A/N: Okay, here's the shippy bit =) which I will endeavour to keep control over, as my shippy scenes have a tendency to go off on their own… Enjoy! (Oh, and I stole the end scene image from "Mind the Baby" since my two Muses [who actually ARE John and Aeryn] decided to desert me and run off to do… *ahem* something considerably less productive than helping me with the fic. By the time they came back, they were in no state to come up with anything coherent… Sorry about that…)
CHAPTER ELEVEN - Everything I Do…
Three arns after the meeting on the Terrace, John was still looking for Aeryn. In a last-ditch attempt, he returned to the Terrace, just in case she'd ventured in there. All he found was Zhaan's good luck charm. He laughed to himself, wondering if there was anything she could do that wasn't immensely thoughtful, and moved towards it. Something's gotta work around here, he thought. He made a wish that it would all go vaguely well when he finally found Aeryn, then went to the only other place he could think of…
As expected, he found her in Pilot's Den. His initial plan had been to forcibly drag her out of there and confront her about her lack of appearance earlier, or at the very least, talk it through with her. That plan was thwarted when he saw that she was deep in conversation with Pilot, so instead, he kept as quiet as possible and moved until he could hear what they were saying.
"Commander Crichton has been looking for you," noted Pilot. "His comms have been off for half an arn and, to be honest, I have stopped tracking him. He could be anywhere."
Aeryn shrugged. "Well, then, he'll find me eventually. Doubtless he wants to talk."
Pilot nodded. "Why did you not attend the meeting on the Terrace?"
John chose that moment to risk his life and approach. "Yeah, that's what I'd like to know."
"I wondered how long it would take," she said, sighing. "If you really want to know, I'll tell you."
"I'm all ears." Before she could react, he added. "Forget it. Just tell me."
"Fine." She gestured for him to sit down. "The reason I wasn't on the Terrace was because I hadn't thought of anything until early this morning. Just so you know, I did hear everything that happened, and I believe it's my turn?" John nodded. "Good. My gift is for Pilot."
"Great," said John. "You know what? I'm just gonna go-"
"Stay right where you are, Crichton!" she ordered. "This concerns you as well…" John sat down, and waited. Aeryn placed a small, metallic object on top of Pilot's console. "I think you know what that is, Pilot."
"Yes," he admitted. "It's the chip with the history of my joining to Moya… and with your own history."
"And Velorek…" added John, not liking the direction of the conversation.
"And Velorek," clarified Aeryn. "My gift to you, Pilot… is this." In one swift movement, she picked up the chip and threw it off the ledge. It skimmed with a whistling sound, reflected the light briefly, and then disappeared from view.
"Officer Sun… Aeryn… I don't understand."
"That chip represented the past, everything that came between us. It's behind us, Pilot, and now I've seen to it that it never comes between us again."
Pilot placed a claw on her shoulder. "Thank you."
John was briefly shocked. He certainly hadn't anticipated something so meaningful to come from Aeryn, especially when she wasn't exactly thrilled with the idea… but then again, she was very good at surprising him. "Wow. Um… that's great, Aeryn, but what does it have to do with me?"
"Velorek." John put on an expression that implied he was repeating his question. "The past… my past." She indicated the chasm below. "This is what you wanted, isn't it?" When he still didn't react, she very quickly vacated the area, annoyed that he didn't get it.
"Oh frell…" he muttered. "See ya, Pilot…" With that, he chased after her, as the realisation finally hit.
Halfway down the corridor, he caught up with her, grabbing her arm to stop her. "Hey, just stop a microt!" She did, wrenching herself from his grip in the process. "I don't exactly know what I did, but whatever it was… I'm sorry. Okay?"
"Fine. Can I go, now?"
"No, you can't." He received the look she reserved for him in these situations - the one that implied if he didn't explain himself fast, he was going to lose a limb. "I'm sure Pilot appreciates your gift… so do I. I promise…"
"Really, I do. I'm just slow on the uptake lately." He rubbed the back of his head. "Just, I'd appreciate it if the next time you don't turn up for something like this, you'd at least tell me."
Then, it all started going horribly wrong.
"Oh. Do I answer to you, now?"
"That's not what I meant and you know it." They both sighed. "If you want it, my present was for you…"
"Go on, then. Show me," Aeryn conceded. John reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out her locket, which he'd cleaned, re-chained, and re-hinged. It looked almost new. She took it off him. "Where did you get this?"
"Rygel stole it, I got it back, and I thought I'd clean it up for you."
Aeryn examined it, then started to put it on. John got there first. "Here, I'll do it." He fastened it expertly behind her neck, then moved away again, knowing he was too close for her comfort. He attempted to decipher her reaction. She had thanked him, but didn't sound or look very happy about it.
"You hate it…"
He turned and began to walk away. Aeryn looked briefly exasperated, then called after him, annoyed.
