How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count The Ways

By Bob Hutchinson (UCSBDad)
Copyright 2000

Author's Notes:
Disclaimer: It's bad enough that Dad, er, procures the characters and situations of Farscape from Rockne, Brian and all the rest. And we know that any dead English writer is fair game for the man. But now UCSBdad has stooped to "borrowing" from fellow BB posters. For shame, but true. Altana_Mirtai in Post 20791 listed some circumstances in which Aeryn might say "I love you." to John. 26 posters, not counting you-know-who, replied. Altana did not leave her e-mail available in the post, so I couldn't ask permission for this. UCSBdad has always been better at asking for forgiveness rather than permission, anyway. So the following brief vignettes of 'shippyness are really a joint venture with Dad and 27 others. If anyone is seriously unhappy with this, I should point out that this is really my evil twin Skippy, who often impersonates me. Some of these are a little different from what was in the post, and one scenario was done twice.

Time: Shortly after The Way We Weren't, I would think. Obviously, these scenarios are alternatives to each other.
Rating: Pretty clean, actually, except for one little part.
Archiving: I hope that all of the people involved in post 20791 will take this little literary exercise in the manner in which it is meant and press it to their hearts. They aren't going to make any money out of it, either.

"John Crichton. Human"

I had cut the words into the stone, copying John's name from a tag on his old orange flight suit. I hoped I had spelled the word "human" correctly in John's own language. Under that I had written in Sebacean script, "John Crichton, Planet Earth, Beloved of Aeryn Sun, Sebacean."

D'Argo had helped my move the stone to as near as we dared go to the place where he died. Zhaan had said the Service for the Departed and D'Argo had given John a Warrior's Farewell. Rygel, Chiana and Pilot had all said something. At last it was my turn.

"I'm sorry. I'd like to say good bye to John alone, if I may." All but D'Argo left.

D'Argo strode over to me. "You aren't thinking of following him, are you?"

I turned and stared into the corridor where John had died. Died from a booby trap in a long abandoned building on a long abandoned planet in the Uncharted Territories. John had walked down the corridor and in a microt he had been reduced to atoms. We had spent a day trying to convince ourselves this hadn't happened and another day preparing a suitable memorial.

I turned back to D'Argo. "Suicide? No. I will be leaving Moya, but only because I have work to do."

D'Argo put his arm on my shoulder. "What work do you have that you can't do on Moya?"

"John died here because he was chased here by the Peacekeepers. My people. The people I served for almost my entire life. He was chased first by Crais and then by Scorpius. I intend to kill Crais, and then Scorpius and then keep killing Peacekeepers until I either run out of them, or they kill me."

D'Argo put his hands on either side of my head and forced me to look him in the eye. "John would not want that. You know that, don't you?"

I removed D'Argo's hands and stepped back from him. "John had to endure many things he didn't want or deserve. He didn't want to come to a different part of the Universe. He didn't want or deserve to be hunted, beaten, and tortured by the Peacekeepers. He didn't want to love a woman who was so frightened of emotion that she couldn't say "I love you, John Crichton." He deserved a much better woman than I was able to be to him. John didn't get what he wanted in life from me, I suppose it's fitting he not get what he would have wanted after his death. If you will excuse me, Ka D'Argo, I have something I need to do."

When D'Argo left, I knelt by the stone. "John, if humans are right and there is a bright light and you meet all of your friends, and everyone who has gone before, I'm going to need your help. Perhaps it's only for humans and they won't want to let a Sebacean in. Or I might have trouble finding you. You know how you get lost and into trouble and how I worry. Please wait for me, John. I love you so much."

I stood and turned to leave when I heard a whine and a dead man call my name.

"Aeryn. Hey, Aeryn. God, am I ever glad you guys haven't left yet. I was afraid you'd think something had happened to me."

I whirled and grabbed John and started pulling him out of the building.

"Wait a minute Aeryn, this is so cool. It's like Star Trek, you know, a transporter. I've been all over the planet, trying to find my way back here. Let me show you."

I had never been so glad to hear unintelligible human babble in my life. We were out of the building now. "No! John, I'm not letting you near that thing ever again." Our legs got tangled up and I landed on John. Before he could catch his breath, I kissed him until he stopped trying to talk. "I love you, John. I know I haven't acted that way, but I will. I will let you know I love you every microt for the rest of my life."

Then I heard D'Argo's voice on my communicator. "Aeryn, are you ready? We do need to leave."

John spoke into my communicator. "Good to hear you again, Big Guy. I was a little worried there."

