talk to. She was not by nature reflective--it was what made her a good soldier. And she *had* been good, Aeryn reminded herself grimly, one of the best. "I don't meditate."

Her blue head tilted and she regarded Aeryn quizzically. "I didn't suggest that you should."

"Was there something you wanted?"

Zhaan stepped closer. "I wanted to thank you," she said quietly, "for coming back for me today. You did not have to"

"Don't bother to thank me."

"Perhaps I should leave." Zhaan turned to go.

"I didn't mean that." Aeryn shook her head, suddenly apologetic. "I just miss my home." She looked away, swallowing hard, when Zhaan's gentle fingers touched her bare arm. The touch was compassionate, and in spite of her best instincts Aeryn found herself opening up to the woman. "We never thanked each other for something like that," she continued, "I'd save your life, you'd save mine...there were no obligations. I never," she swallowed again, "had to wonder if they wouldn't be there."

Zhaan's hand rubbed Aeryn's shoulder, seeking to give the young soldier reassurance she so desperately needed. "I, too, miss the comfort of being with my own kind. Shared experiences--the same biological needs, the same cultural rules and wants--make communication so much easier. But joy can also come from celebrating our differences, Aeryn."

"I'm learning that, I suppose." She looked down at the floor, her dark hair falling forward around her face. "The hardest part is...is..."

Zhaan stepped closer, her sheer blue robe and the tips of her blue toes coming into Aeryn's field of vision. "Go on."

"The hardest part," she took a deep breath, trying to stem the flood of emotion, "is that you *will* go home someday. I won't. I'm too different now. Even if they welcomed me back, I'd never just fit in with them again."

Zhaan pressed her fingers under Aeryn's chin and lifted the young woman's face up to the light. "You have a hard road to walk, Aeryn, one that I do not envy you. Khalaan's blessing be upon you." She leaned in and pressed her lips to Aeryn's, sealing the blessing.

Aeryn closed her eyes, shocked at the unexpected kiss and the flush of heat that rushed through her. She stilled her body, not daring to let Zhaan see her reaction. Same-sex pairings were not unknown among the PeaceKeepers, and were as easily accepted as heterosexual couples. When you lived, ate, slept, and fought with your comrades, there was little room for secrets and even less room for inhibitions. Aeryn had just never expected her own reaction to Zhaan's innocent kiss. To Zhaan.

The priestess pulled back a little, her face thoughtful.

"Th-thank you," Aeryn stammered, and then blushed that she was stammering.

The blue hand cupped her chin, ringed fingers brushing her cheek. Aeryn forced herself to meet Zhaan's suddenly knowing blue eyes and immediately wished she hadn't as her cheeks heated with another blush. It must be nice to be Delvian, she thought frantically, because you don't turn such an obvious shade of beet red when you're embarrassed--a little purple, maybe, but not bright red.

The hand cupping her face slowly slid down to her throat, then gracefully lifted Aeryn's heavy hair and slid underneath, coming at last to rest on the back of her neck. Zhaan's other hand was flat on Aeryn's waist, just under her ribcage. The priestess closed the distance between them and pressed her mouth to Aeryn's.

The second kiss was definitely *not* innocent. Zhaan kissed her slowly, confidently, coaxing Aeryn's mouth open with her tongue and nibbling on Aeryn's lower lip. Aeryn tried to remain still but Zhaan seemed to be bringing all 800 cycles of experience to bear in that one seductive kiss. Aeryn's toes curled as another wave of desire washed through her, centering low in her belly.

Aeryn angled her body closer to Zhaan's, fingers tangling in the soft blue robe. Her tongue licked the inside of Zhaan's lower lip, searching for Zhaan's own tongue. The tips met, tasting, massaging, as the kiss lingered on and on. Khalaan, Aeryn thought, I can *taste* her, I'm tasting Zhaan, smelling her, and I don't want to stop. The Pau's skin was soft on her own as Zhaan licked her way along the line of Aeryn's jaw to her ear. She paused there, holding Aeryn, her breath leaving faint cool trails along skin she'd moistened with her lips and tongue and teeth.

