SC 67: Merry Christmas(G)

Starburst Challenge 67 (hosted by A Damned Scientist): The Festival
Rating: G
Spoilers/Setting: Terra Firma sequel to SC: 60 Angel Olivia
Genre(s): Drama
Word Count: 1577

No test drive on this one. All mistakes are mine.

Disclaimer: The characters and universe of Farscape are the property of the Henson Co.

Aeryn followed Livvy through the mall, looking around at all the decorations. There were so many shades of green and red blending together brightly. It was very different from anything in the Uncharted Territories. There were lights flashing and that fat old guy in the red suit.

It was like walking through the market square of a Commerce Planet. Many vendors had various wares to sell. With so many new and wondrous things to see, it was impossible to avoid distraction. She paused at a shop selling shoes. Seeing her shopping partner was distracted, Olivia backtracked to join her. "Do you see anything you like?"

"Not really. Why do you have so many shoes? Most of those seem impractical. How could you balance on those spikes?"

"Practice makes perfect. After you've walked in them a while, you get used to it. It's common to match your shoes to the clothes you wear. Some women have hundreds of pairs. I take it that's not common among your people?"

"No. Most of what we wear is practical. Dress attire is only worn at command function level events. There isn't much call for the soldiers to participate. Even our dress wear would never involve something so uncomfortable." Aeryn glanced around at all the women in the crowd of shoppers. No one wore the same pair of shoes. It seemed bazaar to her, but then humans weren't known to make sense.

She turned away from the shop window, and they continued to meander through the crowd of excited holiday shoppers. Many times Aeryn's eyes paused on the women who had distended stomachs. She'd never seen a pregnant woman before. Among Peacekeepers, anyone on the breeding roster was isolated from the ranks until after the birth. With a self conscious smile, she realized Olivia had noted her interest.

John's sister was great at avoiding uncomfortable subjects. She might have her suspicions about her brother's relationship with this woman, but it wasn't her place to ask. When the next store they came to specialized in expectant mothers and new born clothing, Olivia decided to test the waters.

"I have a friend who's going to have a baby shower soon. Would you mind going into this store with me?"

Puzzled, Aeryn tilted her head. "Bathing a baby is a special event?"

It took Olivia a moment to grasp what the Sebacean was saying. "No. A baby shower is a party thrown for a woman who is about to deliver a baby. It's a chance for her friends to get together one last time before the baby comes and makes life difficult for a few months. It's also customary for party goers to bring gifts for the mother and child."

"Uh, alright." As they walked into the store, Aeryn asked about a display at the front window, it was of a scene she had noticed all over the mall.

"That's a depiction of the night Jesus was born. His parents were poor and had no place to stay, so they bedded down in the barn with the sheep. That night, as they lay sleeping, people travelled from all over the world to see this child who had been prophesied to save us all. Christmas is the celebration of his birth."

Unconsciously, Aeryn rested a hand on her stomach. Realizing what a telling motion that was, she quickly dropped her hand to her side. Olivia decided to let the moment pass and made her way over to the newborn clothes.

Many times Aeryn paused over different outfits and color choices. She asked about how cribs worked and what car seats were for. After several minutes Olivia noticed the store clerks whispering and pointing at the "alien". She realized that bringing Aeryn in here was a mistake. The rumors would be flying for days about why an alien would visit a maternity shop. Grabbing the sleeper Aeryn had in her hands, Olivia told her it was time to check out.

As they got to the counter, Olivia turned to Aeryn, "Thank you for indulging me with the selfish desire to get some of my shopping done too. My friend is going to love this!" she gushed.

It took a moment for Aeryn to catch on, and then she was nodding and smiling self consciously. "It wasn't any trouble." After purchasing the sleeper, they made their way back into the center of "The Mall" where Chiana and Noranti patiently waited with their guards.

After a quick dinner at one of the mall restaurants, they left to go back to the mansion to sleep. Olivia accompanied them to their cars, and then made her way to her own. She couldn't help but think about that wistful look on Aeryn's face when they walked around the baby store. She had a pretty good guess about what that look meant, and it broke her heart.

Already her brother had drifted away from his family. He seemed to have changed so much and while Earth was the place of his birth, it wasn't his home anymore. It was a pretty good guess that his heart belonged on Moya with a certain dark haired alien beauty.

Putting her car into gear, Olivia backed out of the parking space, in a hurry. She had a stop to make before she went home.

It was dark by the time she made it back to her house. As she walked in the door John asked her, "Hey, where have you been?"

Olivia laughed, "Shopping with aliens."

It didn't take her long to realize that her brother was miserable. He put on a good front, but looking at the pictures seemed to magnify his loneliness. John seemed to want to spend time with his family, but he was isolated from his shipmates, from Aeryn. Her brother said it was a mistake coming here. Here as in Earth or here as in Dad's house?

After her brother made his way to bed, she snuck out to her car and brought in all the packages she had purchased after she left the mall. It took three hours to wrap everything. Perfume for Chiana, popcorn for Rygel. She had been observing all of her brother's friends and wanted to show them more Christmas hospitality than her planet had. There was a book of ancient Earth weapons for D'Argo and herbal seeds for Noranti. For Pilot, she bought him a collection of e-books on Earth's history and science because she had been told he liked to read. Sikozu was impossible. In the end, she settled on a book of Earth landscapes for her.

Aeryn's presents were more personal. She bought her a bracelet with charms on it that represented her different friends on Moya. That was to be presented to her Christmas morning with all the other presents. The other gifts for Aeryn would have to wait until the right time. Hopefully Chiana would help her with that.

Days later, there was no Christmas morning. A green creature had smashed up the tree. John would be alright. He'd only bruised two ribs. Olivia began to understand the crazy world her brother lived in. As John's shipmates packed up to leave, she was able to give each one their special present from her. She cried a little, realizing just how important John's friends had become to her, too.

D'Argo agreed to take Aeryn's other gifts up to Moya and hold onto them until the time was right. The Luxan was surprised, although he shouldn't have been, to learn how well Olivia had gotten to know them. Just like her brother, she accepted them unconditionally, flaws and all.

It was several months before Olivia's true contribution to the Uncharted Territories was discovered. John was in a coma, having unleashed the most destructive weapon the galaxy had ever seen. Setting it off had been easy, shutting it down might cost his life.

Stark was wandering the ship, marveling at his new sense of peace. There was still extensive water damage to most of the tiers. On the far end of the living quarters he found a bunch of brightly colored boxes stashed in an undamaged part of the ship. On the top of one was a green envelope with Aeryn's name written on it. It took only a moment for him to run to Crichton's quarters, where he found Aeryn holding vigil at his bedside.

"I found this with a bunch of boxes near D'Argo's quarters. I think you may want to go check them out." He paused, looking over the still form of his friend. "Don't worry, I will watch over Crichton for you."

Aeryn nodded, dazed. Taking the card with her, she made her way to where the boxes were stashed. She knew they had been there fore a long time, having appeared right after their brief stay on Earth. Until now, she'd had no desire to even look in them. In the end she was overwhelmed at all the things a baby might need. There were clothes and diapers, enough that she wouldn't have to worry for a while about her son's needs.

As tears came into her eyes, she opened the envelope. In Livvy's hand there was a short note.

"Aeryn, I wish I could have thrown you a baby shower, but this will have to do. Take care of yourself and that baby. Please don't give up on my brother, he will come around. Merry Christmas. Love, Olivia."

Repeating Olivia's words, silently to herself, Aeryn made her way back to John's cell. She wasn't about to give up on John Crichton.