There was a microt of silence and then everyone started talking at once, but I could clearly hear D'Argo over the others. "John! You're alive? You're alive."

John looked at me oddly and then replied to D'Argo. "Of course, I'm alive, folks. We'll be a few microts. I have a few things to talk about with the woman I love."

How could he? How could he? He was right where I thought he would be, wasting his time on that bucket of dren.

"Crichton! What the frell did you think you were doing with my communications sequencer?"

John pulled his head out of the innards of that ridiculous craft of his. "I recalibrated it, like you asked, Aeryn."

I held the sequencer out in front of his nose. "I asked you to recalibrate it. Not decalibrate it. I have never in my life seen anyone make such a mess of a simple job."

"Aeryn, I'm sorry. I made a mistake, all right. I'm only human."

That set me off. "Only human? Well, that is something to be proud of. It would take six highly trained Peacekeeper techs at least a weeken to frell up a sequencer this badly if they tried to do it. A human managed it in only a few arns without even trying."

"Aeryn, it's been a bad couple of weekens for everybody. Give it a rest, okay."

A rest. Wasn't that just perfect. "I'd love to give this a rest, Crichton. Unfortunately I'm going to have to most of my next couple of rest shifts working because of you, instead of resting. In case you've forgotten, the only offensive or defensive weapons we have are on my Prowler. It will be just a little inconvenient if a Command Carrier is sneaking up on us and nobody can tell me because some human frelled up my communications."

John was getting angry, but I didn't care. "Aeryn, believe me, I'm well aware that the only thing between us and sudden Peacekeeper death is the Peacekeeper Rifle Association's pin up girl. The legend in her own mind tells us repeatedly how much we need her and her Wonder Horse, Prowler."

As usual, I wasn't sure what he had said, but the tone was unmistakable. "I'm glad that you are so, so grateful for the time and effort I put in to keep you and everyone on Moya safe. I have actually been trained for what I do, Crichton. I don't make it up as I go along."

"Fine, Aeryn. Then you'll be happy to do what you were trained for and let me do what I was trained for, which is keeping my equipment in working order."

"Oh, and since when has Farscape 1 worked? Unlike my Prowler, which actually serves a purpose on Moya, your module does nothing but take up time and resources better used elsewhere and give you something to do within your limitations."

"Since you have no limitations, Aeryn, how can fixing a little communications glitch be a problem. Just tell the sequencer what a superior being you are and it'll fix itself for you."

"That is so human. Not only do you not have a problem with the sequencer you frelled up, now I don't have a problem either. You've taught me how to solve a problem the human way. Talk it to death."

Something inside me told me that I'd said too much, but I didn't listen.

"Aeryn, if living with, working with, and having your life saved by a deficient, genetically inferior test monkey, is such a hassle, don't bother, okay? Us monkeys will survive without you." With that John turned and started stomping away from me.

"So now you think I'm in love with a monkey, do you." I suddenly realized what I had said and froze.

I kept my eyes fixed on my boots as John walked over to me and stood in front of me. I wanted to look up, but somehow I couldn't.

John reached down and took the sequencer from my hand. "I wouldn't be much of a human if I didn't help the woman I love solve a problem I created, would I?"

I still couldn't look at John, but I finally found my voice again. "I wouldn't be much of a Sebacean if I didn't get upset about not being able to protect the man I love, would I?"

John put his arm around me as we headed for my Prowler.

"Aeryn, is John with you?"

I lifted my communicator up. "No, D'Argo. Isn't he with Chiana?"

"No. Chiana is here with me. John somehow wandered away from her."

"Wonderful. Why would we have ever thought that we could trust Chiana with anything?"

D'Argo started to answer, but he was cut off. "Oh, and Aeryn Sun never lost John, say to Maldis. Or to Scorpius? Listen, John is a big boy and I can't force..."

Chiana's complaining was cut off by D'Argo. "Enough. Aeryn, you search the northern side of the spaceport, we'll take the south side. You contact Moya and see if they've heard from him."

Zhaan had heard nothing from John, but Pilot thought Moya's sensors had picked up some biomechanoid energy that could only have been the Farscape module about an arn before.

Sanserriffe was much larger than most of the commerce planet cities we visited. It sprawled for dozens of square metras along a river. We could spend weekens looking for John if he was in trouble.

Suddenly I saw something out of the ordinary. A statue of a Sebacean male. He was running forward, but his body was turned to his right and his right arm was held out, palm upward, as if he were warding off an enemy. He was wearing an odd looking helmet and carrying some sort of object with pointed ends against his body. Few, if any, Sebaceans had been here before us. I talked to the nearest shopkeeper who did inform me that another Peacekeeper had inspected the statue several arns earlier. That had to be John.

