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Title: MOTHERLY REACTION

Author: Ennix Sun

Email: EnnixSun@hotmail.com

Rating: PG/PG13 (it's a little dark!)

Summary: Set after 'Dog With Two Bones', Crichton traces Aeryn to a small planet, only to find her more changed than he expected......

Spoiler Warnings: Only the end of D.W.2.B and the startling truth John learns at the end of that ep.

Feedback: YES PLEASE! I'm only 16 and would love to get some tips on how I could improve my little attempt at fic. And of course praise is more than welcome...(hee hee, ;.) wink!)

Copyright: I don't own the characters, Farscape doesn't belong to me (dammit!)...blah,blah........

*

MOTHERLY REACTION

As he entered the room John thought it was empty. He was about to return to the nurse and tell her she'd sent him to the wrong room, when suddenly he noticed the small figure cowering in the far corner.

The slack white shirt and loose jogging pants contrasted intensely with the hard grey walls. Though her face was hidden, buried in her drawn up knees, John knew with a heavy heart that his worst nightmare had been realised, from the soft raven hair which hung loosely over her knees and shoulders.

As the door closed behind him he took in the sparse room. The walls were darkest grey, made of a panelled metal. Something in their molecular structure meant that at the slightest touch however they became a cushioned barrier. In the centre of the room, attached to one wall, was a stark white bed, complete with the customary restraints. A chair sat lonely at the other end of the room. John sighed in wonder. He couldn't believe he was standing in the cell of a mental institution.

Finally, steeling his resolve, Crichton took a step towards the cowering occupant he knew so well. Softly, he whispered her name

"Aeryn?"

The head shot up violently as her body jumped in surprise. Her eyes were wide and panicked, her body tense and alert, like some cornered animal. Her dark hair was mussed and strewn across her face and her lips mumbled constantly, though no sound escaped them. She was frail, weak, a mere shadow of the strong, competent woman he had left behind.

So it was true.

When Crichton had traced Aeryn, far across the Uncharted Territories, to this tiny planet, he'd obviously expected to find her different. After all she was pregnant, and he was sure she'd be surprised and annoyed to see him when he arrived. But he'd had to see her. He couldn't leave things the way they had on Moya. He'd fight for her. Talking to the locals of this commerce world, where he'd found her Prowler, he had learned nothing of her whereabouts for five solar days. Finally one night, he met a local doctor, drinking after a nightshift, in a local bar. John had enquired about her. He asked if he knew of a single, pregnant Sebacean offworlder, with dark hair and a certain 'way with words'. To his delight the doctor knew only one woman who almost fitted the description. However, this woman was residing in the local psychiatric institution. Crichton had steadfastly refused to believe that Aeryn, his Aeryn, would ever be in such circumstances. He'd laughed it off, told the doctor he must know another Sebacean with attitude, and left the bar feeling even lower than usual. Having hope flame for such a brief period made his body crave the success he still couldn't find. After a few more days of fruitless searching of every part in the large city, his desperation finally caused him to follow up the doctor's information. After all, any lead was better than nothing, and at least he could prove to the small knot of worry that had grown in his gut, that Aeryn wasn't in a mental hospital. She couldn't be. Couldn't be.

So they'd brought him here. One tiny room in a five story building, filled with identical containment chambers, each holding the broken and/or insane. And looking into those haunted eyes, staring rabidly at his presence, Crichton knew he'd found his quarry.

"Oh my God Aeryn. What's happened to you?"

He took another step towards her, his feet making no sound on the soft padded floor. Aeryn immediately sprang to her feet, a coiled spring suddenly released, and turned away, pawing at the wall desperately trying to escape through the corner in which she huddled. Small sobs began to break through the unearthly silence as finally, she slid once more, in pitiful defeat, to the ground. John slowly approached her as she huddled against the cold metal wall , shaking her head and mumbling incessantly

"No...no...no..."

He reached her side, fighting back tears. She shielded her face from his approaching form by flinging her arm fiercely over her head. Looking down at her John felt his heart breaking. To see his true love like some frightened animal, caged in her own fear and pain was almost too much to bear. But he couldn't leave her, wouldn't leave her that way. He sank to his knees beside her and in response she gasped in terror and grappled at the floor with her bare feet.

"Aeryn stop, please!" he cried desperately, afraid she'd injure herself if she continued in this way, "I'm...I'm not here to hurt you. It's me! John. Don't you know me? Look at me - John!"

He reached out and tried to turn her shoulder to make her to face him. As soon as his hand brushed her bare skin she started violently and cried out as though his touch harmed her. She shrank further into the wall and with her free hand struck out at him. Crichton jumped back, then reached out and grasped her shaking hand. This only made her struggle further.

"Please..." she sobbed "No! Too hard...hurts. Stop! No!"

She began to rise to her knees, attempting to run to the door and escape her capturer. John stopped her before she could get to her feet. He wrapped one strong arm around her waist, holding her twisting, trembling form firmly and with the other reached into his breast pocket.

"I didn't want to do this Aeryn " he said breathlessly " but I have to talk to you. I won't hurt you. I promise."

