Disclaimer: I don't own Farscape.
"What," Aeryn said, her lip curling, "is that."
John quirked a grin and didn't reply. It was a matter of microts before the DRD finished welding together the loose bits of metal John had scavenged from a few storage boxes in the hangar. Its engine whirring with curiosity, the DRD backed away. John snuck a look at Aeryn, who was wearing her what-is-that-frelling-human-up-to-this-time face, then grabbed his creation by the tip and, grunting, hefted it upright.
It was heavier than it looked, sharp edges digging into his face and hands. The bottom dragged across the floor, metal grating on metal, before it finally slid into the circular indentation he'd carved earlier. Cautiously, he let go and stepped back, pleased when it stayed upright.
"Now, Pilot," he said.
"As you wish, Commander," Pilot said, in his what-is-that-frelling-human-up-to-this-time voice.
A moment later there was a low hum as power conduits under the floor became active, and John's creation lit up.
"Can I get a hell yeah!" he said, pumping his fist in the air and beaming at Aeryn.
She sighed. "Crichton, what is it?"
"It's a Christmas tree."
She looked from the glowing structure to John and back again. "A what tree?"
"Christmas," he said, inspecting his creation with pride. True, it was a hideous excuse for a tree, black where it should be green, shaped more like a demented umbrella tree than an evergreen, but it would do the trick. With the lights Pilot had reluctantly agreed to power, it was even cheerful. "It's a holiday we celebrate back home."
"A holiday?" That intrigued her, he could tell. "What is it about?"
Later, he decided, he'd try to explain about the birth of Jesus, about Christianity and all of the other religions on Earth. For now, he'd give her the cliff notes version.
"It's about celebrating love and family. It's about giving and receiving presents, about being around people you care about. And it's about snow."
"I see," she said, her tone making it clear that she didn't see at all. "And the…tree?" She shot his tree a dubious look.
"We celebrate Christmas by putting up a tree and decorating it with lights and ornaments," he explained. "It's the most wonderful time of the year. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, et cetera et cetera."
"And you really think that Command is the best place to put it," she said dryly.
Now she was just being stubborn. He'd set it off to the side, well away from any consoles.
"It's got to be where people can see it," he said, bouncing on the balls of his feet. "To fill our hearts with joy and laughter, fa la la la la la la la la."
Aeryn looked at him like he was crazy—which, maybe, he was. Scorpius' voice hovered around him like a particularly buzzy bee, telling him to stop wasting time, wormholes, wormholes, John, focus on the wormholes, but he ignored the whispers with little effort. The warm lights of the tree, bathing his face in green, gold, and purple—the only colors Moya had been able to offer—seemed to soothe away some of the turmoil that had been plaguing him lately.
"It's really best if you see it from this angle," John said, waving Aeryn over to where he was standing. "If you come over here it'll all become clear."
Her eyebrows rose in disbelief, but a smile tugged at her lips despite herself as she approached. She stopped just inches away, close enough for him to smell the faintly chemical odor of the shampoo they had to use whenever they ran out of things to trade for the flowery stuff John preferred.
"Crichton," she said flatly after a moment of consideration. "The 'tree' looks exactly the same from here."
He leaned over, intruding on her personal space in a way she would never have allowed a cycle ago, and told her, "Look up."
He kept his eyes on her as she tilted her head back, admiring the line of her throat, her strong profile. He knew that she would be puzzled by what she saw: some roughly shaped metal and ball bearings assembled to resemble berries and leaves.
"It's mistletoe," he murmured, delighting in the way she shivered at the feel of his breath on her ear. "On Earth, when two people stand under the mistletoe they're supposed to kiss."
Aeryn turned to face him, leaning even closer, smiling slowly, a smile full of promise. "Is that so?" She was so close that her lips brushed against his when she spoke.
"Yeah," John breathed.
Quicker than the blink of an eye, Aeryn's pulse pistol was out of its holster and aimed at the mistletoe. A single shot demolished it in a hail of sparks and broken metal.
"Too bad we're not on Earth, then," she said with a smirk. Holstering her pistol, she sauntered away, putting an extra swing in her hips.
"Yeah," John said, cocking his head as he watched her go. "Too bad." When he glanced down at the DRD—Santa's little helper—his grin was as broad as it had ever been. "She's coming around," he told it brightly.
"Shall I turn off the lights?" Pilot asked after several minutes had passed, perhaps thinking that the exercise was over.
"No," John said. He brushed his hand against the tree, imagining the feel of cool pine needles instead of hard metal, imagining that he could hear the laughter of his family, see their faces. "Leave them on, Pilot. For as long as you can. Please."
Pilot's voice was gentle with understanding. "Certainly, Commander."
Feeling contented for the first time in far too long, John leaned against the wall and basked in the glow of his Christmas tree.
"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas," he sang under his breath, and thought that maybe next year he'd convince Aeryn to sing along.