John Crichton is a man of many annoying and incomprehensible traits. With time, some of these traits have become endearing, though through what precise process Aeryn can't imagine. More of them, however, have simply remained annoying.
"You always say this," she points out to him. "You say, we cannot do this, or this is impossible, when clearly it is not impossible, because I have already done it!"
"That is because you are a crazy lady," John says. He is flailing his arms about, like he often does in times like this. Aeryn is sitting on the floor, next to D. He had been drawing something on scraps of paper, but now seems more interested in watching his father with wide, interested eyes.
"My mental health has never been the one in question in this family," Aeryn says, and John laughs, spitting out the "Ha!" almost like a curse.
"Aeryn, honey, all I am saying is that you don't give weapons to a baby."
"He's not a baby anymore." She stands up, and D watches her go for a moment, before a DRD comes and replaces her in the spot beside him. John sits down on top a stool, folding his arms before him, and she stops in front of him. "He is three cycles old. Soon it will be four. When I was his age, we had already been separated from the nurses and put into our beginning formations to learn ranks. He is clearly not mentally deficient--"
"He's our baby," John says crossly. "I don't care how frelled your childhood was, you don't give guns to a baby."
"You're being completely irrational!" Aeryn says. "This is not about the Peacekeepers, this is about his being able to defend himself. We won't be able to watch after him every moment. What age would you advise we start teaching him how?"
John looks straight into her eyes. "Older than this!"
"He needs to learn," Aeryn says, and she is finished with this argument. "Now is as good a time as any. Tomorrow I am going to the commerce planet to pick out his weapon, and we will start target practice in the cargo bay next week. It's up to you whether or not you are part of it."
"I frelliing hate your frelling ultimatums," he yells after her, as she walks away.
"Don't swear in front of the child," she says as she leaves the room.
All the memories of Aeryn's early life involve others. It was not until she was an adult -- until she was irreversibly contaminated, in fact, until her old life was completely over -- it was not until then that she has any memories of truly being alone. There was always a companion, a partner, an officer, a corps. With the exception of a single nighttime visit from her mother, long thought to have been a dream, there was nothing in any part of her childhood to single her out from any other child. She was always one of a larger whole.
D'argo is alone. Gloriously, horribly, perfectly unique. It frightens her terribly.
John says when he was a child, his family moved around often, because of his father's job. John would make friends quickly and lose them even more quickly and never see them again and do it over again in a new town. John says it made him self-reliant, and he learned to entertain himself, to live in his own head.
John says that D has hundred of friends, from Moya and Pilot to every single DRD on board the ship. They are his constant companions, every moment of every day of his life. D's never known a minute's loneliness, John says, and Aeryn can hear the undercurrent of envy in his voice.
Aeryn wants another baby, but she isn't saying so yet. She can still remember how frightening it was when D was first born, how much it took out of her to feel so much love and tenderness for something so weak, so unable to survive a moment on its own. But D is a person of his own now: he can walk, and speak (though he does so rarely), and find his own food, and the thoughts that he expresses are things Aeryn would never think herself or hear from John's mouth.
Tomorrow she will pick out a child's weapon for him, and he will be one step closer to being able to take care of himself. She and John should always be there for him -- he should never have to -- but if he does... he'll be able.
When the next baby is born, Aeryn is determined, there will be three to watch out for it, not just two.
When D is a good enough shot, she's decided. When he's progressed enough, she'll tell John she's ready. He wants a girl, too, she knows.
Perhaps they can name it Jack.