With that he raised his arm, holding the glittering Neural Link probe high above his head in a trembling fist, and in one swift movement he pushed down her dead, exposing the back of her bare neck, and thrust the link down into her skull.

Aeryn's head shot back in pain. Her eyes were wide, not with fear but agony. She froze in his arms, her body tensed on her knees like some grotesque statue. Crichton stared for a microt in horror, then withdrew his hand and the neural probe with a sharp tug. A small cry emanated from Aeryn's pale lips. Crichton held her firmly and softly caught her as her body finally relinquished and crumpled weakly into unconsciousness.

John stared down in revulsion at the glittering spike in his hand. He'd bought the device on some seedy commerce plant over a monen ago, as a way of procuring information from 'unwilling' sources. Of course he'd never intended to actually use it. The neural link, which correlated the mind of his victim with his own, was for intimidation purposes only. Now he realised it bore a new purpose.

Settled in his arms, Aeryn looked to John almost as if she were simply sleeping, contented in his embrace, as she had the night on the fake Earth, or the odd occasion on Moya. He brushed a stray hair from her face and was suddenly overwhelmed by the urge to kiss her soft lips. Lips he'd missed for almost a full cycle. Softly, he traced his thumb over their smooth elusive skin but resisted anything further. He had a job to do. Reluctantly he with drew his hand.

As gently as he could he repositioned Aeryn still in his lap as he leaned himself back against the wall behind him. He reached once more into his pocket and retrieved a second probe. He sighed deeply , resolved, and with his free hand grasped Aeryn's lifeless fingers.

"I'm coming baby." he whispered and plunged the metal spike up into his neck. A spasm of pain flitted through his mind before his sense numbed and his head fell limply to rest on Aeryn's own. Darkness.

*

As his senses adjusted to his surroundings, John found himself bombarded with images and, to his surprise, feelings and emotions. Memories of a past not his own collided with recent ideas and situations. A never ending stream of eclectic information chased it's way through John's mind confusing his own thoughts. Lights, colours, feelings and sounds all assaulted him as he desperately attempted to make some sense of the heavy swamp which swam around him. He felt the presence of Aeryn's mind, an extension of his own, could sense her fear and anxiety and a strong desperation to be free. And somewhere in the back, just out of reach, a sharp taste of unbearable loss.

Just as he was trying to decipher the mysterious whirl of colour, light and emotion he sensed a presence behind him, attracting his attention. He knew who it was. He turned to face her.

She stood before him, dressed in the same baggy pants and shirt, the model mental patient. But her eyes were no longer those of a woman gone mad. They were alert and clear, and strangely tired. Steeling his courage he tentatively addressed her,

"Aeryn?"

His voice echoed around him like a hundred bells in a vast cathedral, the sound reverberating through him like a wave of foam. She nodded mutely and, reassured, he took a step towards her.

"What happened to you?" he asked gently.

Before he knew what was happening he watched Aeryn's fist fly towards him and hit him hard in the face.

Pain. It was a sensation which tingled in his skin like a flame both terrible and somewhat desirable. But he had no time to wonder at this enigma before he felt himself thrown to the ground and Aeryn sat straddled his chest, glaring angrily down at him. He could feel her rage burning in his temples, radiating from her like she was a sun, but  in the background he felt a tiny flaw in the solid veneer.

She spoke then, her voice rough and disjointed, coming haltingly, as though she hadn't spoken fluently in a long time and she was only now learning to do so again.

"You...shouldn't be...here! Go away! Leave m-me in peace!"

She struck him hard again across the face then rose from his chest, turning her back to his questioning gaze.

As he rose, Crichton spoke calmly,

"I had to come Aeryn. You know I did."

"We agreed...f-fate." she hissed darkly.

"Yes we did," he nodded " but that's before I learned your little secret."

He came up behind her now and spoke softly into her ear. He could feel her anxiety and fear surrounding them like a cloud. He leaned in close, pausing for a microt to breath in the long lost scent of her dark hair. Finally he whispered

"What about your baby?"

As he spoke the words, John felt a sudden pain spear through them both as Aeryn acknowledged his question. She turned instantly to face him, fury burning in her grey eyes. She gazed angrily at his worried features then without warning her hand reached out and closed around his throat.

"You... never understand!" she spat venomously and compressed her fingers, closing his trachea in an iron grasp. For a microt John stood frozen, shock ringing in his ears. He felt her hand closing on his throat and in an instant reacted. He grabbed at her wrist and quickly twisted out of her grasp. She moved to hit him again, instantly he grabbed her arm and threw her away from him.

"Then make me understand!" he cried angrily. Aeryn didn't move. She remained standing before him, breathing heavily her body shuddering, her hands still gripped in dangerous fists. Then as he watched he saw her fierce stance suddenly melt away. Her shoulders slumped, her hands relaxed and trembled by her sides. Her eyes dimmed with fatigue. It was as if all her strength had suddenly drained from her body. After a moment of staring at this suddenly pitiful woman he spoke gently

"Help me understand."

