Title: Family Traditions
Author: Jo Raine (Celievamp)
Feedback address: email@example.com
Date in Calendar: 13 December 2004
Summary: Recovering from her time as Jenek's prisoner, Aeryn finds hope for the future from an unexpected source.
Spoilers: Set Season 4: after 'Fetal Attraction'.
Advertisement: Part of the FSAC04
Disclaimer: The story, and characters and anything and everything else concerning Farscape belongs to David Kemper et al.
The dream started off on familiar ground. Jack Crichton's house on Earth. The human celebration called Christmas. Jack, John and Olivia were there sorting through the huge pile of presents before distributing them. All of Moya's crew were there including their lost ones. Stark was standing by the window, his arms around Zhaan who leant against him, one hand reaching up to touch his face. Scorpius and Sikozu were making out in the armchair ignoring everyone else. Noranti was feeding Rygel chocolate. Jool was watching everything and everyone with her usual expression of fascination and disdain. Crais was watching Jool. Jothee sat on the couch between D'Argo and Chiana, trying to distract the Nebari without his father seeing what he was doing. Chiana was ignoring both of them, watching Aeryn with a strange intensity in her dark eyes. Aeryn was sitting on the floor, something warm, soft and wriggling in her hands.
She looked down. She was holding a child. A girl, less than a year old though she was far from being an expert on children's ages. Her eyes were John's eyes, soft blue, lighter than her own, but the shock of black hair and the set of her small face was all Aeryn. Her child. Her family.
The baby reached up, her small fingers closing around a pendant that Aeryn wore around her neck on a leather thong. She did not recognize the symbol, it was sinuous, organic. Somehow she knew it was a gift from Chiana. She smiled, looked up and saw an answering smile on Chiana's face.
She had a moment to enjoy it. She watched John with his father and his sister with a fond smile and then her gaze was transfixed by Chiana once more. There was something there. Something she had missed, something she had not wanted to see… Chiana was in love with…
Then before the revelation truly dawned it all went to hell. Jenek and Grayze came bursting through the door, the Skreeth fawning at Grayze's feet. Braca bounded forward and snatched her child from her. Aeryn screamed, the others looked on, did not move, did not do anything to help her. Not John. Not Chiana. John was talking to his family as if nothing was wrong. Chiana was still staring at her. Grayze held out her arms for the child but Braca evaded her and Jenek who also grabbed for her. He deposited the child instead on Scorpius's lap. And in a moment her beautiful daughter was transformed, her eyes still human but her features half-Scarren as Scorpius's were, the glistening fabric of a cooling suit framing her face, her small body. Behind them the wormhole formed, the vortex opening sending them all spinning, spinning.
Aeryn woke, gasping for breath.
She was in her quarters. She was on Moya. She was safe, or at least as safe as she could be given her current lifestyle. She was still alive. This was a surprise to her. And she was having a child. Possibly. Recent events had not quite persuaded her yet that this was a good idea. She had no doubts that Crichton would not be a good father – far more reservations about her future failings as a mother. And already the universe was taking far too great an interest in her child which was as yet little more than a potential. But somehow she knew that her dream was right, that it would be a daughter.
Aeryn Sun carefully sat up, her weakness still obvious. Noranti's potions did make her feel better but she had a few days to go at least before she was back to full strength. But weak was better than dead. And if the Scarren Jenek had had his way she would have been dead and her unborn child harvested for the information encoded in her DNA. Crichton's DNA. The secret to wormholes. And if her dream was right it wasn't over yet. And Scorpius could not be trusted where her child was concerned.
She owed her life to them. To John, to Noranti, to Sikozu, to Chiana. To all of them. All of them had played a part in getting her out of that place and back on Moya where she belonged.
Where she belonged. Aeryn wondered when that had happened.
For the first time since they got her back she was alone. One of the others must have finally persuaded Crichton to get some sleep. The only one of them she hadn't seen since her return was Chiana, but then she had been injured as well. Jenek had been preparing to transplant her child into Chiana, using the young Nebari as an incubator. It would probably have killed both of them but that did not matter to Jenek. As she gingerly sat up, a movement in the shadows alerted her – a DRD. John's 'pet' 1812 if she was not mistaken. So she wasn't entirely alone.
