Archiving: Archive anywhere, just let me know where
Warnings: Rating PG-13 for subject matter. Takes place after Green-Eyed Monster
Disclaimer: They are not mine. It's kind of like when a friend gets a new car. It may not be yours, but you can still enjoy the ride!
Author's Note: Thanks to Quilt Lady for her suggestions and help!
Summary: You ever been called something but don't know what it means? Do you really want to ask?
One thing was still bothering Crichton about his time aboard Talyn when the Retrieval Squad was after them. Okay, lots of things were still bothering him, but one thing kept bugging him more than the others. What the frell is a drannit?
After the tensions had died down, especially the tensions between Aeryn and him, he casually asked Aeryn what a drannit is. Maybe John was just seeing things, but he could swear that her face slightly reddened at the mention of the word. All she told him was for him to forget about it. When he asked again, she told him to drop it, that it wasn't important. "Well, if it wasn't important, she could've just told me what a drannit is," John thought to himself. Since that conversation was going nowhere, he dropped it.
But his curiosity just couldn't let it go. Now back on Moya, that conversation on Talyn and the subsequent one with Aeryn still came back to bug John. "Well, if Aeryn won't tell me, someone else will," he thought.
With his day's mission defined, Crichton went to what serves as the crews' galley and found Rygel there as usual. Rygel's been around; he'll probably know.
"Buckwheat, I got a question for you," John casually asked.
"Tapping into my vast stores of knowledge, eh?" Rygel smugly replied.
"Something like that," was John's non-committal reply. "Have you ever heard of a drannit?" he asked, ostensibly out of curiosity.
"A Drannit?" Rygel quickly replied.
"Yeah. A drannit. What is a drannit?" he asked again.
"Hee, hee. Where did you hear that?" Rygel slowly asked, looking like he's the cat who ate the canary with the biggest I-know-something-you-don't grin across his face.
"Doesn't matter," was John's quick reply. From Rygel's response, John wasn't about to tell him that Aeryn called him one. "Do you know what it is?"
"Yes. But I don't think I'm going to tell you. Not unless you tell me why you want to know," said Rygel.
"I heard the term, and I am trying to find out what it means," John said without trying to sound like he was hiding something.
Obviously, it didn't work because Rygel next said, "A term you just heard, eh? You...lie." Rygel stared back at John waiting for him to challenge his assessment of the situation.
John couldn't argue with him. "Fine. I'll ask someone else," he said as he left the room, feeling like a kid who just got caught with this hand in the cookie jar. Given Rygel's reaction to the question, he wasn't sure if he wanted to ask anyone else. "Oh, hell, Rygel is just probably giving me a bad time. Can't be that bad, whatever it is." Or, so John thought.
While he walked to the maintenance bay for some newly acquired beryllium cables that his module needed, John passed Jool in the passageway.
"Jool, what's a drannit?" he absentmindedly asked as they passed each other.
Smack! She slapped him across the face. "How dare you say something like that to me?" she indignantly spit out.
"What! I just want to know what a drannit is. What is your problem?" he angrily asked.
"Inferior species," was all Jool said as she hurried down the passageway.
John wondered what that was all about. She's so moody.
In the maintenance bay, John found Stark sorting through their latest supplies. Stark was looking for something, mumbling to himself. "Cannot find. Need to find. Cannot find. Need to find." John located the wiring cable that he went there to get and decided to ask Stark his question du jour.
"Stark, you've been around, right?" John asked.
"Been around?" Stark questioningly replied.
"Yeah. You know, seen a lot of different races, heard a lot of different terms."
"Yes. I've seen more races than most people even know exist."
"Good. That's what I thought. Tell me, have you ever heard of a drannit?"
"Why? Why do you want to know?" Stark asked, looking like he's just been insulted.
"I heard the term and the translator microbes can't seem to find a word that makes sense to me," John said while winding up the cable. John had noticed that Stark's demeanor has completely changed at the mention of a drannit, but he was manic often enough that John didn't really see the onslaught coming.