At the back of the statue was a Peacekeeper message beacon. When I turned it on, Scorpius's face appeared in front of me.

"Greetings, John Crichton. I thought this object from your memories would attract you. I have spent monens going over your records from the Aurora chair, trying to glean as much information about wormholes as I could. I ignored your other memories, until I decided they might be useful to me. What a surprise! Our spy wasn't a spy after all. You came to the Gammack Base because of former Officer Aeryn Sun. And even more of a surprise, you came because you love her."

My holographic picture appeared beside Scorpius and a strange, cold feeling settled in the pit of my stomach. Scorpius continued.

"Really, Crichton. Falling in love with a Peacekeeper? You must realize by now that Aeryn Sun may treat you as a valued comrade, she might even recreate with you if she's desperate, but she is incapable of loving you. You know, Crichton, the best thing you could do for the woman you love, as well as your other friends, would be to leave them. I have no interest in them, but if they are present when I capture you, as I will, they will die. Aeryn Sun will die Crichton, solely because of you."

The images disappeared. One small part of me was elated that John did love me. The rest of me was terrified at what John might do. I knew only too well that he was capable of doing something nearly suicidal if he thought it was for my benefit.

I tapped my communicator. "D'Argo. I found a communication beacon with a message from Scorpius to John. Scorpius is trying to convince John that if he leaves us, we'll be safe since Scorpius isn't interested in us. If you do find John, get him back to Moya even if you have to knock him out." D'Argo acknowledged me and I contacted Pilot.

"Pilot. Have you been able to contact John yet?"

"No Officer Sun. Nor can I locate his module on the planet. There is a great deal more electromagnetic interference than is usual in the Uncharted Territories."

I told Pilot what I had found out and ordered him to catch the module in the docking web if John left the planet and not to let John get away no matter what he said.

The next arn was a nightmare. As I searched for John, I ran every insult, every blow, every snotty remark, every time I ignored John over in my mind. By the end of the arn I had convinced myself that John must believe that I hated him.

I leaned against a food seller's stall and tried to guess where a human might go to escape a failed love. Suddenly, a voice called to me.

"Ize krim, Peacekeeper?"

I turned to what appeared to be a young girl, selling some sort of food.

"That's what the other Peacekeeper called it, although we call it frozen khilfa."

"The other Peacekeeper. Did he tell you where he was going?"

She smiled. "I'm afraid I can't waste my fathers time with gossip. But if you'd care to buy....?"

I snarled and threw some money on the counter. Her smile grew huge. "He asked for directions to the Hortalez and Sons Shipyard. You can see it from here. The two large cranes and...." But I was gone.

I walked into the shipyard and immediately saw the Farscape module. Then John walked out of an office and headed to the module.

"John, where have you been? We've been trying to contact you."

"Sorry, Aeryn. I didn't hear a thing on my communicator. I heard Hortalez had a miniaturized biomechanoid navigation system, but miniaturized in biomechanoid terms means twice as big as Farscape. I hope..."

I didn't let him continue. I started dragging him towards Farscape "Into the module and back to Moya, now, John."

I contacted D'Argo. "I have John. We're heading back to Moya now. Have Chiana fly the transport pod back and you fly my Prowler."

Two hundred microts later were above the planet and heading for Moya.

"I found Scorpius's message beacon. It wouldn't have worked, John. If you had left, I would have spent the rest of my life trying to find you again. You know I'm not incapable of love, and I'm not incapable of loving you. I do love you, John. I know I don't handle love well, but you'll just have to stay around to help me."

John turned around and took my hand in his. "Aeryn, I wouldn't listen to Scorpy if he said it was smoggy in LA. I will never, never willingly leave you Aeryn. If we ever do get separated, I'll be doing everything I can to get back to you, because I love you, too."

I leaned forward and managed to kiss John's neck. "Is there some sort of human ritual for times like these?" It turned out there was.

How had this happened?

I stroked John's shoulder while he kissed down my neck to my shoulders, on the way to my breasts. Of course, I knew exactly how this had happened.

The rain had started about two arns after we had landed on the planet. At first the rain was fun, as it had been on the false Earth. Then it began falling more heavily and the winds began to howl. Thunder and lightening started and I was more than happy to take John's suggestion that we head back to the spaceport.

Spaceport operations said they couldn't possibly give us clearance to take off in this weather. One part of me wanted to ignore that and leave, but John convinced me to stay.