Chiana… that girl was an enduring mystery. Just when Aeryn thought she had the young Nebari figured out or had decided she was just a little tralk after all she did something so selfless that it took her breath away. The girl liked to give the impression that she thought with her kuzitza rather than her head, but it was far from the truth. And there had been something in her dream…
The risks they had taken to get her back overwhelmed her. Even the code of the Peacekeepers would have abandoned her to her fate. Noranti had taken terrible risks by inducing Hynerian dermafollica in Rygel on the Kalish base so that Jenek's ship would be held in lockdown giving them time to get her off. Rygel had almost died. John had nearly got himself killed sneaking on board Jenek's ship. She had been so out of it on whatever sedative the nurse had her on that she hadn't believed he was real. Any of them.
She still wasn't 100% sure.
She remembered hearing Chiana scream "Get your frelling hands off me!" Noranti promising her that something wouldn't happen. But it had. Aeryn shuddered. Her room was suddenly claustrophobically small. She found herself in the corridor, panting for breath.
The memory assailed her again. “No, stop! Stop! This is wrong! This patient has been drugged. She is weak. She may die from this procedure.”
Aeryn remembered the pain, the sharp points that had impaled her, the sensation of being frozen, caught in a moment of endless agony, relentless despair. She shuddered, felt herself slide down the wall, her legs suddenly too weak to sustain her. She could feel the slow tears coursing down her cheeks. She was weak… weak!
Someone was crouched next to her. “Aeryn – are you okay? Are you in pain? Do you want me to get Crichton or Noranti? Aeryn?”
It was Chiana. She dropped the bag she had been carrying on the floor at Aeryn's feet, her hands touching Aeryn's shoulder, her face.
“I'm sorry,” Aeryn gasped gazing up into onyx eyes. “I'm sorry they hurt you. Because of me. Because of the baby. I'm sorry.”
“Hey, hey, it wasn't your fault, Aeryn. None of it was your fault.” Small deft hands smoothed across her skin, brushed away the scalding tears from her cheeks. “Don't cry, Aeryn, please. I can't stand it when you cry. You're the strong one. You have to be for all of us. For your baby. Come on, let's get you back to bed.”
Numb, Aeryn allowed the smaller woman to help her back to bed and get her settled. As Chiana tried to leave, Aeryn caught hold of her hand. “No, stay, please!”
“Okay,” Chiana said, sitting on the edge of the bed. She looked uncomfortable. “Look, you don't want me, I'm… I'll go get Crichton.”
“No. I want you, Chiana. I need you.” As she said it, Aeryn realised that it was true. She loved John Crichton. He was the father of her child. And he would be a good father, a good mate to her. He had shown her that she could be more. He would always be there for her. But Chiana…
Being with Chiana was like being in her prowler diving through the atmosphere of a planet on a close run, it was like heading into battle against an unknown enemy all adrenaline and fire and headrush. It spoke to a part of her that needed this as much as she needed John.
“Stay,” she whispered. “Hold me, please. Just hold me, Chiana.”
“Ummm okay,” Chiana said. Aeryn realised that it was the first time that she had heard the young Nebari sound less than certain about anything. She wished she could read her better but the young woman was singularly opaque to her and always had been. Except…
Talikaa… before things went really bad. She could have fallen into Chiana's dark eyes for ever. She remembered watching from the doorway as Talikaa and Chiana kissed, enjoying the way their bodies moved against each other, the way they touched each other, Talikaa's hands on Chiana's small breasts. Wanting to join in… wanting… It had been so long since anyone touched her like that. Not since her John Crichton had died. It would have been so easy to join them, to lose herself in sensation…
But when had Aeryn Sun ever done what was easy.
And so she had gone on the defensive. “That the only reason you brought her aboard? So you can make her your toy now?”