"Is that all? You just heard the term and want to know what it means?"
"Yes," said John with a sigh of relief. Finally, someone was going to tell him what it means.
"Is that all?!" Stark yelled.
"Whoa, buddy. What's going on here?"
"You've come here to insult me with words based on rumors and stories! Those are only rumors and yet you believe them? Going to make me look bad in front of all the others? Doesn't matter. Doesn't matter. Doesn't matter. My side, your side, my side, your side. Leave!"
"What is the matter with you? I just want to know what a drannit is?"
"Argh! Get out. Do not lie to me with your words. Leave!" ranted Stark as he pushed John out the door.
John left the raging Banik, not quite knowing what to make out of his odd response to a simple question. Then, a thought hit John. What if the question wasn't so simple after all? Just what did Aeryn call him? John's anger was slowing welling; half from not knowing what the frell a drannit is and half from knowing that he'd been called one.
Okay. This was getting serious. There were only three people left on board to ask. One: D'Argo. Two: Chiana. Three: Pilot. John opted to ask D'Argo next. "Why didn't I just go to him from the beginning. He's my friend; we've bonded. He'll tell me," John lied to himself while he walked to Command where D'Argo was supposed to be.
John helped D'Argo replace the conduits on one of the consoles and waited for just the right moment to ask, "D'Argo, do you know what a drannit is?"
"Yes," was D'Argo's stoic reply.
"Good," John said after a few microts. "Are you going to tell me what it is?" John asked, wondering why D'Argo didn't just tell him.
"No," was D'Argo's equally stoic response.
"John, there are some topics that just aren't discussed. This is one of them."
"Why kind of topics?" John asked, trying, unsuccessfully, to control his irritation.
"If you do not know, then I cannot help you."
"Dammit, D'Argo. Just tell me what a drannit is. How hard is that?"
"John, when Luxan children reach a certain age, their parents have a discussion with them about procreation and mating rituals. Do humans do something similar?"
"Yes. It's called the talk about the birds and the bees," replied John, not liking the direction this conversation was going.
"Birds and bees. No wonder you are so confused."
"Spare the asides, D'Argo. What does this have to do with a drannit?"
"The one question that fathers do not want to answer is what a drannit is. I was spared this because Jothee was taken from me before we had the chance to have this talk. And, I will not have this discussion with you."
That said, D'Argo went back to his work. John was furious. Furious with D'Argo for not letting him know, but more furious that Aeryn had called him a drannit in the first place.
The list was getting shorter. John wasn't about to ask Pilot. For all John knew, Pilot's race could have some bizarre way for procreation. Pilot never mentioned his people or their lives or girlfriends. No, Pilot would probably not be good to ask. It was up to Chiana. Chiana had been around, very around. Maybe she would tell him. But, knowing the topic of conversation, how does a guy ask a girl such a question? Especially since Chiana was like his younger sister. How does a brother ask his sister such a question? There's only one to find out.
John went looking for Chiana in order to get his answer. All the while, he was contemplating how to bring this up. Should he just ask outright? That hadn't gotten him anywhere so far. Should he hint around? He wasn't that good of a hinter.
John was still wondering how to bring up the question when he found Chiana washing clothes. Okay, how to proceed?
"Chiana..." Crichton slowly began.
"Hey, Crichton," Chiana energetically responded.
"Pip, I have a question for you."
"Sure, whatever you want to know."
"I'm afraid that it isn't that easy. You see, everyone else that I have asked has reacted, well, weirdly to my question."
"What's the question?" Chiana asked apprehensively.
"What's a drannit?"
"A drannit? You don't know?"
"If I knew, I wouldn't be asking."
"Why do you want to know?"
"Why does it matter?"
"Maybe you should ask D'Argo." Chiana went back to her washing hoping that Crichton wouldn't ask her again.
"I asked D'Argo. He wouldn't tell me."
