Warm Welcome Written for the colllaborative series, "The Aeryn Years".
Disclaimer: The characters and vision of Farscape belong to Henson Co., and the Sci-Fi Channel. I’m only borrowing one of them today, and I promise not to keep her or profit from her experiences.
Note to the reader: Most of what’s pertinent is in the note for ‘Woggles’. The only thing I’ll add at this point is that this story got modified a bit after ‘Woggles’ got finished in order to play off some of the things set up in that situation and in ‘Guilt’ by Aeryncrichton.
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The small warm bundle in Aeryn’s arms squirmed and yawned. She looked down into the tiny frowning face and felt her as though her heart had just been taken prisoner. It was a girl. She had a granddaughter. Three times she had held her own bawling sons in her arms, sweaty and exhausted from her own labor. Today she had only offered comfort and exhortations, and she had been rewarded with the first embrace of this child’s life. She had loved her sons without the slightest reservation, but this small being had stolen into her heart to a new degree. She had been taken captive like this only once before in her life. He still held her heart, but this tiny child was challenging that grasp for the first time.
Aeryn looked into the light hazel eyes that watched her with philosophical wisdom. She speculated as to whether it was insightful reflection or gas, knowing they often looked the same. She smiled and held the new arrival closer, feeling a tiny hand reaching to explore her mouth. She gently closed her lips over the miniature fingers and felt them curl over her lower lip. She hummed into the small palm, peering the short distance to watch a smile grow underneath the wondering eyes.
“Hello, Ennixx,” she crooned. “Let me tell you how I’m going to spoil you.” Aeryn hummed a quiet repetitive pattern, a melody going no where. She would take her on long walks, exploring the wonders of the Favored Planet. They would sit close together on chilled evenings, tell stories and laugh. In the heat of summer, she would teach her about exploring cool shallows in the pond, and then send her home to her mother covered in mud. They would walk in the rain and try to catch the drops in their mouths. That would lead to warm towels and two places by the fire. Perhaps this small child would even learn to believe the stories of Moya and a home in the stars, something two of her sons had never accomplished.
Aeryn looked into the infant’s clear eyes, saw the same tint of hazel she’d seen when she had first held her second son. Ennixx gurgled a bubbling laughing noise, and it was the same one she’d heard that day. She still heard his laugh some mornings as she moved from sleeping to waking. Smashing of a door, flurry of footsteps as he charged into his day, curiosity seeping from every pore. Those same mornings she often rolled over seeking the embrace of her lost son’s namesake, finding only the clean sheets and cold bed. They both lived on in her memory unchanged, eternal youth the gift of separation.
There was only one thing she would never do with this child. She would never carry her through the summer sunlight on her shoulders, small fingers curling into her hair. With the laughing face unseen behind her, it would be too easy to think that the ankles in her hands belonged to the missing child lost long ago. As long as she could see the new features, she could teach her how to race after the birds, climb trees and go swimming. She could even show her the place where a rope could be tied to let her go spinning out from shade into sunlight and pretend she was flying.
She would let Ennixx into her heart, as she had let in only two other people. Both had been dark haired, fearless, and had watched the night skies with excitement and wonder. The time had come for her to let another soul take over her life and her hopes, and as she looked into those eyes, Aeryn knew it would be this child. The small hands were grasping and she placed her lips against them and blew soft syllables, “Buh buh buh buh,” and was rewarded with another unformed chortle.
“Your Uncle John misses you,” she whispered, but it wasn’t her uncle Aeryn was thinking of then. Ennixx’s eyes and the chin were entirely Cerric’s, and thus Callum’s, but the entire effect still seemed to resemble another. She tried to push the traitorous thoughts out of her mind, but she kept returning to a vision of how much HE would have loved this small child. Ennixx might have offered him some form of replacement for the daughter he had lost. She wondered if he would ever meet the woman this child would become, or if he was already gone forever, disappearing into space where she still felt she belonged.
Aeryn concentrated on the new life in her arms. Her family deserved better from her after almost one hundred and forty cycles. She stared at her granddaughter, letting herself become entranced by the smile. There was enough of her own features in this child that perhaps she had inherited the long life span of her grandmother. Maybe this one would live beyond her own advancing years. But the only thing that mattered was that she was here, healthy and gurgling burbles as her grandmother blew kisses into her hands.
“Mother, why are you crying?” Strong hands held her shoulders, her son embracing her from behind. Deep even baritone, long slender fingers, his father’s solid build. If she turned to face Callum she would see Cerric, but with her back turned he could have just as easily belonged to somebody else. She leaned against her youngest son and watched as his careful fingers offered his daughter something to grasp. The wrinkled digits curled around his knuckle and the entire tiny frame shook with a huge yawn.
“I’m just so happy. She’s beautiful.” Aeryn allowed the tears of happiness and those of longing to mix together, and cradled and rocked the new addition to her family. “Welcome, Ennixx. I love you.”