So I accidentally became obsessed with Farscape. I mean, for a show I only watched because my girlfriend made me, it went very horribly wrong. Writing fic for it because ??? I don't know, after this many years, it's the only way I know when I'm a fan of something. I know a lot of people who say the show gave them so much closure they didn't need/don't read fic. Which is actually fair enough, and I actually appreciate this sentiment, but hey, that's not me. There are still lots of gaps in this narrative, and there is always time for an AU.
we have not touched the stars (AO3).
The title from Siken, what a bastard. It did have a different title, I changed it when I became aware that the poet did not like their work being appropriated. But you can read the poem that inspired the whole thing here.
When I say I woke up and wrote this I literally woke up and wrote this ... first time that had happened to me in ages, but I just sat up, reached for my computer and banged it all out, almost in one hit. My favourite thing about that is there's always very little tweaking for me, when it flows like that. (A few word changes here and there, lots of typos, but elsewise, okay.)
So, some meta, by which I mean, a lot of meta:
Aeryn and language. This is kind a theme that runs through the show, and I'm not sure if it was an accident or not. It's obvious in the later seasons, where she shows such an interest in learning English, but that actually starts in season one (Thank God It's Friday Again has the woody/willies joke so we know she's at least paying attention to his human-isms.)
(Side bar: I see her interest in English as primarily driven by her which is also why I find it odd that people say she changes everything about herself because he wants her to. I mean she carries on with it even when they're not together in season four.)
Anyway, I love the Aeryn/language thing and it's a theme that's in pretty much everything I've written for this fandom. In this instance, I always read from the scene in the pilot when she asks him what compassion is that Peacekeepers don't have a great number of words for emotions - which does stand to reason, not that they don't have words at all, just that there are fewer of them and they don't really address the subtle complexities/have connotations like words do in English - and I like the idea that human words don't 100% properly translate. (Obviously there are words that don't properly translate on both sides - how the translator microbes work is usually to be convenient for the audience but hey, they seem to be fairly precise - judging by her reaction to slicker than snot in The Flax - amongst other things, so I think it makes it interesting that she doesn't understand compassion.)
So the idea is that she has to learn words to express things because her language doesn't have them, that John is instrumental in that, and that without him (at such an "early" point) she's fundamentally altered.
Obviously that's the thing about AU that's tricky. You have to make reference to the canon world and get the characterisation right, but you also have to think about how the AU setting impacts on who they are. And getting that balance right for the reader - so that they see the character they know but also believe the changes to the world - is something I agonise over.
And to my mind I cheated in this one, I really cheated because I mostly just skewed canon events into this alternate reality. (But hey, if you can't surmount a challenge just go around it I always say. Much like this rabbit, what a champ.)
This bit with Crais and Aeryn, where she does go with him like he offers, is again part of that - they have a very interesting relationship canonically, and they exist as excellent counterpoints to each other to my mind: he's recruited, she's bred, they both leave the Peacekeepers, but do that differently.
And they have an intense amount of tension in the scenes on Talyn in Family Ties. It's this weird dynamic where there's a definite power play going on, there's some amount of resentment on her part, she's just tortured him with the aurora chair, he's just spent almost a year hunting her down to kill her ... but he's suddenly become fascinated seeing how she's changed, and she's seeing a new side of him as well - another Peacekeeper who has left the fold. And they both know it's sexual on his part, I'm not sure if it is or it isn't on hers. (I think even at this point she's stupid-in-feelings with Crichton and she definitely doesn't ever think of Crais in any real way, but as a passing thought? I don't know. Plus they share custody of a baby Leviathan. Maybe she thinks of staying together for the kids.)
So I find the idea of Aeryn and Crais in the absence of Crichton really interesting. And in this scenario, where Aeryn is feeling guilty and grieving, they make sense to me.
(And yes, I was semi-implying they do the sex in this section. I mean you have to take a microscope to between the lines, but. Angsty grief-sex where one person has feelings and the other is just pretending they're with someone else, it's my thing.)
Valdun. Well. This is a reference to The Choice. (And obviously their canonical relationship post-season one.) But I like this bit about Aeryn not enjoying killing, because I think that's understated in the show: Aeryn has grown up with violence and with the idea of taking a life and it's not important to her. She's not conflicted over casualties (which makes this scene in season four so lovely, you can see that she understands him but she doesn't share his conflict.)
And in that way her character is actually kind of morally ambiguous by human standards, so I kind of like that the show doesn't really draw attention to it in a way (because it's culturally appropriate) but also I think it kind of pedestals her, you still think of her as one of the 'good guys' ... and I think she is, considering her in cultural context. But I wanted this moment where she's not. Because she actually does enjoy it, she actually does want to hurt and kill this person, it's not just something she was raised and trained to do. She's angry and hurting and dark. Basically. I'm all about the little-bit-evil, my-emotions-made-me-apocalypticly-inclin
(Plus let's be real, I live vicariously through fictional ladies committing acts of violence.)
He hands down the sentence like it's good news.
This idea, is again, a warped version of canon.