"Maybe you should ask Aeryn, then."
John thought about ignoring this comment. Hell, if this was the only way to find out...he took a deep breath and said, "She's the one who called me a drannit."
John wasn't sure how Chiana was going to react. After a brief look of incredulity on Chiana's face, she burst into laughter. Once the hysterics subsided, she said, "Well I guess she would be the one that would know."
"What's that supposed to mean? Pip, please, what is a drannit?"
"You really don't know. A drannit is, um, well it's a, suppose that a, um, you see..."
"Pip, please give it to me straight. We're both adults."
"It's not just that."
"Well, what else?"
"It's just that you're going to get mad when I tell you."
"I'm not going to get mad."
"Yeah, you will," was Chiana's firm response.
"Okay. Let me rephrase. I won't get mad at you."
"You sure that you won't get mad at me for telling you?"
"I promise," John said, barely able to control the increasing frustration that this topic has brought him.
"You promised," Chiana reminded him as if he had forgotten in the last two microts. She slowly began, "Um, well, a drannit, is a guy who doesn't, um, have, well, all his working parts, um, fully functioning."
"Like a eunuch. He's missing some necessary hardware."
"Something like that."
"Well, a drannit is a guy who has all the inside guy parts but without, well, any of the, um, outside male pieces."
"None of them?"
"None. So, a drannit is a guy who was born without the pieces but then is surgically altered to have the pieces."
"And?" said John, sensing that Chiana was holding something back. Besides, there had to be more or everyone wouldn't have acted like they did.
"And...well, although he has his parts, they never quite work right. They work but not enough to, um, make a, um, cause, well, a woman, to a..."
"I think I get it," was John's curt reply. He was seething by now. Words, in any language, would fail to describe just how angry he was.
"You promised you wouldn't get mad at me."
"Wait, you said that Aeryn would be the one who would know to call me a drannit?"
"Crichton, I didn't mean..."
"Well, I just meant that since you and Aeryn are lov..."
John threw Chiana the most dangerous, don't-finish-that-sentence look. "Long story," was John's controlled reply. John had enough. He began pacing back and forth, looking for an outlet to his anger.
"But you guys are lovers, right?" Chiana blurted out.
John momentarily paused. Chiana had a right to assume, to ask, to wonder if. Crichton felt she deserved an answer since she had to explain this somewhat embarrassing term to him. "Not in the traditional sense. Something always gets in the way," he ambiguously said in a wistful tone. But he couldn't believe Aeryn called him a drannit! Granted, he was acting like a high school boy who caught his girlfriend in the locker room with the quarterback, but to call him a drannit?
"Look, Crichton. I'm sure that Aeryn was just..."
"Pip, thanks. You've answered my question. Now, I need to have a little talk with Aeryn."
John hurriedly left the room, rushing through the door and down the hall.
"Great," Chiana thought to herself. "Crichton's not going to kill me, but now Aeryn will."
John went to Command to see if Aeryn was there. No show. He went to her quarters to find her also not there. After searching, he asked Pilot.
"Yes, Commander," Pilot replied through the comm.
"Pilot, could you tell me where Aeryn is."
"Is there something wrong with her comm?"
"No, I just need to know where she is."
"If her comm is not broken, you could ask her yourself, Commander."
"Yes, Pilot, I know. Now where is Aeryn?"
"I believe she is eating a meal in the dining facility."
Pilot could sense that something was wrong with Commander Crichton, but he didn't say anything. Even with all of Pilot's extraordinary abilities, sometimes there was just no way to understand the Human, especially the Human's interaction with Officer Sun.
John made his way to the galley with all of the pent up rage of a mad Luxan. If he had been paying more attention, he would have noticed that Chiana had been following him. Although Aeryn would probably kill her when she found out that it was Chiana that explained the term to Crichton, Chiana was dying to see this conversation between John and Aeryn unfold. As John stormed down the passageway, D'Argo saw him pass the corridor that D'Argo was working in. A microt later, he saw Chiana quietly following. Despite Chiana's betrayal of D'Argo with Jothee, D'Argo still became insanely jealous when Chiana showed any interest in another man. Now, for her to be following Crichton, he had to know why.