“We were just talkin'… girl stuff,” Chiana said in her smoky voice. Aeryn realised that she could smell Chiana, smell the musk of her obvious arousal. The smaller woman was standing so close to her now that she could feel the heat of her breath against her skin. Chiana's hands were on her waist, stroking the soft leather of her tunic, easing under the edge to barely touch her skin. “I get feisty. I'm not like you.” Aeryn stood there, so straight, so brittle that the slightest touch could break her, shatter her into tiny pieces. Wanting so badly to be broken but not knowing how to say the words. Wanting Chiana to keep touching her to never stop touching her to take her now here in the corridor against the wall. Would she? Would she if Aeryn asked, no begged? “It's not a crime.”
Not a crime. Thinking about frelling with someone from another species, not just a non-Peacekeeper but a non-Sebacean. To the old Aeryn Sun it would have been not so much a crime as an unthinkable act, a betrayal of everything she held true.
It might yet be a step too far for the new Aeryn Sun. “This is excessive, even for you, Chiana.” Something reasserted itself: good sense, cowardice. She was not quite sure which. She tried to pull away from the girl before Chiana could sense how truly aroused she was.
Chiana had smiled and leant into her again. “Well, if you're not into it… I could always ask Crichton. She had touched Aeryn's face, ran her finger along her jawline and moved to kiss Aeryn's bare neck. Aeryn realised that she was afraid. Afraid that she might like this too much, afraid that her already complicated situation might just combust from the strain of keeping it all together. “You mind?” Chiana asked.
Then it hit her. Chiana had just asked her if it was okay to have sex with Crichton. Not with her. Chiana was just playing with her. Just being the pain in the mivonk crazy frelling slut, the role that she played so very well. Chiana did not really want her at all. She was just messing with her head. And Aeryn had almost fallen for it.
And somehow she found the strength to walk away. “Do what you want.”
“That day,” she whispered. “Talikaa… did you really want me or was it just what she did to us?”
“I wanted you,” Chiana said huskily. “I've always wanted you. Even when I was with other people. D'Argo, Jothee, Talikaa. I always wanted you. I just never thought it would happen. There was Crichton and there was the fact that you always thought I was a tralk.” She put her finger on Aeryn's lips as Aeryn started to protest. “It's okay. I am a tralk. Always was. Always will be. But that doesn't mean that my feelings aren't any less deep or less real. And I do love you, Aeryn. And I would like very much to show you what that is like.” She moved closer, nuzzled against Aeryn's throat for a moment, her lips cool against Aeryn's skin. She was making a curious humming noise deep in her throat that Aeryn found instantly arousing. Chiana giggled. “You like that do you?” Her lips kissed their way down Aeryn's throat again.
Aeryn felt something inside her melt. Something that had been frozen for a long time, perhaps since her John Crichton had died. She let her fingers sift gently through Chiana's soft white hair, the silkiness of it teasing her senses. Chiana's lips were on her breasts now, gently mouthing her straining nipples, her fingers smoothing along the bands of muscles that defined her ribs, her abdomen. Then she raised her head, her onyx eyes unblinking. “If you want me to stop this you better say so now because in a couple of minutes I'm not going to be able to stop. I want you, Aeryn.”
“Don't stop,” Aeryn murmured. “I don't think I could stand it if you stopped.” Chiana smiled, kissed her sweetly on the lips before lowering her head again towards Aeryn's breasts.
Aeryn slid her hands over soft grey skin. There was always such a sense of raw energy about Chiana that you forgot how small and slender she really was. But strong. She had to be strong to match D'Argo.
Chiana moved lower, kissing and licking over Aeryn's abdomen, around her navel where she seemed to instinctively know that Aeryn liked to be touched. In common with most Sebacean women that area was acutely sensitive, a highly erogenous zone for Aeryn. Which meant it was either a lucky guess on Chiana's part, or she was not the first Sebacean woman that Chiana had recreated with. Aeryn resolved not to think about that one. Chiana kissed the two tiny scars where the Vork had bit her, the long white scar where Larraq had stabbed her. “I can't believe that there's a baby in there,” Chiana said. “Really…” her face changed “Uh, sorry. I mean, you're probably not comfortable talking about that considering what we're doing.”
