Disclaimer: Farscape is owned by the Jim Henson Company. No copyright infringement is intended. I am making no money from this and any similarity to any other story is coincidence.

"The Child is Gone;" Tidal; Fiona Apple; 1996

Rating: PG 13 at least, though probably closer to R. Rated for serious adult subject matter.

Timeline: Threeyears after the PKwars.

Author's Notes: This story requires a warning, it deals with the very serious subject of loosing a child. I decided to post it even though it does so, as a way of exploring this subject in something other than non-fanfiction. I do not wish to offend or upset anyone, so I ask very sincerely, do not read this if you are looking for one of my sappy sugar ficlits.

I tried to make the format as clear as possible: memories are in italics and the present is in plain script. Breaks are in boldface.

Originally posted on piece is dedicated to my mother and father and every parent that has ever had to deal with the loss of a child.

Darling, give me your absence tonight... Take the shade from the canvas and leave me the white... Let me sink in the silence that echoes inside... And don't bother leaving the light on... 'Cuz, I suddenly feel like a different person... From the roots of my soul came a gentle coercion... And I ran my hand o'er a strange inversion... A vacancy that just did not belong... The child is gone...

Honey help me out of this mess... I'm a stranger to myself... But don't reach for me, I'm too far away... I don't wanna talk 'cuz there's nothing left to say... So my...

Darling, give me your absence tonight... Take all of your sympathy and leave it outside... 'Cuz there's no kind of loving that can make this all right... I'm trying to find a place I belong... And suddenly feel a different person... From the roots of my soul came a gentle coercion... And I ran my hand o'er a strange inversion... As the darkness turns into the dawn...

The child is gone...

The child is gone...

"Daddy," the small child whispered, "is mommy gonna be awight?"

John lifted his young son up into his arms and kissed him gently on the top of his head. "Yes, little D," he reassured the toddler. "It's just going to take some time."

D'Argo looked up into the sad face of his father. "Daddy, you be awight?"

John looked down into the ocean blue eyes so like his mother's, knowing that his son needed reassurance. "I'll be better soon little frog."

They both looked through the open Terrace door to where Aeryn sat silently in the darkness.

"Mommy's sad," D'argo whispered. "Mommy's sad because my sidder not gonna come and be wit us?" The toddler asked, trying to understand.

"Yeah, little frog," Mommy's sad because she misses your little sister…

"You're sure, Aeryn?" John asked his wife, a barely restrained joy alight in his deep blue eyes.

"Yes, John," the beautiful Sebacean answered serenely.

"And, and you're okay with this?" He asked, remembering her previous feelings on numbers.

"I'm more than okay with this," Aeryn whispered as she leaned forward to kiss her husband softly. "Two is not such a scary number," she said, smiling, "not with you."

"I love you, Aeryn Sun-Crichton," John replied as he kissed her passionately…

"Come on, little frog; time for bed," John said gently as he carried his son to their room.

"Not sweepy," the toddler murmured, stifling a yawn. "Mommy needs us."

"I know buddy, I know. But mommy understands that her little man needs sleep too."

"Awight," D'Argo murmured, yawning hugely.

John opened the door and stepped into the quarters that his small family shared on board Moya. Carefully he stepped around the scattered toys on the floor and moved over to the large playpen crib that he had constructed for his young son, while trying to keep his eyes away from the smaller cradle that sat nearby

D'Argo's eyes turned eagerly to 1812 where the DRD sat quietly next to the crib.

"Can I sweep wit eiteentwelfe?" The toddler asked, his blue gray eyes pleading as John lowered him into the crib.

The DRD's eyestalks swiveled and he chirped as he heard his name spoken.

John looked into wide eyes of his son, knowing that the toddler had him wrapped around his little finger when it came to things like this. John sighed and lifted the DRD into the crib where 1812 carefully moved to settle next to his small companion.

D'Argo snuck a tiny hand over to lay it on the DRD's back. His other hand moved to his face, and he slipped his thumb into his mouth, immediately sucking on it quietly. 1812 began to softly play a lullaby that John had taught him, and D'Argo's eyes slid closed as he drifted off to sleep.

John leaned down to kiss his tiny son gently before he walked over to sit down heavily on the bed. Irresistibly, his eyes were drawn to the small cradle…

"Found it!" John called triumphantly from a small niche in the cargo bay where he had been searching.

"Daddy found it! Daddy found it!" D'Argo chorused as his little legs carried him as quickly as they could over to where his father was. The toddler slid to a stop next to where John was pulling a small golden bassinet out from jumble of stored boxes. Aeryn was right behind her son and she smiled as she saw the baby bassinet.

"What's dat?" D'Argo asked before he popped a small thumb into his mouth.

