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Season of Life

by Marguerite

[Story Headers]

As usual, Crichton didn't know where he was or what had happened to him.

Opening his eyes was too much trouble, so he kept them closed and tried to reconstruct the last three things that happened. They were, in order:

He proposed to Aeryn She accepted They got blown up

Just another normal day in the Uncharted Territories.

He couldn't tell much about his surroundings. There was a low hum of something just behind his head - it wasn't doing anything to lessen the piercing headache - and a smell he knew damned well couldn't have been frying bacon so he wasn't sure what it was. So. No clue where he was, or how, for that matter, he was anywhere at all given that he'd just been shattered into thousands of pieces.

'Tis a puzzlement.

There was nothing for it but to open his eyes. The light exploded in his pupils. "Wow, shit," he rasped, scarcely recognizing his vocal cords. He tried to put one of his arms up to shield his eyes, but nothing really wanted to move.

"Is this..." He had to stop and clear his throat. "Is this heaven?"

"No, it's Moya."

Obviously he was in some weird circle of Hell, where he'd have to listen to Chiana quote from "Field of Dreams," only getting it wrong.

Wait.

He managed to open one eye without the top of his head blowing off. Sure enough, it was Chiana, cocking her head to one side and grinning at him. "I was beginning to think you'd never wake up."

"I was pretty sure I wasn't going to." He tried to sit up but reconsidered when sixteen flamenco dancers took up residence behind his eyes. "I was pretty sure I wasn't supposed to. Who the hell were those guys?"

"Don't know, 'cause we didn't stick around long enough to find out. Just got you and Aeryn out and--"

He was on his feet in a microt. On his ass a microt later. "Aeryn," he gasped as he tried to remember that gravity had once been his friend. "Did you save Aeryn?"

"He actually got you both out."

"He, who?" Crichton asked, working his way to his feet by sliding upward with his back against the wall. It was like getting a backscratch from a warm jellyfish: pliant and warm, not unpleasant, but not exactly helpful.

"Stark, of course." Chiana spoke as if it were the most natural thing in the world. "He did the same thing as when he got dispersed on the thing. You know, the thing you called the hobbitcap."

"Hubcap," Crichton corrected automatically. "You mean, he dispersed us, then recreated us?"

"It's probably more technical than that, but, yeah. That was pretty much it." She didn't seem to be too interested in the mechanics. "Whoever was shooting at you must've thought they hit you, because they saw what we saw - the images Stark left behind while he was gathering your astral essence or whatever he does." Chiana shrugged. "Anyway, Aeryn came to right away, but you've been out for three solar days."

"I want to see her."

Possibly the biggest understatement of his entire life.

"She's on her way - I commed her when I saw you starting to wake up."

Footsteps. Boots, with hard heels, running fast.

On cue as always, the cavalry, his own personal Valkyrie in black leather. Aeryn. Running into his room at full tilt, looking none the worse for wear.

"I leave your side for one frelling microt," she groused, but her face was lit up like a kid with cotton candy in one hand and popcorn in the other. She crouched in front of him, looking him up and down with her jewel-bright eyes. "How do you feel?"

"Fantastic. You?"

She glanced behind her. Crichton could hear Chiana's giggle fading as she left them in private. When the room was still at last, Aeryn gave him the full-force, million megawatt smile. "Never better."

It hit him, then, squarely on the forehead.

We won.

"We won," he said softly, wrapping his arms around her and resting his forehead against hers. "They tried to trap us, tried to kill us, tried everything they could to make an end to John Crichton and Aeryn Sun, but the bastards lost."

"You have to love that," Aeryn murmured against the corner of his mouth.

Best kisser in the universe, Crichton thought with what little of his brain was still functioning. Best lover, best friend.

Wait. Against his instincts, he pushed Aeryn away slightly. She was flushed a very becoming shade of pink and a few tendrils of her hair were curling on the sides of her face. "What?" she asked huskily.

He didn't know how to ask, so he just took their joined hands and put them down to the smooth expanse of flesh at her waist.

She bit her lip and tears rose in her eyes.

Oh, damn. He felt the answering sting of salt. "It doesn't matter," he said more bravely than he felt. "We can try again."

"Yes," she said slowly, as if speaking to someone without all his wits intact. "Yes, but we have to wait for this one to be born, first."

Three, two, one...

"You were crying..."

"Because Stark could see the baby, sort of. He told me it's a--"

Crichton cut her off, his fingers pressed against her lips. "Don't spoil it for me, I want a surprise."

