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Paper Moon

by Andraste

[Story Headers]

Say, it's only a paper moon ...

Paper: too large a category to provide meaningful data. The smell of books, the texture of glossy magazines, reams and reams of computer printouts, we need more toner, the copier's busted again, newsprint smearing under fingers ... he stops the flow of information before it can overwhelm him.

Moon: Earth has only one, which somehow doesn't seem sufficient anymore. Jack Crichton went there. John waved.

The combination paper moon: a carefully cut-out circle of yellow stuck on black cardboard with thick white paste. Messy and soggy, but something to be proud of back in kindergarten. Halloween?

Sailing over a cardboard sea ...

Cardboard: Still stuck in kindergarten. Don't run with the scissors, Johnny. Book covers bent back or torn and ... if he gets into books again he'll never be able to stop. He finds that part of John's mind frustrating, too, because they're never stored whole. He only ever gets the general shape of the story. John has a far better memory for music.

Sea: He knows all about the sea. John is the water he lives in like a fish. Let's go to the beach and have beer and watch the girls in their bikinis ... but lately that line of thought always leads back to Aeryn.

Not that everything else doesn't.

But how can the ocean be made of cardboard? He envisions himself swimming through empty boxes and cartons and discarded playing cards until John's mind supplies the concept backdrop.

Harvey likes his version better.

*But it wouldn't be make-believe
If you believed in me ...*

In the beginning, John used music to block him out. For a while it worked like a charm: he'd start to sing, and Harvey would be so dazzled by the resulting flood of images and associations from his host's subconscious that he'd get distracted and his control would slip.

He's nothing if not adaptable.

With time, he learned to turn the trick to his own advantage. Every night he opens the box of records in John's head, puts something on to play, kicks back to watch the accompanying show. It's even more educational than television. There's still so much that Harvey doesn't understand, that he needs to learn.

It has to be his little secret, of course. When John sings and hums to himself during his waking hours Harvey usually feigns disinterest. But he does all of this for his host.

In the end, all the important songs are love songs.

Yes, it's only a canvas sky ...

Canvas: Sails crackling in a stiff wind, paint dripping off a stiff brush.

Sky: It unfolds above him, laden with stars both strange and familiar, then cracks open as a wormhole blooms.

Hanging over a muslin tree ...

Muslin: fabric under his fingers. A grandmother's dress, perhaps? A wedding dress. Harvey swiftly steers in another direction.

Where hanging and tree come together, Harvey sees John strung up: on a cross, on a branch, but the image slips away from him before he can make any sense out of it.

*But it wouldn't be make-believe
If you believed in me ...*

John doesn't believe in Harvey.

Deep down he's convinced that his companion is still a second-rate copy of Scorpius who can't be trusted or relied upon. After all that Harvey's done for him, after all these weeks of being the only thing keeping John sane, the conviction stings.

What stings more is that, sometimes, Harvey wonders if John could be right. I think, therefore I am ... but is he really real? Does he really think? Perhaps he's nothing more than a daydream, a malfunctioning program, psychic detritus.

But when he opened the box in John's head marked rabbit to discover why he'd been named after an imaginary one, he found just what he was looking for. Humans (or at least those John Crichton is most familiar with) aren't like Scarrans or Peacekeepers. Ideally, they don't define their existence by their place in the social hierarchy, but according to the number and quality of their emotional ties. Love makes them real.

Harvey is delighted to be a rabbit, provided he can aspire to velveteen.

His love for John is proof of his independent existence. If John loved him back ... You're nobody 'til somebody loves you. All the songs say so. And if he can't make John love him, Harvey will be what John loves.

*Without your love,
It's a honky-tonk parade ...*

Honky-tonk. See also: piano.

How do you put a piano in a parade? Then he remembers a convenient object: float. John's head is full of so many wonderful things, Harvey can't hold it all at the same time. Even after so long, the cavalcade of sensation still intoxicates him. He hopes it will never stop.

*Without your love,
It's a melody played in a penny arcade ...*

Penny: Little copper disk, so shiny, but you can't buy much with a penny. The price will be higher than that.

Arcade: Flashing lights, pounding noise, frantically manipulating the joystick. A game he plans to win.

*It's a Barnum & Bailey world,
Just as phony as it can be ...*

Harvey adores the circus: cotton candy, acrobats, sideshows, elephants, and everywhere clowns. Sometimes the phony world is so much better than the real thing. Underneath the brass band and the popcorn, he finds an apt quotation: there's a sucker born every minute.

The fake can replace the real thing, if the real thing doesn't know the value of what she has and throws it away. Soon they won't need her, or the memory of her, at all. If it's love that will keep John Crichton alive, he'll have all that he needs.

*But it wouldn't be make-believe
If you believed in me ...*

To make John believe in him ...

The process terrifies Harvey: his sense of identity is still shackled to the shape of Scorpius. If he loses it, then will he still be himself? He can only cope by drawing on the certainty he inherited from his former master that the suit is far more important than the form that it covers. For Scorpius, that may be a weakness, but Harvey has turned it into a strength. It's not so difficult to put the costume on under his uniform instead of over it. He's been practicing.

The bodyswap has left John with enough memory of Aeryn's physicality for Harvey to reconstruct the weight of her breasts, the fall of her hair. The fantasies do the rest. He's going to make the copy superior to the original.

He's not going anywhere.

One day, perhaps, he'll be able to get past the need for the leather, and then he'll be ready to show John what he's become. For now, Harvey thinks he looks quite marvelous in Aeryn's skin and Scorpy's outfit.

Thank you, Officer Sun. Thank you, daddy. Without you none of this would have been possible.

Without your love ...

Not for long.

Harvey will be a real boy. Or the ghost of a girl, if that's what it takes. Whatever it is that will make John Crichton see that they're meant to be together forever. Then the ocean will stay wet and warm all the time, and the moon will hang in the sky instead of lying flat on the page.

The End

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Fandom:  Farscape
Title:  Paper Moon
Author:  Andraste   [email]   [website]
Details:  Standalone  |  PG  |  *slash*  |  6k  |  02/10/04
Characters:  Harvey
Pairings:  Harvey/John
Summary:  Harvey plays John's records and contemplates love.
Notes:  This is set between Season Three and Season Four, but spoils through to 4.5, 'Promises'. This is all Shrift's fault, for persuading me that *any* idea becomes a good idea if you just add Harvey.

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