"This, my little frog," John answered as he smiled broadly at his small son, "is for the new tadpole."

Aeryn shook her head slightly and smiled fondly at her husband's bright joy.

D'Argo pulled his thumb from his mouth with an audible 'pop.' "Tadpole, Daddy?"

John knelt down and opened his arms. Eagerly, D'Argo ran into them. Still kneeling, John turned his son in his arms to face his mother, his own arms still wrapped around the boy in a warm hug.

"Real soon D'Argo, you're gonna have a new little brother or sister to play with."

"Widdle sidder?" D'Argo asked, latching onto the last one. "Widdler than me?"

"Littler than you, yes," John answered.

"Where my widdle sidder now?"

"Well," John drawled, considering his answer as he looked to his wife for some help. She returned his look with an expression of 'you started it.' Seeing no help from that quarter, "Well," he drawled again. "Umm…"

"Will she play chase wit me? An' do I have to share eiteentwelfe wit her.? An' will she look wike me? An' can I tweach her 'bout da ABC song?" D'Argo asked quickly.

Aeryn knelt down and opened her own arms. John released D'Argo to run over to his mother's embrace and rose as they did so.

"She will play chase with you when she's big enough," Aeryn answered.

D'Argo's face beamed with joy.

"You will have to share some of your toys."

D'argo frowned a moment before his mother continued. "She will most likely have blue eyes and dark hair just like you. And you can teach her the ABC song that your father taught you," Aeryn finished.

D'Argo nodded, pleased. Then a small frown scrunched up his features. "But where is my widdle sidder?"

"Well," Aeryn paused as John laughed…

John rubbed away the silent tears that had begun to slip down his cheeks. He rose and checked on his sleeping son once more.

1812 swiveled bright eyestalks in John's direction as the human looked down on his small son. The DRD chirped quietly. "Keep an eye on him boy," John directed and stepped away and back out the door.

Once outside the door, John called to Pilot on the comms. "Hey, Pilot, can you keep an ear out for Junior for a few microts?"

"Of course Commander," came the gentle response, sympathy for the grieving human clear in the leviathan pilot's voice.

"Thanks, Pilot,"

John made his way down the tier, knowing that his son would be safe in his crib with Pilot and 1812 keeping tabs on him.

It took only a few moments to make his way back to the Terrace.

John stood quietly in the shadows of the open doorway, looking in on his wife.

"Aeryn," he whispered to himself, wanting to reach out to her…

"Baby," John said sadly, reaching for his grieving wife where she lay on the bed.

The Diagnosan trilled something in her strange language and the Sebacean woman that was the translator spoke softly. "We're very sorry."

The Diagnosan stepped forward, a tiny still bundle in her arms. She walked over to Aeryn and gently, sadly, placed the still bundle in the crying mother's arms.

The Sebacean aide and the Diagnosan left the room and stepped out into Moya's corridors.

Aeryn tenderly brushed the soft dark fuzz of her still daughter's hair.

"Leslie," she whispered softly, tears choking her voice…

John watched from the shadows as his wife slowly rocked back and forth, her knees drawn up to her chest and her arms wrapped tight around them…

"Just leave me alone, John," Aeryn said, her voice tight.

"Aeryn, Baby, you have to eat something," John replied, holding the plate of food before him carefully.

"I'm not hungry," she answered in her tight voice.

"Honey, it's been three days. Just try a little something."

"I said I'm not hungry!" Aeryn lashed out, knocking the plate violently from John's hands.

John backed away from the quick attack.

I don't want to eat. I don't want to sleep. I don't want anything from you but for you to just leave me alone!"

John was silent beneath the onslaught.

"There's nothing to say. There's not anything you can do. There's just nothing."

"Nothing," she whispered, her voice dark.

For several moments it was silence as they both stood there, aching, but not knowing how to get past all the pain that had suddenly come into their lives.

"Just go, John. Leave me alone," Aeryn whispered, her voice low and pained as she descended back into the emptiness that now seemed to fill her.

Helplessly, John left his wife to the stillness of the darkened chamber…

When John finally heard Aeryn start to sob, he couldn't remain in the shadows any longer. Quietly he stepped out onto the Terrace and over to his wife. Before she could send him away, he sat down next to her and pulled her into his arms.

When she didn't protest, John pulled her further into his lap and began to gently rock her in his arms, whispering soothingly.

"Oh, John," Aeryn sobbed. "John, I love her so much. I wanted her so much."

"I know Love, I know. Me too."

"Why?" She sobbed into his chest. "Why our beautiful Leslie? Why our beautiful little girl?"

"Oh Baby, I wish I knew," John answered, his own voice choked with tears over the loss of his child…