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Love's.Poetry

Author: Larq a'Guairen do Ahvriny and her kith, al'Laine Aranielle id Larq


Title: Love's Poetry or originally known as The Matters of Heart
Summary: A story rendered in narrative prose about a moment in time wherein two souls find each other. This brings insights into John and Aeryn's relationship and sheds light to that alternate truth we all want to believe.
Disclaimer: The characters are owned by Jim Henson, The Hallmark Network, and the Sci-Fi Channel. However, the poems and the Opaldoran text are mine. No infringement is intended.
Rating: G
Category: Romance
Feedback: Send your comments or constructive criticism to larq003@hotmail.com or to allaine003@hotmail.com
Archiving: Put it anywhere…just email me first.
Spoilers: Read...and be enlightened. Research was conducted along the lines of presumption.
Dedication: This was written for ALL the Farscape fans out there, especially to those who await the further development of the J/A relationship. Yet, even as this was written by a fan and written for all the fans, I would also like to dedicate this story to the cast and crew of Farscape for both their heroism and dedication to this majestic project. I hope that the rendition of Moya's crew is by all means correct. Enjoy!

***

Vaidona syd Larquinian
The Larquinian Chant
An excerpt from the original Lilienne Mantra

Translated by the Doubling Kin of primeval House Elidann lach Lilienne:
Larq a'Guairen do Ahvriny, Broken Lineage
al'Laine Aranielle id Larq, Broken Lineage

...Seek the heart
That beats within
Seek the litany
Of courage thin

Deliver then to
Elysian fields
The platter formed
From battered shields

Oh deathly flight
To Arcadia leave
Sentience 'ere
That rhyme doth weave

Leave this body
That cries to yield
To flashing cloak
Of blissful field...

***

The stars glared across the vacuum of space and their light, having crossed the distance with the patience of a god, moved their eternal hands upon the mantle of gloom. They sailed along the emptiness, riding the winds of a planet's orbit, playing with it and oft ignoring the silent whispers of life by merely touching their skies in blessing.

Then they eluded those exuberant orbs with their chariots of time and whipped their equine creatures onward.

Their silent feet but brilliant visage alighted upon the decks of a vessel familiar to them and they settled upon its surface wrought from gold. The vessel took them in its bosom but once more they fled as the immensity of it descended unto the abyss where all light had escaped.

Moya touched the waves around her, caressing the silent tide of emptiness and her smooth passage barely made a ripple upon the net time had woven. She simply cascaded off the sides of an eternal cliff where there was no death below, nor life above.

Space.

The dark master whose cloak showered everything with a cold and Cimmerian breath.

Within the confines of this living ark, a man sat against a window, contemplating the vastness of this enemy whose depravity had all but bereft them of everything but each other.

It was into this darkness that he sought the solace he had never had and he watched, with the brilliance of clear sapphire eyes, as the canvass of this limitless void waited for the painter's brush.

He had taken to sitting down at Command, had been satisfied to merely linger at the empty room, had been more than eager to listen to that dreadful silence of loneliness. Though at times, loneliness felt like a quilt that brushed his melancholy in a transient caress. He had never truly realized the necessity of it, had never wanted to, but at times when only the hollow sound of Moya's breathing filled the vacuum around him, he had reached out to the quandary that was his soul.

It was at a dreary time such as this that he remembered the smile of people so dear to him.

"Crichton?"

He closed his eyes momentarily, to envision the silent grimace of a particular Aeryn Sun.

"Yeah?" he asked, his back to her, his strangled self unable to comply with that need to see her face.

"We need you at maintenance bay."

"Right. I'll be there in a microt." A minute passed between them and still Aeryn had not left. Neither had he made a move to do as she wished of him.

"Crichton?" This time, the concern she was trying so hard to conceal peeked from the cracks that composed the wall she had taken to building. In a Herculean effort, she asked that question she had never been willing to ask. "What is bothering you?"

There was a hint of irritation but for once, she had not used the power of her lungs to imprint upon him her demands. She, instead, was using that deep entrancing voice of hers that had reminded John so much of his distant Earth and of the people he had left behind. DK…Dad…

His time spend with Moya did nothing to quench that insatiable desire to ride the chariots back home and the longer he pondered at that emerald gem that was his planet, the more the flame of longing thickened its overbearing smog to wrap him in a mother's embrace.