They directed us to an inn on the edge of the spaceport. We ate a dinner of unfamiliar foods that was better than anything we'd had in monens, and had a bit too much wine. Finally, we headed upstairs to our room, which turned out to be dominated by a gigantic bed.

John was a gentleman. "I'll sleep on the floor tonight, Aeryn."

I objected. "Don't be absurd, John. The bed is big enough for a dozen Luxans. We can both sleep in it without bothering each other."

We took off our boots and got in on opposite sides of the bed. In a few microts, we somehow found ourselves in the middle of the bed together. John slid his arm under my neck and I kissed him. We kissed for a few dozen microts, but John made no move to go further. Well, you can't keep a man at a distance, a vast distance, and not expect him to think that's exactly how you want him.

I broke the kiss and sat up. John looked slightly disappointed and started to move away. I took off my vest and my bra and laid back down. I put my arms around John and started kissing him again. Much better. In only a few microts we were exploring each other's bodies while trying to undress each other. Finally, I was able to recreate with John again.

No. No. No. I was not recreating with John. Recreating was what Peacekeepers did with each other. It was what people who were incapable of caring did. John and I were making love. As much as I disliked the human tendency to talk, I did find they had a way with words. Making love. Creating love, where there had been none before.

Finally, we lay exhausted in each other's arms. I tried to think of something to say, but everything I could think of would sound like a Peacekeeper thanking her partner for a competent performance. I knew nothing else to say. No, that was wrong. I did know what to say. John had created love in me and for me that had not existed before.

After a while, John began again. Much more slowly and more deliberately, this time.

I asked myself how this had happened, but I knew. I wanted so badly to tell John how I felt. I knew that he loved me. Why can't I tell him? Is the concept of love that frightening to me? "I know I love him."

John stopped and I froze. I had said that out loud. I looked into John's face. Hezmana! He was laughing. I had just told John I loved him and he was laughing.

Before I could say or do anything, John kissed me briefly on the lips. "I always thought I'd be the first to say I love you, Aeryn. That's part of why I love you so much, Aeryn. You always manage to surprise me."

I kissed John back. "I suppose one of the reasons I love you is that you are so easy to surprise."

Suddenly, John grew serious. "Aeryn, there is something I have to tell you. I should have said something before now, but I really have to tell you now."

Frell! There must be some sort of human cultural thing. He probably couldn't go any further in the relationship without permission of his tribal elders or something. Dren! Suppose it was physical. Maybe he wouldn't be able to do anything for another cycle. I knew so little about humans.

"Aeryn, I have to tell you that you have absolutely the most beautiful butt in the entire Universe."

I leaned my head on his shoulder and tried to stop laughing. Finally, "Are you sure it's not flat and skanky, John?"

"No, Aeryn. It's absolutely the unflattest, unskankiest butt in the Universe. And it's attached to the most beautiful, bravest, smartest, most fascinating, most desirable woman in the Universe."

I rolled John onto his back and crawled on top of him. "That sort of thing may work on Earth, John. But I'm a Sebacean and I believe in actions, not words."

This was going to be fun.

It seemed fitting that we were going to die in such an ugly place.

The planet had been mauled by giant machines for hundreds of cycles. Everything of any value had long been ripped out of the planet and sent elsewhere. All that was left were bare rocks and the cold.

We had been exploring a tunnel where our instruments said we might find some functional machinery when the Command Carrier arrived. D'Argo had kept from leaving with the transport pod until the last possible microt. Possibly until after the last possible microt. We were still a metra beneath the surface when he had to leave. Even then they had waited to starburst, hoping for a miracle. There was no miracle. We watched the flash of a Leviathan's starburst followed by the Command Carrier exceeding the speed of light. The Carrier was so close they must have been able to get an almost perfect fix on Moya's vector. Even if our friends escaped the first time, they would be running from the Command Carrier for Hezmana knew how long.

We had been here for two planetary rotations. Our food and water was almost gone. I had climbed the nearest mountain to see if I could see anything that might save us. I hadn't.

John was standing at he entrance of a huge tunnel when I got back. "Any luck, Aeryn?"

I put my arms around John's neck and kissed him. I ended the kiss and smiled at John. "I love you, John. I don't think I could have found a worse time to tell you, but I do love you."

John grinned at me. "I love you too, Aeryn. I guess hearing you say you love me now is better than never hearing it at all. I probably should have told you I loved you way before this. I found out I loved you when I went to the false Earth. I remember seeing the sun and the sand and the ocean and saying, "I wish Aeryn could see this. She'd love it." Every time I'd see the sunset or taste chocolate, I'd say, "I wish Aeryn was here with me." As bad as it was when you did arrive, I was happy in a way that we'd be together. And I did learn that I'll never, ever choose Earth over you again."