"This was your frelling idea, Crichton! I didn't even want to take part. I only did this because you forced me into it, and because I really had to put everything with Pilot behind us. I did what you wanted - I found a gift, and I gave it to you and Pilot. What more do you want?" John's back was still facing her, and he said nothing. "Fine. That's it. Next time, celebrate your frelling traditions by yourself…"
She spun around at the same time he did, and stalked off, ignoring John as he called after her, following. "Why do you think I do this, Aeryn?" She stopped, but didn't answer. "For fun? Because I like being treated like the local village idiot? Because I enjoy getting my butt kicked either for you or by you?" There was still no reply. He moved closer, a lot nearer than he should. "I'll tell you why I frelling do this all the time… why I told you all about this… It's for you… everything… every single damn thing I do…" He took a deep breath that sounded almost pained. "And all this, today, this past weeken… was for you… because I love you, Aeryn… and you never even notice…"
John stopped then and didn't move a muscle, waiting for her to either kill him or walk away. Aeryn didn't turn, terrified of what she might do. In situations like this, she didn't trust herself or her emotions. To buy herself some time, she asked, "What?"
He moved even closer until he was right behind her, looking over her left shoulder, and he spoke close to her ear. "You heard me…" He manoeuvred around in front of her so he could face her, and when she looked down, he lifted her chin so their eyes met. "I love you."
He was finding it difficult to ascertain what her reaction was, and he was concentrating so hard on trying to read her expression that when she kissed him, it took him quite by surprise. It only took a few moments for him to react. Aeryn pulled away and looked at him. "You thought I hadn't noticed?" she asked, smiling. John nodded, in a minor state of shock. Quietly, she added, "I think you really are insane…"
John smiled back. "Only because you've driven me to it…" He repaid her in kind by kissing her back, for longer this time, and pulled away only to check she was real and he wasn't dreaming. To further clarify it, he raised a hand to her cheek, then took her own hand in his other. "Come on…"
"Where are we going now?"
"Back to the Den. I should apologise to Pilot… I feel like such a jerk for running out of there."
"I'm sure he'll understand."
"Yeah, I know… but still…"
An arn later, they were still in Pilot's chamber, sitting on the floor. John had his back to the panel, and Aeryn was sitting in front of him, wrapped in his arms. Neither of them had said a word after John had apologised to Pilot, and he was beginning to think they might have fallen asleep. He sent a DRD around to check on them.
John spotted it first, and laughed. "It's okay, Pilot, we're still here…"
"I was just checking, Commander," Pilot clarified. "Although it appears Officer Sun is only just here…"
"I'm fine, Pilot…" she said. "Just a little tired." The DRD went back to whatever task it had been previously assigned, and the room lapsed into silence once more. Aeryn leaned further against John and rested her head back on his shoulder. He kissed her temple, without realising he was doing it.
"You can sleep if you want, honey…"
Aeryn seemed to take him up on the offer, closing her eyes momentarily. Just when he thought she really was asleep, she spoke. "Thank you."
"Thank you… for this. All of it… telling us about the tradition, for the locket… everything." She lifted her head again and shifted position slightly so she was almost facing him, and sitting sideways on. John moved himself, to compensate.
"Comfortable?" he asked. She nodded, and, now that she had better access, she kissed him again, then laid her head back on his shoulder. The last thing she said before succumbing to the pull of sleep was barely above a whisper.
"I love you…"
He squeezed her tighter, and simply sat there, contemplating how truly bizarre the day had been. There was still a niggling worry that it was all a dream and he would wake up in the same predicament as before - hopelessly in love with Aeryn and unable to tell her for fear of rejection or worse. The lightly breathing form in his arms, however, was a comforting reminder that it was all very real.
Just when he was lapsing into sleep himself, he sensed another presence in the room and pulled himself back into consciousness. He groaned quietly when he saw who it was.
"Damn, Harvey, just go away…"
The clone was still holding the blue roses, now very bedraggled, as if he'd been pulling them along the ground behind him. "So this is how you repay me, John?"
"Repay you for what?" He was trying to keep his voice down and be domineering at the same time, and was only partially successful at both.
"Everything… Who's been there for you when you were lonely and moping? Me, that's who. And you repay me with your rejection."
"Harvey… you should be glad, okay? No more intrusive, annoying thoughts about-" He stopped and lowered his voice as Aeryn stirred slightly. "About Aeryn…"
"But I got you flowers!"
"Big deal," he said. "You didn't get me this, so leave me alone."
Harvey put on his very best kicked-puppy expression and trudged back out of the Den, leaving the roses in the middle of one of the gangways as he did so. John knew he should feel some kind of sympathy for him - he was, after all, the only person who wasn't particularly happy with the outcome of his Valentine's Day idea - but he didn't have the energy to waste his thoughts.
He kissed the top of Aeryn's head, then leant back against Pilot's console, getting more comfortable. In a matter of microts, he was asleep, and unconsciously figuring out the next custom he could inflict on everyone…
All over!!! Sorry I couldn't get the whole thing up for Valentine's Day, but I completely ran out of time and Muse power. Plus, four-day "Farscape" marathons really frell your sleeping pattern up…
Thanks to all those who reviewed each chapter *looks at Eve* and keep your eyes peeled for more of the Horror Show, which is still fermenting in my head periodically… Plus, very soon, you'll be seeing my other parody - "Leviathan Rouge"…
Please review if you haven't already. Thank you and good night!