He was grateful, as he was so accustomed to doing, at the flow of honey that passed her lips.

"Nothing you should worry about, Aeryn. Nothing at all."

And this time, he stood from his place, put a blissful hand upon the window to the stars and regretfully withdrew his somewhat cold and lifeless palm. Slowly, he turned to face the person that had seriously swindled his affection.

It took only seconds for him to subconsciously look at her with the fondness of a friend and less for him to look at her with an uncertain love that had been planted and watered by the ebb of his endless concern.

He had sat with her before, his arms entangled about her strong yet slender frame to lend her strength, and had talked in a voice saturated with fervor. He had whispered into her ears, buried his face into the softness of her hair, called out to her in desperation when her life ricocheted off the edge. Her ears had acknowledged it, as did her eyes, but confusion marked the better half of her and uncertainty was something a Peacekeeper had no tools to handle.

"If I don't see you there in an arn, I swear I'll break your leg," she told him, voicing that hidden threat that he found almost appealing.

She betrayed her anger when she tarried for a moment, reassuring herself that her deranged human could hold his equally deranged mind in place while she was gone. In a sense, John's world would have been thrown into turmoil if she so much as left him to his own devices. That knowledge, though, was yet unrevealed by a mind that was desperately groping for a handhold at the edge of an incessant fall down the edge of a cliff. The time and place was a silent, undying dream of untold tales and untouched dulcimers that told of an alien horizon.

He appreciated the obscure gesture. Though when she left, the very air around him lost its charm and once more, he was a lost wolf that had digressed from the pack.

His eyes strayed at the path she had taken and he was compelled to follow her. But as he had refused to comply with the whims of his heart, he quite deliberately warded off the tormented wail of zeal to be by her side. He was rewarded with an emptiness so vast that his steps took on a haunted quality as he made his way through the galleries towards the maintenance bay.

John was more ambivalent of his surroundings, now that everyone had gone elsewhere and as he walked with the deliberate casualty of a man who lived on this ship, he had equally supposed that it was darker than usual.

Those organic walls that pulsed with life, golden and bronze against the firelight of Moya's illumination, made subsequent arches about the offing and the soft hissing saffron of the DRD's scuttled about the sides of his vision. His steps made echoes about the empty hall and the floor that more often than not, reflected his image, mirrored the space around him that his eyes were tricked into thinking that the corridor was bigger than what is truly was.

As he sauntered on, observing the kindred spirits who lathered Moya with care, the DRD's perched along Moya's walls waggled their antennae in curiosity at his presence. He inadvertently stumbled into one and in a gesture of fondness; he righted the poor thing and sent it on its way.

"Pilot should watch out for those damned things," he muttered as an afterthought.

Then, as he crossed a seemingly seamless wall, it stopped its arching pattern to reveal the chamber of Moya's Pilot. It was rather dark inside and the only light illumined was over the stooping figure of the shell-like alien whose long armed claws flawlessly skimmed the surface of Moya's interface. John risked a searching peek and was suddenly compelled to visit the hermit who had been Moya's keeper.

The Den was where he sought refuge and he entered, sounding the knock that Pilot did not need to hear. Pilot sat, surrounded by Moya's controls, like a king surrounded by goblets of gold. To Pilot, it did seem like a throne. Though the egoism in it was lost to him, the burden of responsibility and esteem was not. He was a humble seaman of the heavens whose oars were Moya's engines and whose seas were the stars that inspired in him fascination. He had, more than once, refused the credit that was due to him. In many ways, the crew had all but deliberated over his lack of insolence.

It had made him a brother who shared what all of them seemed to lack. The smile John gave Pilot quite literally flooded his eyes and the strange exchange between them made Pilot lift his head from his business and give a semblance of greeting with a huge, yet subtle gesture.

"Hey, Pilot. Seems like Moya's feeling a bit depressed. The lights outside are a wee bit too dim. You okay?"

"Do my feelings always reflect on Moya?" Pilot asked with the innocence of someone who had veered from emotions to concentrate on more complex, more meticulous things.