I smiled back at John and gave him a quick kiss. "You didn't realize you loved me until we met the Ancients? I knew I loved you when we were on the Zelbinion. When I found you and Gilina kissing."

I realized that talking about Gilina still upset John, so I stopped. I leaned against him and held on to him as tightly as I could. I had another reason to hate dying. I could have spent cycles teasing John about how the cold, unemotional ex-Peacekeeper had discovered she was in love before he ever did.

"John, it's a little warmer back in the tunnel and there is something we do have to do more than once."

"Right you are, Sunshine. And we do have a good four arns."

I stopped. "Four arns?"

"While you were gone I saw the flash of a starburst. I'd guess we have about four arns until our friends show up."

"Crichton! I'll...I'll...I'll..."

And I did. Until D'Argo interrupted us again.

"I love you, John Crichton." I didn't just want to tell John that, I wanted to show him. Somehow I couldn't get my fingers to unbuckle the safety harness. Finally, I undid it, but somehow I ran into the bulkhead of the transport pod and fell. I started laughing. The big, bad Peacekeeper walking into things.

John left the command chair and lifted me back into my seat. "I do love you soooo much, John. Let me show you how much."

John buckled me back in. "I love you, too, Sunshine." Then he turned away from me. "Pilot, can you use the docking web to bring us in?"

"Yes, Commander Crichton. What is the problem? Moya's sensors do not detect any malfunctions with the transport pod."

"Pilot, just bring us in and have Zhaan standing by. I'll explain later."

I had gotten out of the chair again and had managed to get one arm around John's neck. For some reason, I couldn't get the other one around his neck. It just flopped around, seemingly of it's own accord. It was so funny.

"John, I love you so much and I so badly want to frell with you. Can we do it right here." The expression on John's face was so funny, I started laughing again and almost fell over. I felt a bump that meant pilot had guided us into Moya's landing bay and John headed me towards the pod's door.

"Zhaan, it's Aeryn. She ate something down on the planet and the next thing I knew, she's loaded, stoned, I mean inebriated, not in control of herself."

I stared at Zhaan and the rest of them standing behind her, looking so serious. "Zhaan, I love John Crichton. And do you know why? Not because he's the best frell in the entire Universe, although he is. Hezmana is he fantastic. You can't imagine how many times I've run that one time over and over in my mind. One time! How stupid could I possibly be? Only one time." Suddenly I was overwhelmed by how much I'd missed by not being able to admit that I love John. I started to cry. I could feel the tears running down my cheeks.

Suddenly, I saw Chiana grinning at me. "You don't know what it's like to frell John do you, little girl? You'd better not. If I frelled you'd thought...If you frelled I'd thought...." It was so funny I started laughing again.

I saw Zhaan preparing an injection for me. Oh, no you don't. As she turned to inject me, I hit her hand and as the injector hit the floor, I stepped on it.

"John, please take Aeryn to my lab. I'll need some help with her, I think."

As John helped me along, I turned to D'Argo. "You didn't keep Lo'laan waiting for a whole cycle to tell her you loved her, did you D'Argo? Of course not." The thought of how long I'd kept John waiting made me start crying again.

John laid me down on a bed in Zhaan's lab. He and D'Argo made sure I stayed there. Their expressions were so serious. "John, I love you because I do really want to be more. And I know I can't be more unless you show me the way. I just know I can't do it without you."

I felt something at my throat and my eyes started to close.

"John, she's coming to. She's stronger than I imagined. It's only been five arns. The parasites are out of her bloodstream, but she's very weak. She still needs to rest."

Hezmana! I told John I loved him. I told the whole crew I loved him. What would they think? What would he think?

I got my answer when John kissed my forehead and whispered in my ear. "Hi, Sunshine. You had me scared there for a while. I love you, Aeryn."

I managed to turn my head and whisper to John. "I'm so sorry I couldn't tell you I love you without, without..."

"It's okay. Everything is going to be fine, Aeryn."

"John. Aeryn needs to rest. She'll be fine here. You can see her later."

John started to get up to leave, but I reached out and grabbed his arm. I couldn't have held him, I was so weak, but he did stop.

"John, please take me to my quarters. I can rest there."


"I suppose she might rest better in familiar surroundings, John."

John picked me up and started carrying me to my quarters. As soon as we are away from Zhaan and the others, I whispered to John, "Your quarters are closer, John. We could go there."

In a few microts John was tucking me into his bed. "John, please stay with me. I do love you and we need to talk when I wake up."

