Title: Letting Go
Author: Karolyn Gray <kmgray3@aol.com>
SciFi BB/Chat Handle: Gray3
Rating: PG
Description: Post Human Reaction filler.
Spoilers: A Human Reaction
Synopsis: John  must deal with the after effects of the events in A Human Reaction.
Disclaimers: All Farscape names, characters and other related indicia are the property of
Jim Henson Productions, Hallmark Entertainment, Nine Networks Australia, the Scifi
Channel and all associated parties. No copyright infringement is intended.

=========================


"Are you all right?" Zhaan looked over the trio exiting the shuttle pod with obvious worry
and concern. 

"Of course we are. Such splendid people. They gave me Hynerian nodules." Rygel
chimed in happily. His enthusiasm abated somewhat at a look from D'argo. 

Zhaan smiled politely at the Hynerian's good mood before turning a questioning gaze to
the other two. "And you?"

D'argo glanced over to Aeryn, noting  the distracted look upon her face as she waited for
Crichton's shuttle to taxi into the hanger. The same look she had worn since they had
departed the alien's vessel. "We are fine." D'argo replied for both of them.

"And John?" Zhaan asked, clearly most concerned about him. D'argo had called ahead to
inform her of the false wormhole and its purpose. She found the truth to be most
disturbing.

As if to answer her question, Farscape 1 came rolling into the hanger, the inner doors
closing silently behind the small craft. It quickly came to a stop, a soft whine clearly
indicating it had powered down. 

After several hundred microts had passed without further movement the others became
concerned.

"You are sure he was all right when you left the alien vessel?" Zhaan asked.

"Physically-yes." Aeryn replied. 

She didn't bother to tell them the haunted look she had seen on John's face as they had
separated to their awaiting ships. He had been trying so hard to act as if nothing was
amiss, to be the unflappable and amicable human they had all come to know. But she'd
seen the pain in his eyes, a brief flash but there none the less. Out of respect and
friendship she felt compelled to remain silent with her concerns.

Farscape 1's canopy finally hissed open and John Crichton slowly crawled out of the
small pod. His back still to the rest of the crew he leaned against the shuttle and sighed
loudly, remaining in that position for several moments before patting the ship lightly and
starting towards them. His haggard expression clearly indicated his fatigue as he
approached the group of aliens.

Zhaan smiled warmly. "Welcome home."

John visibly winced at her words. For a brief  moment she caught a  glimpse of some
emotion she could not name. As quickly as it had been there, the emptiness returned. She
reached hesitantly with her hand only to have him pull away from the touch.

"Are you all right, John?"

A ghost of a smile, an obvious attempt at reassurance, crossed his face as he opened his
eyes to look at her. "I-...I'm just tired. Been a long couple of days." He half-mumbled in
reply.

She nodded sympathetically. "You should go and rest. We can discuss what happened
later." He nodded once, the faint smile fading once more to the frightening blank
expression he had worn since leaving the pod. 

"Crichton?" 

He stopped at Aeryn's call, only turning around when she laid a hand on his shoulder. In
that moment she saw the dispair that was threatening to overtake him.

"John ..." She stopped, realizing there was nothing she could say to alleviate his pain.

"Aeryn..." He swallowed hard and looked away, blinking several times, before returning
his eyes to her own.  He reached up and gently squeezed her hand on his shoulder. "I
just....need some time to myself. OK?"

She nodded slowly, turning her hand into his to return the gentle pressure in reassurance.
"I understand."

"Thanks." He whispered hoarsely, quickly departing the chamber.

---------------------------

Later. Command.

"I don't know what happened to him between the time I was removed from the cell and
when Rygel and I saw Crichton again. Aeryn would know more about that." D'argo
concluded recounting the recent events that had unfolded. He looked down in shame.
"I'm afraid we let him down. Labeled him as much a barbaric animal as we thought his
people were."

"I'm sure he understands your reactions, D'argo. It was a difficult situation for all of you."
Zhaan assured the Luxan warrior. "John is not one to hold a grudge. I'm sure everything
will be fine."

"You might not say that if you had seen what I did." Aeryn interjected, speaking for the
first time in an arn. 

"What do you mean?" D'argo asked, slightly alarmed at the ex-Peace Keepers unusually
gentle tone.

"What happened, Aeryn?" Zhaan prompted when the was no response.

For a long time Aeryn simply stood there, silently remembering everything that had
happened.

Zhaan and D'argo exchanged concerned looks before the Delvian turned her attention
back to the oddly subdued sebacean. "Aeryn?"

