This Gift Goes To
The next day,
at the allotted time, everyone was gathered on the Terrace. Everyone,
that is, except Aeryn. John was getting worried - she was never
late, and she knew what time they were supposed to be meeting.
He gave her the benefit of doubt and decided to wait a while
before he commed her.
was settled around the room, with similarly devious expressions
on their faces, and avoiding all eye-contact with each other,
John cleared his throat.
have your attention, please?" All eyes turned to him. "Okay,
here we go, people! Let's do this in reverse alphabetical order."
was the reply. "That means you're first, Blue."
and produced something from behind her back. "Thank you.
I hope you'll forgive me, John, but I found this particular custom
one of the most difficult yet. I was only able to follow one
of your rules - as you can see, there is only one present here.
However" She smiled, sheepishly. "I was unable to decide
who to give it to. I love you all, in very different ways. So
this" She pulled the silk-like cover off the object. "is
my gift to you."
In front of
her stood a small, statuesque thing. Nobody but Zhaan seemed
to know what it was. It was approximately a foot high and resembled
something that was half-person and half-rock. They all looked
at it curiously, and then at Zhaan.
is it?" asked Crais.
a Delvian good luck charm but not in the traditional sense. Instead
of carrying it with you, you come to it when you need good fortune."
it work?" That was Chiana.
a mini-wishing well" noted John. "Aw, Zhaan. That's
very thoughtful." There was a general murmur of agreement.
"Even though you cheated, I'll let you off Right, next up
is you, Spanky."
his throne sled slightly forwards. "Even though I agreed
to this, I could think of nobody I particularly wanted to give
a gift to excepting myself. Which is why I present this lovely
box of food cubes to Dominar Rygel XVI"
a minute," said John. "Hold the phone you're telling
me you're giving a Valentine to yourself?" Rygel smiled
self-satisfactorily. "Get the hell outta here!"
Rygel vacated the area, food cubes and all.
Stark, you're next."
looked slightly nervous, then cleared his throat. "Well,
my gift is for Zhaan, obviously." He turned to face her.
"I'm sorry, but I'm not accustomed to giving and receiving
gifts the only thing I've ever given is the chance for lost souls
to pass over" He stopped to think. "I'm afraid I can't
even give you my gift not yet, anyway. I offer you this:"
He gestured to indicate the mask he always wore. "In the
event that something should happen to me, I want you to have
my mask and, should anything happen to you, I promise to see
you safely where you belong."
petrified after he'd said this until Zhaan placed a hand over
his, and he smiled. John smiled, too, along with everyone else,
in spite of themselves.
Stark never knew you had it in you. Big romantic fool."
He grinned. "'Kay, Pilot, you're up next. Sorry you couldn't
be here, but we figured there wasn't much room in the Den."
was an easy one to make. I choose Moya." There was a unanimous
'aw' from the group on the Terrace. "And my gift is to be
the best Pilot I can be. Moya deserves much better, but I will
endeavour to make myself worthy of her." More 'aw's.
Pilot you got me all choked up," said John. "The next
on the list would be Moya what's she say?"
There was a
is between Moya and I."
Jool, you're next."
looked almost as nervous as Stark. She cleared her throat unnecessarily,
then stood up. "I'm really embarrassed about this, okay?
So nobody laugh." She deliberately ignored Chiana as she
said this. "It also took me ages to find this frelling present,
and my backside still hurts from where I fell, so you'll forgive
me if I'm a little irritable."
a long story" said Chiana, which confused him even more.
here it is." She pulled the present from a pocket about
her person - it was a small dagger, about four inches in length,
with a black handle, which she'd managed to shine up to a bright
finish. Holding it carefully, she stepped forwards heading directly
to be as surprised as everybody else in the room.
to fidget. "I'm not good at speeches but I noticed that
you must have lost your old dagger somewhere, since there's an
empty sheath for one next to your pulse pistol holster So, I
saw this, and I thought Captain Crais might like this, to replace
his old one." There was silence, and then she added: "I
even cleaned it."
took the dagger from her and sheathed it. "Thank you Very
mean I like you, or anything I just thought you'd appreciate
I mean, I do appreciate it."