"Chiana?" D'Argo called with a harsher tone that he meant.
Chiana didn't want to lose sight of Crichton, but she momentarily stopped to see what D'Argo wanted. "Yeah, D'Argo?"
"What's going on?"
"Yes, what is going on? Why are you following Crichton?"
"Well, it's a long story D'Argo. I'll tell you later."
"I've got the time now," D'Argo insisted as he grabbed Chiana's arm.
"Well I don't." Knowing that she was not leaving without giving an explanation, Chiana skimmed over the highlights of the situation in less than ten microts. "So you see why I want to see what happens."
"Don't you think they might want their privacy?" D'Argo asked as if Chiana has missed one of the most obvious things in the universe.
"They might. But, D'Argo," Chiana said sweetly, giving D'Argo that little smile that D'Argo found increasingly hard to resist, "imagine the show."
D'Argo let out one of his unintelligible growls and slowly released Chiana's arm. Chiana then darted off to follow Crichton's trail but stopped momentarily to throw D'Argo the most alluring smile. D'Argo remained where he was standing; he will not intrude on the privacy of others. But then again, he was concerned with the incessant current of tension between Aeryn and John. Maybe, for the sake of peace on the ship, he should know how this situation goes. Having put his mind at ease by creative logic, D'Argo left his project in the corridor and took the same passageway that Chiana had just departed down.
As John walked, no stormed, toward the galley, every negative thought that he had ever had toward Aeryn confronted him with the fury of a tempest. The thoughts were so strong that words could not make sense of the swirl of emotions that he was feeling. Anger for the remark. Anger for the remark from Aeryn. Irritation for having to find out from Chiana. Anger at himself for giving Chiana a glimpse of their private live. Foolishness for asking everyone on the ship before finding his answer. Embarrassment for telling Chiana that Aeryn called him a drannit. Aloneness for being here with strange people who he does not understand and will never understand if he lived for 200 more cycles. Anger with himself for just not letting it go. If he would've just let it go, he wouldn't be so frelling mad right now!
Inside the galley, Aeryn was oblivious to the maelstrom that was fast approaching. Jool was also there grumbling about the lack of real food. Rygel was present, again, absently talking about the delicacies of Hyneria. Aeryn wasn't listening to anything that they were saying although she nodded and made the appropriate replies. Instead Aeryn was thinking about what John told her that day on Talyn. The words "constant" and "guide" kept coming back to her. Inwardly, Aeryn smiled to herself. John is like a plague, she wasn't wrong about that. He's irritating and confusing. And beautiful and smart and caring and ...
John burst into the room. "You called me a drannit?" he yelled at Aeryn, not caring if Sparky or the Princess heard this conversation. Hell, they probably already know the whole story.
Aeryn was momentarily taken aback but faced John and quickly replied in an unemotional manner, "John, you know I called you a drannit." Aeryn returned to her food cubes, hoping, in vain, that the anger she saw etched across John's face was not because of her.
"Yes, but I didn't know what a drannit is until now."
"Who told you want a drannit is?"
"Why does everyone answer my questions with a question?"
John quickly closed the gap between the doorway and where Aeryn was standing. "Why did you call me a drannit?"
"Let it go, John."
"Why do you keep telling me to let it go?"
"John, that was passed, forget it."
"No. If you call someone a name and they don't know what it is, there's not a statute of limitations on how long they get to be mad."
"John, you're not making any sense."
"No. I'm making perfect sense and if I'm not making sense it's because you drive me insane."
"John, you just contradicted yourself. I don't need to have this conversation with you." Aeryn made to leave, irritated with herself for the pleasant thoughts that she was having about John a few microts ago.