John took off his boots and crawled in beside me. "Don't worry, Aeryn. I'll always be here for you."

"I love you, Aeryn."

What had he said? We were sitting in Pilot's chamber again. John had his back to Pilot's console and I was leaning back into his chest. He had been playing with my hair. We hadn't said anything for almost an arn.

Of course! He said he loved me. I knew that, even though he'd never said so before. He knew I loved him, even if I had never said so. He must know I loved him. I mean, I didn't say anything, but the way I acted should tell him. Shouldn't it?

I suddenly realized how much time had passed since he said it. "I love you too, John. Of course, I love you."

I could feel John relax. "Glad to hear it, Sunshine. You had me worried there for a second. I wanted to tell you when the time was right. When we weren't being chased by Peacekeepers, or pirates, or bounty hunters. Or being stuck in alternate dimensions, or being someone's science project. But there never seems to be a right time in the Uncharted Territories. So, I decided I'd just tell you."

"I'm sorry, John. I should have told you sooner. But, it's not just all the things in the Uncharted Territories, it's all the things I have to deal with that I'm totally unprepared for." I squirmed around so I was facing John and kissed him. The kiss went on and on, but finally it ended.

"What things, Aeryn? Tell me, Aeryn. I want to help you."

"John. Your father. Well, would he....I mean, if we went to Earth.....Oh, frell. This is harder than I thought."

"Aeryn, I love you. I'm never going to leave you, not for Earth or anything else. Since I'm going to be with you forever, you may as well talk about it now."

I took a deep breath. "If we do return to Earth, would your father accept me? He's human and I'm not and I know Sebaceans wouldn't ever....."

John started laughing. "Would my father, who went to Earth's moon and eats, breathes and lives space exploration accept a woman who travels between the stars? I'll be lucky to get you away from him."

I breathed a sigh of relief. But I wasn't done, not by a long shot. "There's something else, John. How are our friends on Moya going to feel about this? The Peacekeepers forbid any emotional attachments so that the greater good is served. I know our friends aren't Peacekeepers, but it could be a problem. I know I could never put the good of our group ahead of you."

Before John could answer, Pilot interrupted us. "Excuse me, but I couldn't help but overhear you."

I answered. "I'm sorry, Pilot. We didn't mean to treat you like you weren't there. How do you feel about John and I?"

"That's not exactly what I wanted to talk about, actually." Pilot stopped as if he didn't quite know how to continue.

John took over. "Pilot, please tell us what the problem is."

"Well, Commander Crichton, and Officer Sun, I was just about to make a shipwide announcement when Commander Crichton spoke. I had just turned on the internal communications."

We stood and walked to Pilot. I leaned across Pilot's console. "You had the internal communications on? When did you turn them off?"

Pilot waited so long to answer, I was sure I knew the answer. "They are still on, Officer Sun."

I stood there trying to think of what to do next. John spoke first. "Pilot, can you switch over from transmit to receive now?"

Pilot hit the receive knob. I could hear Hynerian laughter, Zhaan chanting the Prayer of Thanks, whoops of joy from a certain Nebari. Over all I could hear D'Argo roaring, "Chiana. Break out the best food and drink. All that we have. We'll meet in the Center Chamber. Tonight we feast!"

John put his arms around me and kissed me on the cheek. "I think we have our answer. Let's go, Sunshine. We have a party to go to. Together.


I awoke looking at John sleeping beside me.

"I love you, John."

I saw John smile and knew he wasn't asleep. "You're awake, aren't you, John?"

"Not me, Sweetheart. I'm sound asleep. But I do love you, too."

I decided a little teasing was in order. "If you're asleep, you're probably dreaming about some other woman and telling her that you love her."

"No. The only woman I ever say that I love is Aeryn Sun."

John started to slide his hands under my tee shirt. "No, John. Not now. We have a busy day ahead of us. We don't have the time."

"Sorry. Can't hear you. I'm asleep."

John started to pull my tee over my head. I shouldn't have, but I raised my arms so he could pull it off and held John as tightly as I could.

"John, we have to get up now. We're on a tight schedule. We only have a few hours."

John's hands were at the waistband of my Calvins. "John. No. We'll be late." Then I lifted my hips up and then my legs to he could get my Calvins off.

John was trying to pull down his own Calvins. I absolutely refused to help him. That resolve lasted for almost a whole second and then I was pulling them down his legs.

John rolled over on top of me and started to kiss me. I managed to push him away for a second.

"John. We have to go to your father's today. We don't have the time."

John finally had his eyes open. "I think my Dad suspects I'm madly in love with you. The wedding was a dead giveaway. And he wants grandchildren."