"I had not thought," Zhaan said, her voice low and husky, "that you were open to such experience." The tip of her tongue ran down Aeryn's jugular to the sensitive hollow spot between neck and collar bone. She blew air gently on the tender area, swirled her tongue around it and then licked her way back up to Aeryn's earlobe.

Aeryn's eyes fluttered shut. "Yes, well, I am," seemed like such a lame response; "Don't stop," revealed *way* too much of herself; and an incoherent mumble was definitely out of the question.

Zhaan, smiling mischievously, nibbled the tip of Aeryn's ear and then flicked it with her tongue.

Aeryn gave up and mumbled something incoherent. The hot, wet place between her thighs was definitely hotter and wetter. She tightened her thigh muscles, rubbing the lips of her sex together, enjoying the friction. Her fingers untangled themselves from Zhaan's robe and pushed upward, cupping the woman's lush breasts. She lifted them a little, hearing Zhaan sigh with pleasure, and rubbed her thumbs across the nipples. They tightened.

Aeryn pressed her fingers over the nipples and began to manipulate them lightly, using the friction of the cloth to give Zhaan added pleasure. Letting go of the sensitive peaks, she slid her hands up over them. Zhaan's nipples traced circular patterns over Aeryn's palms. I'm going to make you mumble too, she thought, I won't be alone in that.

Zhaan arched her back, pushing her breasts into Aeryn's hands. Aeryn let go and pressed her own breasts into Zhaan's, pulling the priestess over for another deep kiss. As they slid together into the motions of the kiss, their tongues languidly caressing, their bodies moved closer, breast against breast, belly to belly, sex to sex.

The priestess nudged Aeryn back against the wall, still continuing to kiss her. Aeryn was melting--she was sure of it--the cold wall against her back, the warm woman in front, and every part in between aching for Zhaan's touch. Her hands stroked Zhaan's back, then moved lower, cupping her ass.

Zhaan's hands gripped Aeryn's wrists firmly and drew them up over her head. The action lifted Aeryn's taut breasts high, stretching her flat belly and causing her back to arch away from the wall. Zhaan shifted her grip then, holding Aeryn's wrists together in one hand; her other hand stroked downward, caressing Aeryn's arms, sliding around to her rib cage and then up under her black tee top. Spreading her ringed fingers wide, Zhaan eased the top over the tops of Aeryn's breasts, exposing them to the warm air.

Aeryn moaned then, pride giving way to heat and desire. Zhaan's admiring gaze was like a physical caress as it swept over her, and she writhed with the pleasure of it. Her eyes were half closed, her lower lip caught between her teeth. Then Zhaan slid her hand down over Aeryn's flat belly. She ran her fingers along the inside waistband of Crichton's stolen underwear, and then paused, about to dip her fingers down toward Aeryn's sex.

Aeryn's leg lifted and twined around Zhaan's hip, holding the priestess against her.

Zhaan winced. "Aeryn..."


"Would you mind taking your combat boots off before you do that?"

"What? Oh." Blushing--not from desire this time--Aeryn lowered her leg. "Oh. Sorry."

Zhaan released her arms and stepped away from the younger woman, who immediately sat on the bed and tugged her boots off. Aeryn placed them at the head of the bed, tucking the laces neatly inside the tops of the boots.

Aeryn's probably put her boots in that spot for cycle after cycle while she was a PeaceKeeper, Zhaan thought gently. Some habits were so ingrained that you didn't even notice them. Aeryn's preference for muted colors was one of those habits, she speculated, and also the way she liked to have two or three weapons on her person at all times. On the other hand, she wears her beautiful hair loose now, and she's here with me...