"He was right. It's very beautiful."

"What is beautiful?" Rygel demanded loudly, earning a shushing gesture from both
D'argo and Zhaan. 

Aeryn turned away from the view of the stars she had been starring at. A small, secret
smile graced her features. 

"Did you know that in all my life as a Peace Keeper, I never felt the rain upon my skin,
tasted it on my tongue. Never listened to the sky rumble with a thunder so profound I
could feel it to the core of my being. Never watched lightning illuminate the skies above
me. None of it." Aeryn sighed, teetering somewhere between exasperation and laughter.
Even she wasn't sure which. 

She couldn't bring herself to tell them of what else had happened. John's apology to her.
Her forgiveness in return. The kiss that had been so deliberate, gentle. His wordless
admission of desire for her unexpectedly igniting a passion she hadn't felt before. Not
desperate like the their time together in the flax. Deeper and without need to rush despite
their precarious situation. 

And then later. Laying there together listening to the storm taking and solace in the arms
of each other. Feeling unnaturally safe and welcome as she watched him drift off to
sleep. And the unexpected rush of emotion she had felt, tender and fiercely protective as
she lay he head down and allowed the rhythmic rise and fall of his chest and the sound of
his heart beat lull her to sleep.

She pushed the memory aside, not wishing to dwell on it too deeply.

"His stories of home pale in comparison to the reality of the Earth I saw. I understand
why he wanted to go home so desperately now." Is what she finished with instead.

"But if this...test....is even remotely accurate as to what would happen to him...." Zhaan
started.

"He would be a prisoner for the rest of his life, in one way or another." Aeryn finished. 

"Then he can never go home." D'argo whispered softly.

"Not to the Earth he loves so much." Aeryn looked back at the stars. "I saw the pain in his
eyes when he realized he wasn't on Earth. When he aimed his weapon at me. He....he just
......freaked out." She chuckled at her use of the human phrase, sensing that it seemed the
most appropriate.

"He threatened you with a weapon?" Zhaan asked, alarmed at this information. "Would
he have used it?"

Aeryn considered that for a moment, remembering the shock she had felt and then the
genuine fear as she realized how close he was to harming her.  After a moment she
nodded. "If I hadn't backed away when he told me to...yes. He probably thought I was a
ruse, like everything else. He was desperate, scared. All his dreams, everything he cared
about and wanted  were being destroyed around him."

"Perhaps we should think of away to ease John's pain, distract him from what happened."
Zhaan suggested. "Maybe if..."

"No." Aeryn interrupted. "He just needs to be alone. To decide what he needs to do. If he
needs our help, he'll ask in his own way."

Zhaan eyed the ex-Peace Keeper with a questioning look. Glancing briefly to D'argo, the
Luxan shifted uncomfortably as if sensing the Delvian's gaze upon him but remained
silent. She sensed Aeryn was holding something back. Something that D'argo seemed to
have picked up on and out of respect refused to pry into. "Is there something wrong
Aeryn? Something that happened you haven't already told us?"

Aeryn's features instantly went  emotionless, hard. "No." She growled and stalked out of
Command.

Zhaan started after the woman only to stop when she felt D'argo's hand grip her shoulder.
"I don't think it would be wise to press her on the matter at this time."

Zhaan relented and went back to table they had been standing around. "Do you know
what is disturbing her? She seems especially protective of John."

"Shared hardship often leads to shared pain. For now we should let both of them be."
D'argo replied neutrally and left command before Zhaan could ask another question.


---------------------------

John Crichton plopped onto the sleeping pallet, allowing the jolt as he landed to knock
the wind out of him, almost wishing it would hurt. At least then he could feel something.
Anything. Anything but this emptiness gnawing away at him. 

But it didn't. He simply lay there staring up at the ceiling of his quarters.

Nothing.

He had felt that way since he left the alien who had impersonated his dad. Had felt
nothing while flying the Farscape 1 back to Moya, not a twinge of happiness at seeing
Zhaan, and nothing again when he had entered his quarters and cleaned himself up. All
he felt was numb, empty, lifeless.  

He should have felt something, right? Anger? Loss? Hate? Something. 

Not this...this...

Earth was gone. The world he knew...had known. It was gone. Forever. Dad. DK.
Friends. Family. Everyone he loved. Everything he cared about. Everything. Gone in the
instant he had disappeared into the wormhole. He could never go home. Never return to
that life.

It was a bitter realization to accept. One he had, perhaps foolishly, denied to himself.
Now he could no longer hide from the truth.