"No. You're not leaving," John forcefully told her.
"I'll leave if I want to." Aeryn started to walk passed John toward the door.
"No. We're having this conversation and we're having it now! Why do you always get to the one who dictates when we talk?" As Aeryn passed him, John grabbed her arm. Aeryn quickly wrangled her arm free and pushed John away, hoping to leave. Instead, John swung her around by her shoulder and pinned her arms to the doorway. Aeryn was furious!
Aeryn forced her way free, livid that John was acting like he was. Normally, she would have shied away from such a personal conversation in front of an audience, but if John was going to act like a drannit, she was going to oblige. "Fine. We'll talk," she hollered. "If you want to yell at each other, we'll yell at each other. What is your problem?"
"You called me a drannit!"
"I didn't call you a drannit. I said you were acting like a drannit."
"Same thing. That logic has never worked, and it's not going to work now."
"I wouldn't have said you were acting like a drannit if you weren't!"
"You know what the circumstances were."
"So you think you see something that doesn't pertain to you and that gives you the right to behave like a child?"
"Doesn't pertain to me?"
"If it bothered you so much, you should have just asked."
"'Oh, Aeryn, by the way, I found this vid chip with you and Crais doing the nasty. You want to tell me about that?' That would have gone over really well, Aeryn."
The conversation was starting to get interesting. Rygel just sat there, taking in the scene as if he were in his Royal Court watching performers. Jool wasn't quite sure what to do. She really didn't want to be hearing this conversation, but there was no gracious way to leave. Chiana had followed John here and listened from around the edge of the door. D'Argo had quickly followed her and he too was listening to the quarrel. At the mention of Aeryn and Crais, Chiana and D'Argo looked at each other with nonplussed expressions. Aeryn and Crais? No. They could never be lovers. While the yelling continued, Stark rounded the corner. He was surprised to see Chiana and D'Argo eavesdropping. He started to say something, but Chiana quickly signaled him to shush.
"What is going on?" asked Stark.
"Aeryn and Crichton are arguing," replied Chiana.
"Drannit," was Chiana's reply.
"What?" Stark indignantly said. "I will kill him if he..." Stark started to interrupt the fray, thinking John was talking about him. Stark has definite issues regarding this topic. Before he could make it to the door, D'Argo grabbed his arm and forced him to the wall.
"Stark, they are arguing about Aeryn calling him a drannit. Do not interrupt them," D'Argo authoritatively warned. Stark realized that this conversation was not about him and quickly began to listen to the ongoing verbal onslaught.
"Me?!" yelled Aeryn.
"John, you are the one that is insane. Your plans never work. You never know what you are talking about. You frell everything up!"
"Yeah, I know. According to you I am a plague. Tell me, Aeryn, if I am so horrible, why don't you just shoot me and put me out of your misery."
"Don't think the thought hasn't crossed my mind!"
D'Argo had enough of this. If either one of them were acting normal, they would be mortified to be having an audience for this argument. D'Argo stealthily entered the room. Aeryn and John were so wrapped up in slandering each other that they didn't notice his presence. D'Argo motioned to Jool to leave. She shook her head no. If they started this conversation in front of her, she had a right to hear how it ended. D'Argo unceremoniously lifted her up by her arm and quietly pushed her out of the room. Rygel surprisingly followed D'Argo without question. D'Argo shut the door, leaving John and Aeryn to their ranting.
"Hey what's the big idea?" Jool demanded.
"Leave them. In there may not be a safe place to be," was D'Argo's curt reply.
"Well, if we can't watch in person," Rygel said as he navigated his chair down the passageway to Command.
Curious by his comment, the others followed. If any of them had been paying attention to what was beside Rygel on the table, they would know exactly what Rygel was talking about. Ever since John's brief conversation with Rygel about a drannit, Rygel had been expecting this to happen. So, he had prepared himself by keeping the portable viewing shell, which he had used to spy on Chiana and Jothee, close. Before leaving the dining facility, Rygel had set it up so as to be able to view the dispute from a distance. The other shell was accessible on Command. Once at Command, Rygel activated the shell to see how the yelling was progressing.