Zhaan lowered herself to the edge of the bed and planted a kiss on Aeryn's shoulder. "Have you been with a woman before, Aeryn?"

"Not unless you count my friend Davina. We were seventeen, just before we graduated flight school, and she kissed me at our graduation party. She was very beautiful. We'd been friends for about six cycles--"

Zhaan interrupted the former soldier's nervous chatter. "Was it just one kiss?"

Aeryn stiffened a little, not looking at her. "No, we spent the night together. Then I got selected for Pleisar Regiment, and she went to New Stars, so--" she shrugged.

"Since Davina, you've been only with men?"

"Yes." Aeryn bit her lower lip, looking away from Zhaan. "Is there something I'm...I mean, am I doing something wrong? Is that why you want to know who I've been with?"

"Khalaan, no!" Zhaan hastened to reassure Aeryn, placing another quick kiss on her shoulder. "I'm enjoying myself very much. I had never thought you were interested in me, and wanted to make sure you wouldn't regret this."

Aeryn looked down shyly. "No." Her voice was almost inaudible. "I won't regret this."

Zhaan nodded. She wanted to know more but quizzing this woman about her emotions would not help build the fragile trust between them. She'd learned long ago to accept Aeryn at face value--she never did anything she was uncomfortable with, and she revealed herself slowly through her actions, not her words. Crichton had gone down that path too many times and gotten blasted for his trouble for Zhaan not to be aware of the peril in trying to *make* Aeryn talk.

Instead she slid her arm around the soldier's waist, pulling her closer. The desire between them would need to be built again--slowly, this time. They kissed; Zhaan controlled the pace, pulling away a little when Aeryn tried to deepen the kiss too much, then pressing back in to nibble on Aeryn's lower lip or taste her warm tongue.

Aeryn's thin fingers caressed Zhaan's cheek, following the path of her pale blue freckles along the line of her jaw and down her neck. Her hand then slid along Zhaan's shoulder to the catch of her robe and released it. The robe fell partway open, exposing Zhaan's left breast and hip and part of her sex.

Zhaan pulled away and stood up in front of Aeryn, the robe falling the rest of the way open. Grabbing Aeryn's hand, she tugged the young woman up also, smiling at Aeryn's openly admiring gaze. Aeryn's hands cupped Zhaan's breasts again, skin on skin this time, and Zhaan sighed with pleasure. Aeryn kissed Zhaan's lips, then nibbled along path her fingers had caressed earlier, and then lower, while her fingers continued their manipulation of Zhaan's lush breasts. She replaced fingers with mouth, suckling and teasing gently. Zhaan's hands rested on her head, tangled in her thick hair, while Zhaan's own head fell backward, eyes closed in desire, breathing hard.

Aeryn stepped back, her eyes roaming over the priestess' body. Those pale blue freckles stopped around Zhaan's collar bone but picked up again below her belly button, narrowing to a point just above her sex and then flaring out over her thighs. Aeryn swallowed hard. She was beautiful, exotic in a way that no Sebacean could ever be, and Aeryn felt another flush of heat travel to her sex, felt moistness, and almost gasped with the strength of her own need.

She reached out with a tentative hand, less sure of herself suddenly. How different was Zhaan? Aeryn wasn't sure that what would give Sebaceans pleasure would work with this woman. Plus, Aeryn thought frantically, she's over 800 cycles old. How can I compare to her other lovers, any of whom are probably so much more experienced than I am...

Aeryn steeled herself against her inner turmoil. She's enjoying herself so far--just look at her, and besides she *said* she was enjoying this. Aeryn cupped Zhaan's sex with one hand, her other resting on the curve of Zhaan's hip. She felt heat and wet warmth in her palm, and her own sex responded with answering heat. She pushed carefully inside the hairless lips with one finger, exploring gently. Zhaan pulled her close for another kiss, moaning into Aeryn's mouth.