She stared back at him, as though her mind was processing the statement, then finally she spoke, her voice little more than a murmur

"They m-made it go" she whispered a sudden tear slicing down her cheek "they cut me and...and they made it stop." Tears washed down her cheeks and stained the pale skin. Crichton desperately tried to decipher her cryptic statement when out of nowhere he was hit by a sudden wall of solid emotion. His head span as his body was riddled with an inexpressible feeling of loss. As innumerable emotions chased their way through his mind, Crichton gasped as his senses were thrown into overload and he went through a random series of responses and reaction. Pain, loss, guilt, sadness... He couldn't take it anymore. A howl rumbled deep in his throat and finally rose escaping through his lips in an agonised cry.

His eyes shot open and he saw Aeryn looking back at him, unperturbed by his sudden outburst. She continued,

"They told me...it was wrong. You were bad. Bad. I wouldn't believe, so...they t-taught me a lesson."

Suddenly she grabbed the hem of her white shirt in an iron fist and tore it viciously. What she revealed was a large curved scar, still quite raw, arching the width of her belly. She ran a cautious finger over the seared flesh and Crichton felt the pain and longing pulsing violently in his blood.

Aeryn met his gaze, her eyes shining with the tears which dampened her cheeks.

"He's gone." she whispered finally, "All gone. You. Both You's. Moya. D'argo. Chiana..." she indicated towards her stomach and the ghost of her terminated child.

"Gone," she stated finally "Lost. No-one to help. No-one. Lost."

Crichton tasted the tears on his lips. His tears. And hers, mingled together as one shared feeling of despair and sadness. His heart moaned in agony. Someone, some bastard, had forced the death of Aeryn's unborn child. And she had been left with nothing. Nothing except the agony of losing her baby, and a sense of aloneness to eat her away day after day.

And he'd taken so long to find her! So long that finally she'd become 'lost', as she so eloquently put it. What could he do? He looked back at her weary face and gradually he knew. He reached out his hand towards her.

"I'm here now." he finally managed to whisper, "I've found you."

His fingertips brushed the bare skin of her arm. She flinched at his touch but didn't withdraw. Instantly Crichton sensed the flooding of a thousand memories sweeping through her mind and imprinting on her soul. He suddenly felt light headed as her memories flowed into him and he remembered everything, good times and bad. All the times they'd spent together, the feelings, the longings. His eyes had closed and he opening them he heard Aeryn gasp as her eyes fluttered closed too.

Finally she opened them and looked deeply into his face.

She knew. She knew that John loved her and that finally someone had arrived who would release her from the prison of her own mind. The pain of the last cycle still lay bare upon her heart, but John's familiar presence acted like a salve to soothe away some of the pain. What she was, what she had become, a gibbering wreck of a woman who had once been so resilient, was merely the result of a life so torturous her mind had simply refused to tolerate it any further. So she had receded. Hiding away behind muteness and violent erratic behaviour. But she was tired of hiding. She wanted to live, if only to wreck revenge upon the Peacekeeper Retrieval Squad who had murdered her child. She knew John would help her do this, and much, much more. All she needed was someone there, someone who believed she wasn't a traitor or crazy, just hurt. Brutally hurt. He would do that. She needed him.

With all her strength Aeryn steeled herself and reached out her hand. She watched it tremble before her and finally come to rest in the palm of John's own.

"Take me...back." she whispered softly.

John clutched her hand tightly. He had her! He could fetch her back! He cupped her frail hand in both his strong ones and then cautiously ran one hand up her delicate arm to rest carefully at the back of her neck. She leaned into his touch and he felt a warm flutter in his chest. She wanted to go home. Tentatively she stepped closer so she was looking up at him. He smiled down reassuringly

" Baby," he whispered " We're already there."

He watched as her eyes closed and her pale tips curved into a tiny smile. He felt her relief wash over him like water over a parched throat. He leaned down and softly kissed her forehead. She sighed contentedly. John reached down and ripped the link from her neck.

He felt her warm weight press helplessly against him and he supported her steadily before the connection severed absolutely and he too fell back into darkness.

*

Opening his eyes, John immediately realised that Aeryn no longer lay across his lap. Shaking the cobwebs from his mind he opened his eyes quickly in panic, but to his relief saw her immediately, crouched and tensed against the hard white bed which was the only furniture in the sterile cell in the mental clinic. For a few microts he simply stared at her, reliving everything that had just happened during their union. Finally he rose onto his knees. Aeryn recoiled further. He reached out a hand and his heart froze as he feared he had lost her once again to her recesses. Softly he whispered her name

"Aeryn."

She looked into his eyes and behind the panicked, unseeing expression he saw a distant pleading for someone, for him, to help.

Slowly he reached down and picked up her hand from the floor. She did not pull away. He squeezed it gently and his heart leaped as he felt the slightest pressure returned to his skin. He looked down at their joined hands, then quickly back up to meet her now steady gaze.

"C'mon," he smiled finally, "Let's go home."

 

 

Email: EnnixSun@hotmail.com

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