There was a
hideously awkward silence, and then John broke it. "See,
that's what this is all about! Making new buddies."
be saved, Jool sat back down again. Crais watched her, partly
dubious, and partly curious, before tearing his gaze back to
John, attempting to feign interest.
up is me." Damn, where is she? he thought, looking around.
"But uh my recipient isn't here, so we'd better move on
undecided, did a mental coin-toss by closing his eyes and thinking
of the first name that came to mind. When he did, he wasn't that
surprised. He opened his eyes again and brought out his gift.
is a Luxan decoration, an ornament. It belonged to Lo-lann's
grandmother and she gave it to me so now I'm giving it away."
He walked over to Chiana, who grinned. "It's always been
a source of inner strength for me and I hope it will provide
the same for you, Chiana."
happily and hugged him after taking the ornament. "Thank
you, D'Argo. It's lovely."
"See, even cynics can have fun on Valentine's Day."
D'Argo scowled again, but it didn't last long when he saw how
happy Chiana was. "Okay, Crais. Let's see what you got."
without realising, looked across the room and held Jool's gaze
a fraction of a microt too long, before looking at Crichton.
He was about to say something when he appeared to have a minor
heart attack, and froze before he could say anything. He swallowed,
I forgot all about this."
I apologise." Nobody else seemed to notice the positively
murderous look that Jool threw at him. He flinched slightly.
"Well, okay, Crais in theory, what would you have given
and who would it go to?" There was no answer. Instead, Crais
sat sulking, and eventually, John gave up. "You're useless"
He sighed. "Chiana?"
stood up slowly and walked over towards D'Argo. "Well,"
she said, "I know how much you like weapons, D'Argo, so
I saw this, and I thought it would be perfect for you."
She pulled out a larger version of the dagger Jool had acquired,
clearly part of a set. "Even if you don't use it, I figure
you could maybe put it on your wall, or something."
you, Chiana." D'Argo took the blade, examined it, and secured
it near his Qualta Blade.
said John, talking into his comms. "Aeryn?" No answer.
"Aeryn, if you're there, get yourself down to the damn Terrace."
Still no answer. "Frell, fine." He huffed. "I
guess you can all go now."
group all stood and filed off the Terrace, not sure whether to
feel sorry for John or be amused by the dejected look on his
face. Zhaan was the last to leave, staying behind to offer some
don't worry," she said. "I'm sure you will manage to
sort something out."
I know, Zhaan"
nodded sagely, patted him on the shoulder, and walked off to
join the others. John stayed sitting on the Terrace, staring
out into space, thinking. As usual, just when he didn't need
any company, Harvey took it upon himself to start offering advice.
He appeared behind him and hovered just to his right.
really think it would work, John?"
what I need. Advice from Aunt Harvey." He resisted the urge
to punch him as he walked around to .
of the sarcasm, if you please."
do you want?"
to offer moral support." John looked up, raised an eyebrow,
and gave him a very obvious "Pull-the-other-one" look.
Harvey looked vaguely nervous, and cleared his throat. "All
right, there is something else. In light of Officer Sun's non-appearance
and obvious disinterest in your plan, I thought I might attempt
to cheer you up."
Gimme your best shot," said John, not really interested.
he said, and suddenly manifested a very large bunch of roses.
as the information registered. It seemed to take four times longer
than it should do. He scrabbled to his feet and backed off as
fast as it was physically possible to do so. "Excuse me??"
have been between you and the Luxan, really, but since you managed
to conveniently forget about me"
the phone, Harvey!" said John, still backing away. "Just
just no. Okay? No."
he promptly legged it, leaving a very upset Harvey behind him.
He had to find Aeryn before he went insane, and whatever her
reason for not turning up was, it had better be a frelling good
am NOT a John/Harvey-er. The Harvey gift-giving thing was a request
by the aforementioned very strange friend. Blame her Also, anything
which gets misconstrued is entirely the fault of the reader.
I am not responsible for my actions)