D'Argo went to deactivate the shell, but Rygel stopped him by saying, "Aren't you the least bit curious how this will work out?"
"I know how fights between lovers always work out," was D'Argo meaningful reply.
"Then all the more reason, wouldn't you say?" asked Rygel.
"Except they're not lovers," Chiana said before thinking. John probably didn't want that fact revealed.
"Are you on hexteca, girl?" asked Rygel. "Of course they are."
"No, they're not," replied Chiana.
"How would you know this?" asked D'Argo, suspicious of how that information was obtained.
"John told me."
"He what?" asked D'Argo.
"Well, I had to explain what a drannit is because no one else would," she vehemently said. "I made some remark about how Aeryn would know and John said that it was a long story and..."
"I knew humans were mentally challenged, but I didn't know how much," Stark piped in.
"Crichton said that something always got in the way," Chiana began to say. Just then, though, a piercing "Fine!" came over the view screen. They group heard Crichton shout a few belicres higher than the rest of the yelling had been.
"You're right, Aeryn. It is my fault. Everything's my fault. It's my fault that you are here. It's my fault that you can't go back to the Peacekeepers. It's my fault that Zhaan is dead. Everything is my fault!"
"I wish that were true," Aeryn said in a surprisingly mild voice.
John didn't understand.
Aeryn continued, "I've come to notice that every time we argue lately, all of the problems are my fault, you are always right, and we end up kissing."
"What's wrong with that?"
Aeryn looked up at John, ready to go for another round. Instead of anger or pain or irritation meeting her glance, John sat there with the biggest smile plastered across his face.
"Damn you, Crichton," Aeryn said as she slowly shook her head, trying to keep a grin from curling the corners of her mouth.
"What did I do now?" John asked, the tension gone from his voice.
"Why is it that you can totally disarm me with one of your dren-eating smiles? That is not fair."
"Well, if that is the case, then consider it payback for the fact that I go around all day long permanently aware of your effect on me." There was a double meaning to that that John hoped Aeryn got.
She smiled. She got it.
John walked over to Aeryn, reaching up to put his arms gently on her shoulders. "I am sorry that I got so upset. I have no idea what I just said, but I'm sure that I didn't mean any of it."
"Next time, don't act like a drannit," Aeryn replied deadpan.
"Next time, don't make me act like one," John replied equally deadpan.
"Is this the part where we kiss now?" Aeryn innocently asked.
Without further word, John pulled her to him and began to hungrily kiss her wonderful mouth. Her arms encapsulated him with a longing that is dangerous to have.
Back on Command, the others watched in amazement. They were just trying to kill each other and now they're kissing! They are strange indeed. Rygel reached over and deactivated the view screen. The others protested, but Rygel said, "That's enough." Rygel justified his comment by saying, "For now."
Aeryn and Crichton were still wrapped in each other's arms. The kisses were so passionate that the oxygen in the room seemed to have been depleted. They stayed like that, reveling in each other's touch. Just as John started to discover the area behind Aeryn's ear with his wandering lips, the whole ship shook.
Pilot's voice came over the comms. He frantically said, "An energy field has begun to form around Moya."
John and Aeryn both let out a rueful sigh and then said in unison, "Be right there."
Neither one of them wanted to let go. One of these days, they won't have to. They looked at each other one last microt and both ran toward Command.
On Command, they found the others already there.
"How did you get here so fast?" John absentmindedly asked them.
No one was able to make a reply because another energy surge pulsed Moya. John began shouting readings from one console while Aeryn shouted them from another. Stark panicked while D'Argo rushed to secure a loose panel. In other words, things were back to normal.
In the midst of all this confusion, a thought struck each member of the crew, apart from John and Aeryn who have known for some time. Something always comes up.