Tears blurred his vision. He squeezed his eyes tightly against the sensation, willing it
away. Moments before wishing to feel something and now desperate to keep them at bay
as pain, emptiness, loneliness took hold. 

When he could no longer hold back the sobs that wracked him he curled onto his side,
burying his head into the pillow and let go until exhaustion overwhelmed him hours later
and released him into blessed oblivion.

---------------------------

Three days later.

It was early morning. Far earlier than she or any of the others normally would have been
up. Another restless night for her since returning from the false Earth. And another for
the human she now watched, it seemed. 

Aeryn paused at the entrance way when she spied him sitting on the edge of the table,
staring out at the stars. She quashed the surge of emotion she felt upon seeing him,
feeling guilty at her own selfish happiness.

Though she had said nothing to the others, she knew John had not been sleeping well.
She had watched him that first night crying himself to sleep, oblivious to her presence
outside his quarters. His sorrow had been infectious, bringing an unaccustomed sting to
her own eyes. She had watched him for a few arns every night since. A silent,
understanding observer to his troubled slumber.

He seemed tired, pale, sadder the past few days than she could recall ever seeing him. He
had spoken little and even then with none of the usual quips and odd phrases the crew
had all become used to. 

He wasn't getting any better either. Something had to be done she decided.

"Have you had anything to eat?" She asked casually striding into the room.

"No. I'm not hungry." Came the dull reply.

"How about you join me anyway?" She asked, looking for an excuse to get him to eat. He
had eaten sparingly the past few days and this was beginning to concern not only her but
the others as well.

He shrugged indifferently, shifting from sitting on the table to one of the chairs around it.

Aeryn quickly pulled out a plate of foodcubes stopping for a moment before grabbing a
second plate and quickly rearranging the cubes. Setting the plate down in front of him,
she took a seat across from him and watched.

"I said I wasn't hungry." He noted, glancing towards her.

"I know." She replied, taking a bite from the food cube on her fork and pointedly looking
at his plate.

He looked at her oddly before flicking his gaze to the plate of multicolored cubes before
him. She barely suppressed the grin that threaten her features as his eyebrows slowly
raised up in surprise. 

He lowered his head, chuckling softly.

"You looked like you could use a little....cheering up I believe you would call it." She
commented. He raised his head, an amused grin on his face and a familiar sparkle to his
eye. His reaction brought a smile to her face, relieved at finally seeing a glimpse of the
John Crichton she had come to know. 

He looked down sheepishly, some of the loss creeping back onto his face. "Have I really
been that bad?"

"Only to those passing by." Aeryn replied honestly.

"Gee, thanks loads, Aeryn." He picked up a food cube from the smiley face pattern on his
plate and nibbled on it unenthusiastically. In spite of the words she could hear the
laughter there. 

She reached across the table, gently squeezing his free hand. "Do you want to talk about
it?"

He swallowed slowly, accepting her hand into his with a gentle squeeze. "I'll be OK. I
just need to work things through." He reassured her.

"I know. But a certain human once told me that loss is the hardest emotion to deal with."
Aeryn replied. "I just wanted you to know I'm here if you need to talk."

He smiled at that. "I know you are. And thanks. I guess I'm just having trouble letting go."

"Letting go of what?" Aeryn asked, gently coaxing him, sensing he needed this prodding
to get him to finally deal with some of  what was bothering him.

"Earth." He finally replied. "Never going home again."

"Earth is till out there, John."

"Yeah, but it's not *my* Earth anymore. The one I knew. I can't go home because I don't
have a home to go back to. I'm not even sure I want to go back to that now."

"I know the feeling." Aeryn replied, starting to withdraw her hand as a melancholy
overcame her as she remembered once using similar words to him when it seemed the
others would be going home.

As if sensing her thought John grasped her hand firmly. A sad, apologetic look came to
his face. "Hey. I-I'm sorry. I didn't mean to ..."

"I know." She interrupted, more harshly than she intended.

"I'm sorry. I'm being selfish." He muttered in self beratement. He started to withdraw his
hand only to have Aeryn grasp it tightly as he had done for her mere moments ago.

"You're just being human." Aeryn corrected gently. "But I think I know you well enough
to see that you can not give up looking for Earth. It may not be the world you left, but it
still is yours."

"But is it home?" John asked.

Aeryn looked down at her food cubes for a moment, searching for the answer and finding
none. She smiled softly as she looked back at him and squeezed his hand once more
before releasing it. 

"Only you can decide that."

"Yeah. I guess so." He replied quietly.