"Let me try to explain, big guy. A painting always reflects the artist's mood. Goopy swirls and all. Does that sum up everything for you?"

Pilot's huge head watched him closely as John crossed the space between them and pulled himself to sit beside Moya's navigator. Pilot politely withdrew his claws to allow the human space.

John, in a display of utter familiarity, idly embraced his knees as he curled himself into a ball beside the immense alien. The leather he wore pleated soundlessly as the position compressed his body into a oneness he preferred when he felt so detached from everything else.

"Yes, Commander. I suppose you are right." There was a long pause. "What is a pain-ting?" Pilot asked, quite embarrassed to do so and very curious to the origin of the term. The translator microbes, more than once, had been stretched to its limits by Crichton's enigmatic way of talking.

Crichton chuckled. "It's one of the many ways of putting your feelings into paper. Makes an artist feel better when he's sad, makes him aware of his happiness when he's high. Frell, whichever way you put it, a painting just frells with everybody else's dren but makes the painter feel better." The sound that sprouted from his throat amounted to more than a mere chuckle and he laughed outright. "Poetry's just not my thing, Shelly boy."

Pilot was silent for a while, contemplating on his friend for a moment with those eyes that had seen the filaments of a universe. John's feelings, though, were the stars when Pilot, at first, had not known the birth of one. John Crichton was that voluminous mystery of another world, that unknown nook whose existence Pilot had only begun to ratify.

"Commander, I believe that Officer Sun has requested your presence at the maintenance bay," he decided to remind the diminutive alien. "She had been demanding your location for the past two arns."

John swiveled towards Pilot and his fetal position unwrapped itself. He quickly slid from his place and glared at Pilot. "Two arns? Pilot! And you didn't even bother to tell me? NOBODY bothered to tell me! What is it with you people? Can't you at least try to divert from the whole 'straight out of Doctor Who' thing? I never came here to play Twenty Questions!"

The meaning of his words was lost on Pilot but by the look Crichton was exuding, he had just as effectively made the message cross. "Commander, you looked as if you needed time on your own."

John was knocked into a shocked silence.

"Well thanks, Pilot," he muttered bluntly when recovery finally wrapped him round its little finger.

He left without another word, though he regretted the time lost with the strange, colossal alien. Spending a few arns with him was rare and he had enjoyed Pilot's silent yet compelling presence. By the time he was out the door, he also regretted his farewell.

Spending a second thought, he stopped and swallowed his ego. "Dammit. I hate apologizing…" He then traced his steps to the entrance of the Den.

"Hey Pilot, thanks for the…concern," he called out.

Pilot had already sunk back into his dais but at the sound of Crichton's voice, he managed a full-fledged smile that poured unto Crichton a feeling of significance.

"You are welcome, Commander." Then that huge yet compassionate creature bade him a muted farewell and once more proceeded to heed the calling of the living Leviathan like a squire on his journey to knighthood.

"Thanks…" And the whisper flew unhindered into the ripple of nothingness.

He heaved a sigh that echoed through the walls and once more, he began the quest for the maintenance bay. Just as he was rounding the corner, he heard the muffled steps of someone running towards his direction.

Once more, an enraged ex-Peacekeeper had all but sacrificed her dignity to call him. She was jogging towards his general direction and he halted from his tracks, ready to take her on if she so much as lifted a finger. Her hair came in disarray as she arrested her steady trot and her dark eyes took him into its unsung spell.

Even as anger flashed against the backdrop of her interminable beauty, Crichton could not find a reason to simply bark at Aeryn Sun that he was already on his way.

"Frell you, Crichton. Can't you ever take things seriously?" she demanded, her head held up in furious display. Her eyes coruscated their fiery void and consternation danced like a flame in the middle of all that darkness with the steps of a nymph.

It was at times like these that Crichton had the pleasure of studying the obvious planes she had sworn to keep behind a locked door. The Peacekeeper in her held in it a certain charm and indeed, as John's eyes took in the waterfall of resplendent black hair that held for him a sealed enchantment, the mighty set of her jaws that only emphasized the strength of her eyes and the immensity of pain suppressed, his soul solicited for her to never withdraw. His eyes though, windows to the soul as they were, were left unaided when she dropped all pretense. That drape of ire blinded her from his warmth and she sprouted words of complete gibberish.