“It's okay,” Aeryn said softly. “I was dreaming earlier. We were back on earth, but the baby was here. A baby girl. It was Christmas again…”
“We never did get to do that,” Chiana interrupted her. “It was so drad we had to leave before seeing what it was all about. I thought we might have our own celebration but…”
“Things got a little weird. Just for a change,” Aeryn said. “Perhaps when things have quietened down a bit.” As if that was every likely to happen.
“I bought you a present, you know,” Chiana said. “I was going to give you it today. I brought it… I think I left the bag outside. And something for the baby. Crichton's sister, she gave me something to give to you as well. She said it was a family tradition. All the Crichton children were wrapped in it.”
“I didn't tell her about the baby,” Aeryn said. “I didn't tell anyone. Crichton must have told her.”
“Are you okay with that?” Chiana asked.
Aeryn shrugged. “It's his child, his family. Who knows when he'll get a chance to see them again. It's nice that our child will have some link with his home.”
Chiana's hands stroked Aeryn's breasts. “You know I'm still not sure if I fit into this. You and Crichton, you're pretty tight. He loves you. He risked a lot to get you back.”
“I know. And I do love him. But,” Aeryn laughed shakily. “In a way this is all his fault. He told me I could be more.”
“And am I part of the more?” Chiana nuzzled at her abdomen, lower. Aeryn drew her legs up and parted them granting Chiana's unasked question.
“Yes,” she said simply, her back arching as Chiana's tongue touched her centre for the first time.
Chiana knew that Aeryn would probably expect her to want things to happen quickly but the Nebari took her time, learning Aeryn's body, luxuriating in the unexpected sensuality. She smiled at Aeryn's soft moans and sighs, the occasional instruction. “More… harder… faster… slower…” before her attentions brought the woman beyond speech. She watched as Aeryn's sweat sheened skin slid beneath hers as they lay full length against each other, legs entwined hands touching, stroking, clutching, fingers entwined in hair, framing features, bracing, scratching, bruising as the intensity grew the moment prolonged beyond anything Chiana had experienced before. This meant something to her, she realised. This had the potential to change everything. She was surprised and a little relieved to find that it did not frighten her. When D'Argo had wanted her to settle down with him she had run hard. Now… now things might just be different.
Aeryn had fallen asleep, a faint smile on her face. Chiana watched her for a moment, then padded outside to retrieve the bag she had dropped earlier. As she went back into the room she saw the DRD zip back into its hiding place and grinned. She could trust Pilot to be discreet. She sensed that Aeryn might want to keep this new development just between the two of them for the time being.
As she sat back on the bed again, Aeryn stirred and opened her eyes. “Is that my Christmas present?” she whispered sleepily.
“Yes,” Chiana said, remembering the formula she had heard used on Earth. “But have you been a good girl this year? Only good girls get presents.”
Aeryn stared at her. Had she been a good girl? She suffered the loss of her lover, her father, her mother, she had participated in a terrorist action that had killed her surrogate son and thousands of her people, she had run away from the only place, the only people who meant anything to her to live a life even more on the edge as an assassin. She had contemplated killing her child because it was easier than letting it live. She had lied to everyone including herself.
“Aeryn, it's okay,” Chiana stroked her cheek, deeply worried by the way Aeryn had apparently frozen on her. “It was a stupid question, I didn't mean anything by it. It was something I heard on Earth. Something that one of their gods says to children. Santyclaws or something like that. Good children got presents, bad children… well, I don't know what they got. But if anyone deserves presents and good things, Aeryn, it's you. Anyway, frell the humans and their idiot ideas. I vote we start our own family tradition here on Moya. Happy Frelling Christmas, Aeryn.” She handed the dark haired woman a small box.
Aeryn managed a smile. “Happy Frelling Christmas, Chiana.” She had nothing to give in return, not yet. Chiana seemed to understand.
“It's okay. Open your present. I hope you like it.”
Aeryn opened the box, took out the pendant. Silver, sinuously shaped. The last time she had seen it her daughter had been playing with it, running small curious fingers over the surface.
A portent. In her dream, Chiana had loved her. A portent. Her daughter would never be safe.
She slipped the leather thong over her head, let the pendant nestle between her breasts. “It's beautiful, thank you,” she whispered. Accepting the gift, accepting Chiana's love, accepting the future.
Accepting the fight.