So you like that, Aeryn thought, sucking on Zhaan's tongue. She slid her finger up to Zhaan's clitoris and then added a second finger, opening the lips to flick the nub. Zhaan's hips twitched against her hands and the priestess moaned again, her hands roaming over Aeryn's still clothed body. Aeryn ended the kiss, sucking in oxygen.

Zhaan took advantage of the moment by lifting Aeryn's arms over her head and stripping off the black tee top. Aeryn's breasts slid completely free of their confinement and Zhaan held Aeryn close, enjoying the feel of Aeryn's breasts on her own. Her blue hands gripped Aeryn's underwear and yanked them down to her knees, then she pushed the young woman backward till the back of her knees were against the edge of the bed.

Aeryn sat down, pulled her underwear all the way off and lay on the bed.

Zhaan admired her for a long moment--the firm breasts, nipples taut with desire, the scoop of her waist and hips, the tangle of black hair between her legs. Aeryn grinned, noting the priestess' appreciate gaze, and ran her own hands down her waist to her sex. Spreading her thighs, she opened the lips of her sex for Zhaan to see.

Zhaan sat on the bed near Aeryn's feet and ringed her ankles with butterfly kisses. Her hands and tongue stroked the curves of Aeryn's muscular calves, and she licked and kissed her way to Aeryn's knees. Her tongue swirled around Aeryn's kneecap.

Aeryn's hips twitched, fingers of one hand still holding her sex open for Zhaan while one finger massaged her clitoris. Gripping the inside of Aeryn's knees, Zhaan pushed her legs up and apart, exposing more of that pink sex to the air. She ran her tongue along to the upper part of Aeryn's thigh and bit gently. Khalaan help me, she thought, she smells so good, I wonder how she tastes.

She stuck her tongue out and pushed the tip of it between Aeryn's lips, sliding it along the folds and crevices and then up to the nub. Her ringed fingers ran around the outside of Aeryn's vagina and then pressed up and in. She suckled Aeryn's nub, then licked, hearing Aeryn's cries with satisfaction. Aeryn's hips bucked against her, seeking the source of the pleasure. Zhaan continued licking, enjoying Aeryn's uninhibited response.

Aeryn cried out, back arching as she came, her sex tightening around Zhaan's fingers. Zhaan continued the manipulation for a few more microts, eliciting the last ounce of pleasure from her new lover.

Zhaan moved up on the bed next to Aeryn, leaning in for a quick kiss. Aeryn's body was limp, relaxed. Zhaan smiled and pulled Aeryn over on her side so that her arm was draped across Zhaan's waist and her head was resting on Zhaan's shoulder. Aeryn lifted her head for another quick kiss. "Give me a few microts," she said softly, "and we'll take care of you, too."

Zhaan shook her head. "Not tonight. The others will be waking up soon I think."

"Oh." Aeryn sighed, disappointed. "I very much wanted you to enjoy yourself too."

Zhaan's tender smile broadened. "I did enjoy myself. Very much. Besides, there's tomorrow night...if you're willing."

"Mm-hmmm," she agreed enthusiastically, nestling into Zhaan's shoulder, her eyes closing. They lay in silence for a little while, and Aeryn drifted off into sleep.

Zhaan eased softly out from underneath Aeryn's body and clothed herself, then turned and drew the blankets up over Aeryn's shoulders. The last thing she'd need was to wake up with D'Argo or Crichton or--Khalaan forbid--Rygel finding her naked in the morning.

She paused on the way out of the chamber to glance back at her new lover. Over 800 cycles old, she thought, and every day still brings something new, and every person I meet still manages to surprise me. She understood Aeryn's desire to go home, to fit in, but hoped too that Aeryn might eventually realize that sometimes the greatest joy lay when you crossed the comfortable threshold and found out what lay on the other side.

Zhaan hoped she could be a part of that joy for Aeryn. Still smiling, she stepped through the door and began the slow walk back to her quarters. She had thanks to give to the Goddess.