She nipped at the pads of his fingers. "It's a Luxan."

Three, two, one...

"You are so full of dren," Crichton declared. Aeryn stuck her tongue out at him and he leaned in for the kiss.

Of course, everyone else chose that moment to follow Chiana into the room.

Rygel was covering his eyes. "Must you perform your grotesque rituals in front of us?" he snarked, followed by a loud, "Ow!" as Noranti grabbed his earbrow and twisted it. "Welcome back, Crichton."

"Welcome back, indeed!" Noranti sidled up to them, holding out her apron. "If you have any lingering aftereffects, I've got some herbal cures..."

"Uh, no, thanks." Crichton waved her away, but still smiled. He glanced from Chiana to D'Argo. "Where's Scorpy and Sputnik?" he asked.

D'Argo grunted. "They took a transport when they saw your 'death' on the screen. I suppose they went to find greener pastures."

"Greener than this?" Crichton asked, raising an eyebrow. He held his hand out to D'Argo, who came over and clasped it, then hoisted Crichton in the air in a tight hug. "Oh, my friend, it's so good to see you again!"

"Thank you." It came out as a wheeze. Damn, D'Argo would be one kick-ass accordion player.

Pilot's face appeared on the clamshell. "Ah, Commander Crichton, Moya and I are very pleased that you're awake. Captain D'Argo, might I suggest that put the Commander down before he becomes unconscious again."

Growling in embarrassment, D'Argo put Crichton back on his feet and steadied him. Crichton kept looking around. Stark. Stark.

Standing in a corner, hands fisted at his side.

Moving still wasn't something Crichton could do well, but he slowly made his way to Stark and put his hands on his shoulders. His crazy savior. "I don't even know where to start," he said. "That was...amazing thinking."

Stark shrugged, looking down and away. "It was what I could do, it was all I could do, I just couldn't save everything."

Crichton did a quick inventory of his body parts, at least the external ones. Everything seemed to be where it was supposed to. "What do you mean?"

With a sigh, Stark opened his hands. In the left was a nugget of metal, in the right was a shimmering black stone. "But I saved the baby," he offered.

It took a few moments for Crichton to register the remains of his mother's engagement ring. He didn't really want to think about what part of the reconstituting process might have turned the diamond to jet, because then he would have to think of what might be under his shirt. Or his pants.

Stark looked ashamed. "You," Crichton announced, "are one crazy bastard. Saved us both, saved all three of us, counting the baby, and you're upset about a ring."

Truth be told, Crichton was a little upset about it, as well. It had looked so beautiful on Aeryn's hand, just before...

"Know what?" he said jauntily, patting Stark's good cheek. "Doesn't matter. I'll make a new ring out of this lump of gold and then I can rule the universe."

Of course, the others just glanced at one another in confused silence. There was just no damn way to explain the Ring of the Niebelungen without Anna Russell. Finally, Aeryn spoke up. "Perhaps you'd better lie down again, Crichton."

"Perhaps I'd better," he said archly.

Noranti began to shoo everyone off, but she lingered in the doorway. "Sometimes, after a long period of unconsciousness, it takes a while for the libido to catch up to the brain. I could mix you up a nice Darbal soup--"

"That...won't be necessary, Granny, but thank you just the same," Crichton said, patting her on the back and pushing her out the door in one smooth gesture.

Aeryn locked the door, Crichton draped the privacy screen, and 1812 put up a more durable barrier between the lovers and the rest of the ship. The room's temperature was a little lower than normal. Patting one of the walls, Aeryn said, "Thanks, Moya. It's about to get very, very hot in here."

That did it. He pounced on her - as best he could, given that his knees still felt as if, maybe, Stark had put them on backwards. She wriggled happily in his arms until they were face to face. Leather pants creaking just a little. Her hair brushing the ticklish place at the bend of his elbow. He put his mouth against hers but let her take the lead in this. Maybe in everything else, if it would just be this good.

And as she pushed him backwards on the bed, her smile wide and eager and loving, he thought they just might have a chance.

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Fandom:  Farscape
Title:  Season of Life
Author:  Marguerite   [email]
Details:  Standalone  |  PG-13  |  9k  |  08/11/04
Pairings:  John/Aeryn
Notes:  Spoilers: The "final" episode.
Classification: Written for "Fan the Vote."
Loligo's specification was that I had to find a happy resolution to the final three minutes of the series.

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