I had to giggle. "Does he expect me to bring them today?"

We were hours late, but Jack didn't seem to mind.

", every quarter of a cycle we should inspect and repair as needed all of our small arms, John."

"Glad to help you, Aeryn." John was busily reassembling a pulse pistol.

"John, can you pass me that chakon oil cartridge?"

"Sure. Here you go, Aeryn."

"Thank you, John. Oh, and I love you, John."

There was a moment of silence, followed by, "You what?"

"I love you, John. I thought I made that clear with what I just said. I've given this a lot of careful thought and my attempts to pretend I don't love you are foolish, because I do love you." He did appear to be a little confused.

"No, Aeryn. It's perfectly clear. I was just surprised, that's all."

"I do hope you love me as well, John."

"Love you? Aeryn, I'm crazy about you. I mean, yes, I love you. I love you, Aeryn."

"Good. I thought we should start living together. I found a larger set of quarters on Tier Three. It's convenient to Command and the Center Chamber, and not too far from my Prowler and Farscape. I had Pilot have some DRDs move some furniture in, including a large bed. I hope you intend to start sleeping with me?"

"Bed? Sleeping? Absolutely, Aeryn. Absolutely."

"And I thought we should have some sort of ceremony to formalize our relationship. There are no Peacekeeper guidelines to follow and I'm not sure about human customs, but I thought Zhaan could help us with some information about marriages in the Seek."

"Marriage? I accept. I mean, will you marry me, Aeryn?"

John did seem confused. "Of course I will, John. I'm the one who suggested it, remember?"

John still seemed confused. He came over to me and knelt down. "You love me and want to marry me, Aeryn. Marry, as in forever and ever, Amen?"

"Yes John. That is what I've been saying."

John leaned over and kissed me briefly and then stood up. "WHOOOOOO HOOOOO HOOOOOO!!" He then did a series of handsprings until he reached the end of the Terrace. Then he did a series of flips until he was kneeling in front of me again.

I finished assembling the last pulse carbine and snapped a chakon oil cartridge into it. "Well, we're done here. Pilot can have the DRDs take these back to the arms room."

I stood up and held out my hand and pulled John to his feet. "Aeryn, you seem to be, well, a bit calm and dispassionate about this whole thing. Are you sure this is what you want?"

I put my arms around John and gave him the very best kiss that I could. When I was done I winked at him. "You want excitement, passion, yelling and even acrobatics? Why don't you join me in our new quarters?"

I ran the comb through my hair one more time. I wasn't sure I had the dress on right. I had only worn it once on the false Earth and John had helped me put it on. But, it looked right. I smoothed the dress and took one last look in the little mirror I had.

I checked the food heating by the table I'd had the DRDs bring into my quarters. Roast sasslan. John said it tasted like crab in a garlic sauce. I had no idea what that meant, but I knew John liked it. Mashed carbodos. John thought they tasted like Earth topatos. I thought they were bland, but this was for John. Green fervish beans. John didn't compare them to any Earth foods, but he did like them. Lastly, a toasted bliner pie for dessert.

And, of course, the raslak heating by the table. I didn't think I'd ever understand Chiana, even if I ever managed to completely understand John. I had asked to trade her for one of the two bottles of raslak I knew she had. No matter what I offered, she said no. Finally, she had asked me why I wanted a drink of raslak so badly. When I finally broke down and told her, she had given me both bottles and had insisted on ransacking our food supply for "just the right foods."

"Officer Sun. The DRDs advise me that Commander Crichton will arrive at your quarters in about 100 microts"

"Thank you, Pilot. Could you turn the lighting in my quarters down by 30 percent, please?"

I put the candles I had borrowed from Zhaan on the table and lit them. Zhaan hadn't asked why I needed candles, but I somehow thought she knew. They were a very inefficient way of lighting a room, but I could see that the effect did look nice.

I heard John coming. "Knock, knock, Aeryn. I'm here."

I walked to the front of my quarters and asked John to come in.

"Aeryn, you are beautiful. No, I should say you are more beautiful than usual. Why the dress? Not that I'm complaining."

"I just wanted to look nice for our dinner together. Do you like it?"

"Absolutely. You cooked dinner all by yourself?"

"Certainly. Who else would cook for us?"

John smiled. "No one, Aeryn. I just don't think of you as June Cleaver, that's all."

Would I ever learn who these people were? "A Peacekeeper officer has to insure that her troops are fed sufficient, nutritional meals to maintain good health and strength. I usually didn't cook myself, but I had to know what was being done." I realized I sounded like a Peacekeeper training officer and stopped.