That same gibberish made him cringe.

"I don't like having to keep up with this load of dren!" And she turned her back to him, her figure the embodiment of an obvious strength that threatened to strangle John's admiration.

He followed her this time, allowing a false anger to brew at the surface. Sooner than he thought, though, the anger turned to bitterness.

"Why in frelling world are you so grouchy today? It certainly isn't me. I could see that…" He studied her expression once more. "Or maybe it is." She ignored him and in her confused silence, he was willing to take complete advantage of the break in conversation when…

"You know Crichton, I'm sick of you," she told him icily. Her tone was frozen with the chill of an Arctic breeze and John's sensitive inner skin felt the very revolting quality of it. He persisted, though.

"You know, Aeryn, I'm sick of you too." And they both rolled into maintenance bay with a satisfied look that spoke volumes. "And you know, Sunshine, I think I'd rather eat a loadful of dren than talk to you in this God-forsaken desert." John's eyes did a caper of unrelenting pleasure. He loved the wordplay more than anything else.

"Same here," she retorted.

D'Argo watched the brief exchange. "Stop it, you two."

"Yes!" Rygel commanded. Yet again, flying royalty had all but stripped them of prestige. He hovered with a frown that verged on a sneer. "If you would please stop this infernal bickering and vent your frustrations elsewhere! I cannot stand the whole stage-play of this plutonic mating dance any longer! Retire to your rooms and be done with it. Quickly, if possible." The particular emphasis on that word made Aeryn turn a darker shade of red.

"I am not an animal," John heard himself mutter.

Chiana, from behind the food cube she was eating, snickered loudly and D'Argo tried to muffle an equally obnoxious guffaw of his own. The Nebari had her own mind and even as Aeryn flung at her a disgusted, angry look, she accepted it graciously with the prudence of someone who had once take to the streets and had enjoyed more than just a provoking parry.

Aeryn, who clearly intended to vent her emotions somehow, went straight to the point and grabbed the Dominar with both of her fists. "Why you Hynerian scum!" she shouted, choking Rygel in a death grip that John had been so accustomed to during their spars.

John, his eyes dancing with mirth, put a gentle hand on her shoulder. She afforded a glance at the human and from the look of mutual understanding that passed between them, her expression changed significantly. The human was trying, with as much will as he was accustomed to manifest, to drown the distant grin that threatened to flood his face. Aeryn let go of the Dominar, if not hesitantly, and she gave him a kick for good measure.

She did stalk out of the maintenance bay though, leaving John to deal with the proud Dominar of royal lineage.

"Why do I ever permit her to do such horrid, abominable things to me?"

"I think it's only fitting," John told him just as Chiana and D'argo laughed outright.

The Dominar sniffed and hovered his way out. John, though, his blue eyes flashing against the framework of resin, glanced at the Nebari and Luxan huddled together in quiet communion.

"Alright, people. What in the frelling world is happening here?"

At John's question, the huge Luxan stood from where he had been meticulously organizing the tools that, for some reason, had spilled unnoticed unto the maintenance floor.

The Luxan stood at an impressive height and he towered over most of Moya's crew. He did not surpass Pilot in size though but he did surpass most of them in appearance. He had tentacles about his face that fell like hair down his shoulders but he had a strong tormenting glance that told of a barbaric past. He was a dangerous man and the metal rings that pierced through his chest as well as the tattoo scraped upon the surface of his skin, told of a warrior and an injured soul.

D'argo had always worn a semblance of honor, yet even as it served the purpose of his warlike race, the Luxan held in him a tenderness reserved only for those who knew him. It surfaced amongst Moya's crew and since then, he was a towering armament at times of despair.

"I think we need to talk," D'argo said, his eyes narrowing slightly.

"Yeah," Chiana chimed in. "There's something wrong with someone."

John rolled his eyes and even as he managed a small smile, he could not help but utter a sarcastic, "Care to be more specific Chi?"