I've always loved that scene in Look At The Princess, where she's looking at Crichton and the baby and she just knows ... they're in this weird place, where they both know they have feelings for each other, and their relationship is semi-physical (hahahahah wow that scene in the module), but she's always known that in his culture relationships are different, and she's also always known that she has feelings for him that scare her a little. (I don't think this is 100% because of Peacekeeper emotions-are-bad reasons, love is fucking terrifying and everyone who says it's not is far too well-adjusted.) And that's the moment, I think, for Aeryn. She sees what he wants from a future. And the end, the kiss with the compatibility drops, that's what it is: she knows what he wants and she decides that maybe she wants to give it to him, that it's worth the risk, how uncertain she feels. Aeryn very much chooses to be with John. (Again it bothers me that people say she changes everything about herself for him because he wants her to.)
But Aeryn doesn't get that moment in this universe, and that sentence is about that, and, in a stellarly narcissistic display of "write what you know", about how complicated finding out you're pregnant can be in general. (Because if you've ever ended up unexpectedly and inopportunely pregnant you'll know the oh fuck feeling, and you'll also know how you know that people expect you to be happy about it. And I've seen doctors make that mistake from both sides: congratulations. Yeah, congratu-fucking-lations.)
Ah Scorp. This is actually where this all started. Aeryn cutting off Scorpius' head. The visual of the green acid is obviously a reference to Look At The Princess. But again, I wanted to get that sense of grief-driven violence, that this is more than just her being a well-trained soldier. This is actually being a cold-blooded killer and that is not something she has ever been before.
I get mummy Aeryn feelings all the fucking time. This was where I sort of looked at my computer screen and went what?? because baby fic?? this is meant to be assassin Aeryn fic where has the baby come from? but like I said, I wrote it all in one sitting so I ran with it. The idea of her hearing his voice in her head is a fairly obvious one, but I like the idea that she gets angry at him for challenging her. I mean, again, there is this criticism of their relationship that he's always trying to force his ideals on her, and I wanted her to shake that off here. I don't think she's particularly sorry for what she's doing, on the whole. And I didn't want her to feel guilty for it just because she imagines that he would disapprove.
So, nobody gets what they frelling want.
It's not perfect I think, I think that idea isn't foregrounded enough: that Crichton-in-her-head cares, but she doesn't, really. She cares about how she feels, about how angry and guilty and grief-ridden she feels, and how much she wants both him and D'Argo back. But she's not opposed to the killing. Just the motivation for it.
Also: what you want is to be pure what you get is to be changed.
Aeryn has had all of these changes happen to her, and she didn't really want any of them, and that's part of her anger: she's working her way to accepting change. (Maybe I project a bit too much? Whatever, it's cheaper than therapy.)
The medicine woman is a vague allusion to Noranti. Meg picked up on that. I was trying to be subtle. Typical, me, about as subtle as a freight train.
I'm not sure about the emotion she displays here. It feels like a lot. But then again, I think this is her private moment, the one where she finally actually breaks down. She hasn't cried and she hasn't really felt anything but anger and this sense of absolutely wholly missing someone. This is the moment where she actually grieves, feels sadness, knows it's real I guess. And knows that the anger isn't helping her, isn't making it easier.
I also quite like the line there's not a lot she can't swallow these days.
Ah, seeing Moya again, because whose eyes don't well at an establish shot of Moya? (It would not be an exaggeration to say I have actually cried.)
Hah, this bit with Pilot. I always laugh to myself (at my own joke, I know) when he says "Moya has noticed -" ... if Aeryn is offended by his saying so, he's totally going to throw Moya under the bus. He's just like "oh, I'm asking for a friend, but." Anyway, I like Aeryn and Pilot a lot. He's her bff, and that's why he's the first to ask and that's why he's not immediately on board with this whole baby idea, he has to ask her if she's happy about it first. (And he immediately knows she's happy about it when she says it's Crichton's baby.)
I don't like the birthing scene. I don't know why. Reading it I feel like it fits and it's fine but there's just something ... for one it's horribly pulled from canon. I mean, I think it is still different because the cast is different (Zhaan, I cry) but. I kept it and I wanted it in there because I wanted the moment where she holds the baby and doesn't know what to do with it. Also parasite. The mixed feelings Aeryn has about motherhood needed to be in here. Plus that bit with the baby turning into her chest actually happened to me once, I absolutely never wanted children until a newborn did that to me when I was 14 years old and I remember that moment to this day, so vividly, and now even though the idea is still vaguely terrifying to me and pregnancy really does sound horrible and babies really are parasites ... but nevertheless, it was a turning point. (Again, writing what you know.)
I like this bit, the dream sequence, where he says you always surprised me. I think that's true. That he expected her to be different and sure, he saw something in her right from the beginning, but she surpassed it and was just a constant fucking miracle to him. (Because isn't love like that?) And the ending. Ah. I mean like I said, this came very naturally and so I'm sort of fond of all of it just because it wasn't difficult to write, but the ending particularly felt like everything fell into place. And I love the idea of both of her ghosts - that seeing him in the baby is a little bit haunting for her. Also Pilot's den and Pilot and Aeryn, again. Not that it feels particularly baby proof but I guess at the point where they're not even rolling yet, you don't worry too much.
This whole piece really echoes something I wrote for The X-files once, post-Within. And I think I sort of have a soft spot for this story, partner dies, awesome lady character raises unexpected child.
As a whole I like both pieces. I think The X-files one is a bit more creative, like I said, I think here I used canon as a crutch too much. And that's what I have learned from this exercise. Also that writing Farscape fic makes me feel anxious, I don't know, why do I do it? Why do I try to play with perfect things? (The answer is a complete lack of self-control and a runaway imagination.)