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Colorful
John/Aeryn
Rated G

Fluffy kidfic! Written for the [livejournal.com profile] farscape_land prompt challenge.



There are many things about motherhood that Aeryn wasn't even remotely prepared for, and this is one of them.

She grabs the baby by the arm, pulling him back from the wall with restraint not at all evident in her words or the look she directs at John.

"Why did you give him those?" She sounds terrifyingly curious and Deke is already bawling, big fat tears with a sound level to reach.

"Because he's a kid, and kids like to draw," John says. "He shouldn't have drawn on the wall, I get that, but he's two, Aeryn. Two year olds don't always do what you want them to, or what they're supposed to. I left him coloring on a sheet of paper, went to take a piss and when I came back... well."

He gestures to the wall and Deke. Of course it would figure that Aeryn would walk in right when Deke strikes in all of his terrible two glory.

She reaches down and pries one of the colorful sticks from Deke's grasp, studying it. "I don't recognize these."

"I picked them up last week on that market planet, while you were off buying him some clothes for him to grow out of within a week." Keeping up with Deke's constant growth has been an issue, and they make almost monthly stops now.

Even if they had plenty of clothes for him, John will still insist on the stops. He thinks Deke needs fresh air and sunlight. Not too much, because they don't want to see exactly how much he takes after his mother, but it is one of John's sticking points.

Deke being allowed to play and not have the strictly regimented upbringing of a creche brat is one of the others. John wants his son to get into messes and trouble, to have bumps and bruises and giggle when something makes him happy and not be afraid to try new things.

Apparently today he's decided to try interior design.

She touches the fat tip of the market to her finger and it leaves a bright pink spot of ink. She makes a face, and John tries not to snicker at the disdain there.

It's clearly the color Deke has preferred, though, since most of the wall up to two feet high is marked with streaks of it. John reaches down and picks up his still crying son. "Come on, buddy, let's go get you cleaned off while Momma calms herself down a little."

*

Aeryn disappears somewhere and that's okay with John. That's what she does; gets mad, needs to blow off some steam. They're good at working together like that, give and take. Not like you can just go out for a Sunday drive to get some air on a ship like this. If you want distance you gotta make sure everyone knows it.

John sits in the fresher and scrubs the marker ink stains as gently as possible from his son's body. He's got John's coloring, ruddy and pink cheeked in the heat of the water, splashing and flailing around. John hands him a hunk of molded plastic, one of his favorite toys, and he promptly uses it to scoop out water and soak John's shirt.

"You are a little mess, aren't you?" John says, grinning. He manages to get most of the pink off of Deke's face and hands but Deke fusses when John tries rub at his cheeks too hard, so he resigns himself to having a very colorful child for at least a couple more bathtimes, until it wears off on its own.

*

He's in the middle of scrubbing the wall (with much more vigor than he'd scrubbed Deke) when Aeryn comes back.

"Where is he?" She asked, glancing around. She seems much calmer, and John is relieved, getting to his feet and dropping the rag drenched in a special Moya-made cleaning solution into the bucket beside him.

"Pip's babysitting. I figured I needed to try and do some damage control." John gives her a sheepish smile. "You doing better?"

"I suppose I should apologize to him," she says, clearly not relishing the idea. She looks at the wall again and still doesn't seem thrilled, but no longer angry. "Children on your planet do things like that frequently?"

John laughs. "When I was three, I stuffed a pbj into my dad's tape deck. Never saw him so mad. So you're telling me you never got into trouble as a tyke?"

She hesitates. "I... no."

He narrows his eyes at her. "You're lying."

She looks like she's going to argue but then comes clean. "I wanted to see the Prowlers."

"And?"

"I was six. I snuck away from my learning regiment to see them. I was caught, of course, before I got more than a few metres away from the barracks, and punished. It stayed on my training record until I finished my educational requirements."

"But, would it have been worth it? If you'd gotten to see them?" John puts his hands on her waist, drawing her in close. "Can you imagine how that would have been? Better than a sugar rush."

She nods, smiling just a little, that sweet Aeryn smile that John loves so much. He just has to lean forward and kiss it. "Let's go get Deke, so he stops thinking his mother hates him."

"Aeryn," John says, chastising her gently. He gets that it's just one of those things Aeryn has issues with, though; losing her temper, flying off the handle. She's painfully aware that of the two John is more nurturing on a daily basis. Not that he loves Deke more, not that he's more protective, just that he has some example of what being a parent is to base his actions on. Aeryn does not. "He's two. He forgets things fast."

She isn't convinced until the door to Chiana's quarter's open and Deke's chubby little face lights up as he goes running toward her.

*

John ends up spending half the next day unclogging some of Moya's drains. He's tired and dirty and smells strongly of a fluid he'd rather not name. He wants to clean up, change clothes, and get something to eat in his stomach.

He's not sure where Aeryn and Deke are, but figures he'll catch up with them somewhere between cleaning up and getting food.

The doors to the main room of their quarters opens for him and he steps inside, yanking his soiled shirt over his head right away. He debates dropping it on the floor but knows how much that bugs Aeryn, so makes the herculean effort to toss it into the dirty clothes basket by the bed.

He steps over a few of Deke's toys on his way to the fresher, but hears noise coming out of Deke's room. He smiles and has to go investigate, standing in the arched open doorway.

Aeryn and Deke are both sitting on the ground, markers in hand. Deke is giggling, arms waving around, and Aeryn's has a streak of pink on her cheek.

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