John politely helped me to sit down, something I didn't need, but that I found enjoyable. Then we ate. John praised my cooking and I thanked him. I kept track of how much raslak we drank. We both had the same amount, but I knew humans have less of a tolerance for raslak than Sebaceans.

When the meal was over, I turned on the music. Slow, stately, music played, mostly on stringed instruments. "Will you dance with me, John?"

"I didn't know you knew how to dance, Aeryn. It's not what I expect from an ex-Peacekeeper, but I didn't expect a chef, either."

I blushed slightly. "I really don't know how to dance. D'Argo told me some of the things you said to him about dancing on Earth, but he wasn't much help. Luxans dance to celebrate a victory over an enemy, or the acquisition of a new weapon, and Peacekeepers don't dance at all."

John took me in his arms and started explaining dancing. "First, put your right arm around my waist and your left hand in mine, then move your feet like this."

It wasn't long before I tripped and almost sent us sprawling into the table. "Aeryn, why don't you put both of your arms around my neck, and I'll put mine around your waist. Now lean on me, that's right. Much better, isn't it."

We danced slowly for a while and then John whispered in my ear. "Okay, Aeryn. What is this all about?"

"I love you, John." John started to say something, but I covered his lips with my hand to stop him. I was going to say what I had to say.

"I think I have always wanted what my mother had, someone to love and to love me, since I was a little girl. I also wanted to be the best Peacekeeper I could be. For a long time the Peacekeeper part of me ruled my life. Even today, I'm very much what the Peacekeepers made me. But I know that what I need right now is the man that I love and that man is you. I realize how difficult this last cycle has been on you and how many of those difficulties were caused by my attitude, but I believe that you do care for me and that you can love me."

I took my hand from John's lips and waited. "Aeryn, you have no idea how much I love you right now."

The next thing I knew, John was kissing me and kissing me and kissing me.

Finally, we stopped kissing. "One thing, John. I want you to take me to Earth with you to live. If I'm going to have a family, I want a complete one. I want to meet your father and all of your other relatives and D.K. and all of your friends, and even Alex. Okay? The rest of the crew of Moya have no homes, really. Perhaps they can join us. But whatever we do, I want to be with you."

Jon smiled back at me. "You ask for a lot Aeryn. I'm not sure I could find Earth, even if I wasn't being chased by Scorpy. And I'm not sure you'd be safe on Earth. Remember our last experience."

I gave John a hug. "I'm sure the brilliant Earth scientist John Crichton can find Earth if he puts his mind to it. And outthinking a few million Wilsons and Cobbs should be no problem for the two of us. Now, start telling me about Earth. Where will we go? Where will we live?"

John laughed. I loved that sound. "I'll show you Houston and the Cape. And I know some great restaurants in Nawlins. I'll show you my Dad's Gemini capsule in the Air and Space Museum in Washington. If you think Farscape is crude, wait 'til you see what he went into space in. And I want to show you the fall leaves in New England, and take you skiing in the Rockies, and scuba diving in Hawaii, and there's a place on Fisherman's Warf in San Francisco, and I want to show you the moon rising over the Grand Canyon....."

And so I began to learn about my new home, Earth.

Okay, so I didn't do the one where Aeryn admits to loving John only when he really is dead. No true 'shipper would even consider that option. So sue me. Uh, Rockne, that's a figure of speech, Big Guy.

FYI: This is the list of when Aeryn would say she loved John, which was modified by some of the twenty seven replies to the original post.

A) After John said it first. (a la I love you Aeryn, I love you too John)

B)During the throes of passion (should be self explanatory to anyone over 10)

C) Just break with it while cleaning Pulse Rifle on the Terrace one eveing (a la, "Pass me that Chakran Oil will you John... Thanks and By the way I love you)

D) To keep him from giving up/dying (i.e. "suck it up soldier, no man I love could give up/die that easy, keep breathing/going)

E) Another near death experience for both of them (i.e. She and John are about to freeze to death, be tortured to death, be eaten by large alien, crash land or whatever and she turns to him takes his hand looks deep into his eyes and says it)

F)When she thinks he can't hear her (i.e one of them is sleeping or unconcious)

F) After finding out he is NOT dead when she THOUGHT he was (i.e. she is mourning at his grave, he comes walking out from behind a bush to explain what's going on. She climbs him like a tree covers his face with kisses, tells him she loves him over and over... and then floors him with a Pantac jab for scaring her so bad.)

G) Under the influence of one of those flower children's mushrooms from TTs.

H) Only at his funeral will she ever admit it.