Chiana and the huge Luxan gathered their wits and hesitantly closed the space between themselves and the human. D'Argo, whose voice had never been designed for small spaces, tried particularly hard to utter whispered breaths. Chiana had no such problem, and she began to speak in a rather conspiratorial tone.

"It's Aeryn. She's been…moody."

"Moody?" John asked. "Pips, that woman is always moody. I don't see how you can find that strange."

"No, no, no. Not like that, Crichton. She's been…pensive. You know, like Zhaan…but worse." Chiana winced. "Bad analogy…Anyway, she always…I don't know. She seems to be irritable. More than what's healthy for her."

The Luxan finally joined the conversation with his voice that rolled about the plains of distant a thundercloud. "Yes. I have never seen Aeryn this way. It has been continuing for three days."

"Why can't I ever notice anything?" John mumbled. "What do you want me to do? Why me?"

D'Argo was puzzled. "You're the human, remember? You do the talking. You always do the talking."

"I never bargained for this."

The Luxan growled. "We never bargained to begin with, Crichton. Can't you make sense half the time?"

"No," John shot back.

"You've been poring over the stupid window when you're suppose to be eating," D'argo said. "Why wouldn't you notice…"

"Okay, okay. I get the point. So you want an uncontaminated guinea pig like me to get irreversibly contaminated by Aeryn's huge bouts of hellish reasoning. Great. That's just great." Raising his eyes to the heavens, John turned to leave. Though inasmuch as he was desperate to do so, Chiana put a hand on his shoulder and pleaded.

"John, don't do this. I know that you think that this might be some sick joke, but it isn't. Aeryn's mood swings just put us all on edge."

Pips had always been his little sister and he was a restraining order on her rather artless ways. She sported outfits that John could only associate with the youth of his world and her manner told him of someone who had matured more than her body could possibly accommodate.

"Fine. Okay. But if this is some joke I'll fry you over the grill along with your friend."

The expressions on his friends' faces different in content. D'argo's gaze willed him to be serious but as hard as Chiana tried to keep her face straight, a smirk emerged from off her torrid expression and lighted the air around them with merriness.

"Quit frelling with the microbes, Crichton."

"I'm not frelling with microbes, Chi." He let go of an exasperated breath and, as was his habit to do so, reminisced at the instances where everyone seemed to misunderstand every niche of language he uttered.

He had considered it more of a instrument of expression than an obstacle yet everyone, including this Nebari teenager, made no sense of his Earth jargon that had, more than once, sent their heads flailing to find a connection. If Crichton had the opportunity to address the translator microbes in his brain, he could have told them to stop frelling with his mind.

"Care to tell me what's been happening while I, uh, meditated?"

"I can't believe you just made that excuse."

John wanted to pull D'Argo's appendages in exasperation but he knew, that if he ever tried to touch one of his hanging tentacles in agitation, he would have his butt kicked all the way to the next galaxy.

Chiana did not wait for D'Argo's delayed version of the story. She plunged right into the fray and narrated, as was characteristic of her naivete, with the tone of someone who wanted the problem fixed, though not by her self.

"Well, it all started when she found a dent in her Prowler…" Chiana raised a brow at John's direction, giving him more than enough clues to what could have possibly happened. "And I just happened to be there to observe her 'musings'. By the yotz, she thrashed me like a…a…she thrashed me!" If John could believe his eyes, Chiana gave him a imploring mien like a sister who was asking her brother to save her.

How could he possibly deny her that?

And at once, John saw, through the Nebari's eyes, the particular pain inflicted upon her. It was not a physical brawl, nor could it have been. Rather, it was a battle of words and by the tortured glance that Chiana set upon the path Aeryn had taken, the other rival had somehow destroyed the very barriers that made Chiana immune to insult.

To John, this turbulent behavior was enough.

He left the maintenance bay and spoke into empty air. "Pilot, can you find Aeryn for me?"

"Certainly, Commander. You sound...troubled. Is there a problem I should know about?"

"I don't know, Pilot. Aeryn's been a bit of a pain…in the ass."

Pilot's voice had a contemplative quality as he voiced, "She has been doing justice to me by being civil, John. Although I found it quite unfair that Aeryn and Chiana's little bout went…out of hand."

