Rating: PG-13 (just to be safe)
Word count: 1,362
Spoilers: all the way through Peacekeeper Wars
Author's note: written for the super sekrit Sprogathon II, which was pretty much conceived solely to entertain rubberneck. Thank you, cretkid, for the beta and the title.
Chiana looked down at the dark head on her lap. "Yeah, D?" She hardly ever called the narl by his given name; it was just too painful, even now. The little guy would always be "D" to her, even after he wasn't so little anymore.
"Why do I gotta have a sib?" He sounded so desolate that Chiana couldn't help but smile.
Lightly stroking his hair, she said, "Well, 'cause the narl is already here and your mom and dad can't give it back." Aeryn was actively working on giving birth to D's little brother or sister right now, which was why Chiana was on Moya's terrace with the boy.
D's whole body shook with a heavy, dramatic sigh. "I know that. I mean, why is it here at all? Where'd it come from?"
How to answer that question without getting in trouble with his parents? "'Cause… 'cause your mom and dad…" she began, but let the words trail away. She knew what she wanted to tell him – she saw no point in lying to him – but she thought Crichton, at least, might take issue with it. He was kinda touchy sometimes, when it came to what D did and didn't need to know.
"'Cause Momma and Daddy what?" The little boy pushed away from her lap and sat up to look at her. "They did something, din't they?" he said with an aggravated frown.
Frell. "Well, your… your mom and dad…" She looked up at the expanse of stars overhead, as if she might find an acceptable answer there. "Th-they… they…" Is it getting warm in here?
She was on the verge of raising her voice to ask Pilot to check the temperature when D blurted out, "Frelled like bunnies?"
Chiana choked on a shout of startled laughter. "Yeah, something like that." She sat up and folded her legs beneath her as she wracked her brain for a way out of this.
"But you and Uncle Jothee frell like bunnies, and you don't have any narls."
If she'd been drinking anything, they'd both be wearing it. "We're, uh, we're not… we're not married?" It wasn't that she wanted to fill D's head with dren – obviously marriage was no requirement for reproduction – it was just that she didn't want to die just yet. It seemed so much simpler to suggest something that could be logical to a four-cycle-old than to try to explain the truth.
Narrowed, skeptical blue eyes bored into her and she began to fidget.
"But I din't think—" he started, but she cut him off with the first thing that came to her.
"Hey, D, how about… 'bout a story? You want me to tell you a story?" I did not just ask him that…!
His capitulation was awfully fast. "What kind of… of story d'you want?" she asked with no small amount of trepidation.
"Tell me about my Uncle D."
Chiana suddenly went very still.
"Daddy said you and Uncle D were an item."
"Were you one of those?"
She finally found her voice again. "Th… those?"
"Oh. Yeah. Y… yeah, I guess we were." Chiana closed her eyes, cutting off her view of the blue-eyed little boy, wishing she could stop the flow of pictures in her memory of D'Argo laughing with her; D'Argo holding himself together when Zhaan died; D'Argo staring at her with such betrayal when he'd found out about her and Jothee; D'Argo as she'd last seen him, so filled with love and purpose, the light not yet faded from blue eyes…
"Did you frell like bunnies?"
She opened her eyes again, blinked back the tears. "D'Argo…"
"Well, did you?"
With a sigh of her own, she told him, "If you promise to not say 'frell like bunnies' where your parents can hear you, I'll tell you about me and your… your Uncle D'Argo."
"Pip? You there?" Crichton's voice over the comms startled her, derailed her train of thought.
"Yeah. Yeah, Old Man, I'm here," she whispered with a glance down at D. He was asleep, his dark head again cradled in her lap. She stroked his hair, as she had done all through her story.
Chiana heard the tired smile in Crichton's voice when he said, "We have a little girl. D has a sister."
A huge grin broke across her face. "That's great, Crichton. That's… that's drad." It had only been a few arns. Must be a little easier, when no one's shooting at you, she thought wryly, remembering the day D was born, the day her D'Argo died. Tears again pricked at her eyes, but the smile didn't fade, nor did the gentle stroking of the boy's soft hair slow.
"You wanna bring D down to meet his new sister?"
"Aeryn up for that?" The last thing she wanted was to be on the receiving end of that cold Peacekeeper glare. Crichton was welcome to that, all by himself.
"Yes, Chiana, I'm up for that." Aeryn, too, sounded tired, her voice rusty.
Chiana blew out a breath, flipping her hair from her eyes. She wanted to meet the new narl herself, but she was reluctant to disturb D. "'kay. We'll be there in few microts."
As they got closer to Crichton's and Aeryn's room, the sound of the new baby's cries grew in volume. D tightened his grip on Chiana's hand and she looked down to see that his eyes were wide and frightened. She squeezed his hand back, hoping to reassure him, and after a microt or two he offered her a very tentative smile.
"Aunt Pip?" His voice was a little squeaky.
"Yeah, D?" They were just about to the door.
"Can you make the alarm stop?"
"Alarm?" She frowned.
The little boy stopped and Chi felt a tug on her arm when she didn't. She turned back to him. "You can't hear that?" he asked.
Chiana threw her head back and laughed – she'd seen that he was afraid, but couldn't quite understand why. Her laughter faded and she crouched down in front of D, reminded that he was just a narl and not a big, brave warrior like the man for whom he'd been named. Still wide-eyed, he looked like he was going to bolt and so she took both of his hands in hers so he couldn't.
"Aw, D, that's not an alarm."
"No, kiddo." She deliberately called him by a name no one but Crichton ever used and it seemed to do the trick as he became noticeably calmer. She brushed a strand of hair from his eyes and said, "That's your baby sister."
He blinked and frowned. "She's awful loud."
She laughed again. "She does sound kinda… kinda like an alarm, doesn't she?" She stood, still holding one of his hands, and they took the last couple of steps toward the curtain. The pressure on her hand told her that D still wasn't sure about all this, but he didn't try to pull away from her.
Crichton looked over when she pushed the privacy curtain aside, a goofy smile covering his face. Aeryn was in the bed, back against a large pillow between her and the wall, a red and squalling infant in the crook of one arm. She stroked the little face gently with one finger, but to little effect. There was another tug at Chiana's arm as D reversed their positions – he pulled her toward Aeryn's bedside with single-minded determination and didn't stop pulling on her until they reached his destination.
Aeryn smiled, her full attention given to her son. "Say hello to your sister."
With a quick look back at Crichton, who was still smiling, and then up at Chiana, D reached his other hand out and touched the baby's red cheek. "Don't cry, baby. I'm here. I'll pertect you."
Just like that, the noise stopped, except for a little hiccup at the end, and D smiled at his little sister. Chiana loosened her grip on his hand and it slipped from hers as she quietly stepped back to join Crichton, thinking how proud her D'Argo would be of his namesake.