"And nobody tried to contact me." The question in John's voice was obvious but Pilot, consumed by his own concern for Aeryn, barely noticed.

"You cannot solve every problem that occurs within Moya, Commander," he said. There was a pause then Pilot pleaded in that odd, multi-pitched rumble, "Perhaps you can talk to her…?"

"I'm on it, Pilot."

"Thank you."

"All in a day's work," John said.

The click indicated that Pilot had cut off communication and now that silence dominated the hall, he certainly felt more alone than he had been just a few arns ago.

Aeryn Sun was, to him, a friend and yet to the inner John that existed on a plane of mere possibilities, she was more than what could possibly be put to words. There was little in his vocabulary to describe the relationship he shared with that woman and try as he might, she evaded him like the plague.

He was that persevering vaccine to the disease the Peacekeepers had somehow inserted within her. Putrid as it seemed to him, he had to respect the machinations of a Peacekeeper mind and the necessary measures it would take to overcome the very reasoning it itself had created.

To fight the very demons you had no knowledge of, other than they were once the angels of protection, was an obstacle of numerous facets and Aeryn, faced with that fact, was an unstable wormhole at the face of creation. She was a trapped mouse at the mercy of the eagle, an ailing bird whose wings had been torn asunder by a blistering hurricane of reality. Yet despite of her handicap, she had the fangs of a rabid wolf, the defiant screech of a falcon.

John had tried, had reached out with every scrap of humanity he could summon from his 'inferior' body and the resiliency of his mind had been voluntarily molded to Aeryn's needs. He was now impressionable clay beneath Aeryn's inexperienced hands. Though at first it had scared him, sacrificing his very defenses for the sake of one, but the Aeryn Sun whom he doted on unveiled herself as a diamond of abysmal worth to be found only at the weathered peaks of wind-swept ranges. And at once, John gathered himself and started the long, treacherous trek to the pinnacle.

It was all he could to wonder at the effort he exerted to amend what wrongs the Peacekeepers had somehow inscribed in Aeryn's personality.

Deep within, without need of acceptance or gratification, John's compassion had translated his actions to unconstrained feats of ardor. To John, it made perfect sense. To Aeryn, it was unlikely to the point of non-existence for why would anyone, much less a being of inferior qualities, find something in her that was worth cultivating? She thought of herself worth less than what John unwittingly found in her and what John had discovered beneath a mantle of soot was a vast and endless horizon of goodness. He also found that eternal fountain of strength that he himself breathed and relied on.

But in many ways, she was a porcelain figure. A being whose very emotions could crack upon the pressure of a hard, unyielding floor. Though as much as that analogy bothered him, he knew that Aeryn Sun was not something he could merely utilize and discard. He was dedicated to that hidden quest of protecting her with, when called for, his life and more yet, his soul.

He knew the familiar feeling that clenched at his heart yet gave rivers of flowing, pure life to the hearth that was his soul. This river's source was a woman's light whose heart she herself had hidden. How he ached to uncover it with his hands but then, what would she be if he forced himself upon her? No. He was her guardian, her protector, and he would not, could not, blast his way into her defense.

***

Aeryn had deliberated over her Prowler. Her eyes swallowed the ebony surface with the hunger of someone who sought silence and if possible, forgiveness. Though the darkness of its surface brought with it a certain comfort, it was temporary to the extreme, merely providing shelter and nothing more. She would have to gather her very feelings and flee into a darkened night where only one illuminated lamp awaited her amidst the fog. Ghosts would never have terrified her, though the distant ghosts of her past and the very ghosts of her present all but made her fragile to the tides of everybody else's presence. John, though, was a wave of gigantic proportions and he all but swept her away with the silent compassion in those cerulean eyes…the lingering smile as her very presence inspired a level of happiness upon him.

She denied herself the reflection of his joy and instead, looked with blinded eyes into the Crichton she wanted to believe was not there.

"Frell you Crichton," were the words that escaped her mouth, though they were half-hearted in ferocity and merely mirrored her rather despondent state.

How many times had she denied him entry to the gates of hell?

Her heart wrenched at the knowledge that he would walk the distance for her, just to acquire for her the compassion hidden beneath all those wretched years of unsightly and barbarous deeds. In the process, she would find herself, but him…what of him? What of the eyes that flashed their untamed passions at her, those lips that lashed their brilliant song, that smile that made her emulate the happiness that she felt but denied?

Oh, she would have hated herself. But how could she hate someone that Crichton favored with such…ferocity?

His voice was, to her, a lyre set upon the scenery of meadows and mountains that cut off at a certain height and eventually gave way to thunderous waterfalls of unprecedented majesty. His voice was, to her, the rolling grass that set their seeds upon the wind, to be carried upon every landscape yet unseen by their forefathers. It was the sky at its most exultant, when the sun had all but endowed upon it the brilliance of dawn, when the innocence of a newborn was bequeathed upon the day as it began. His voice brought visions of unrelenting fire, of pure and unadulterated snow, of water pushed forth by the life of a planet…and though the images caressed their fingers against her face, she sighed and had drawn away in a flurry of dissent.

Yet poetry had undone itself because the source of such flourish had all but appeared at the doorway.

His face was the personification of disquiet.

"Hey there, Sunshine. Mind if I join you?" He did not seem to pay any attention at the hesitant "yes" that escaped her lips nor did he notice the unshed tears that made her eyes shimmer against the light of Moya's docking bay. She sniffed lightly, willing herself to be strong. Her training was all the saved her from discomfort.

He sat beside her and his presence, as the tide does move with the revolution of a planet's moon, displaced her feelings and gifted her with a speechless tongue.

"What's this I've been hearing about Pips and you? You've been pickin' on little kids. That's not the Aeryn I know…" When John noticed that she was not listening, at least not remotely, he told her, "You know Aeryn, we need to talk."

She smiled. It was the umpteenth time that he had offered his company and lent his ear in that universal gesture of concern.

"You have been monitoring my behavior."

The accusation was bland and she muttered a curse at her apparent stupidity.

"No. I couldn't possibly do that when I'm stuck someplace, thinkin' about a whole lotta dren and doin' practically nothing while you guys deliberated over the food and the next commerce planet. No. I haven't been watchin' over you or anybody and for that I'm sorry."

"You are not my brother, Crichton."

"What I would give not to act like one, Aeryn," he whispered playfully.

She smiled once more and the little token of that little gesture lighted dozens of torches to illuminate the recesses of John's heart. Then, her expression fell and she hid behind a hand that swept the hair from off her face and settled, unhindered, unto her lap. John wanted so bad to embrace her, to lend her strength, because he could see, with the eyes of one who knew little but observed more than what was necessary, that she was dazed at the blow all the sympathy was causing her.

"I…I think I have to apologize to Chiana," Aeryn finally said, after a comfortable silence that acted as a warm quilt to halt the iciness that flowed from the emptiness within.

"Yeah. I think you should."

He put a hand on her shoulder and though the silent interplay of touch and glance worked its penetrating magic, he merely pulled her to him and wrapped those strong yet gracious arms around her like the solace of a tree's shade at the break of day. He gently placed his lips on her forehead, like a zephyr upon the lake, and kissed her tenderly with the touch of one who had swayed the firmament of an earthly heaven. She, in the core of that tender bliss, closed her eyes.

Then, as if the grains of time halted their decent, the moment lasted for eternity and John held her as the cosmos held on to the brilliance that was their stars.

***

'Altan id ferre'
'Songs from the Lea'

...Yet Pity encumbers
Like leads compressed
Upon thy feet
And heavy breast

Unable to execute
Hurried flight
As messenger for
Eternal Light

Oh fleeting prayer
That racks the soul
Augurer of
The severed role

Voices granted
In golden plates
Carved of metal
From blundered fates

And though that prayer
Remains unsaid
Shower thy lips
With words unshed

Bathe unfettered
Upon a shining lake
Whose brilliance comes
From heaven's sake...

***

"Iftali...danae sevronn id frivae alchenti, id vantris soltira lotica loticae."
"Oh love...that falls from the boughs of the heart, from the vaults of the eternal soul."

-derived from an Opaldoran Ballad

-The End-

   

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