Jack interrupts, of course, asking Aeryn to stay for dinner. She begs off and Olivia strengthens his ranks as he's pushing: "There's always room for one more." The tears on her face are hidden by a three-qarters turn and her long black hair. Her voice always sounds like that. "It's a...traditional family thing." Oh, I cannot stand this! "We'll start a new tradition!" John says. Girl, just leave. Just walk out. "Look, it's up to you, but we'd love to have you." John asks Olivia, without looking away from Aeryn's turmoil, for a glass of eggnog. Olivia looks at them, hard, but goes to fetch it. Aeryn brings her head back up, cheeks covered in tears, and John steps close, the words on his tongue.
"Tell me you mean it. Step around those mine fields and the sixteen layers of rhetorical bullshit and tell me you're actually asking me to love you. Tell me it's not about Christmas, or Earth, or wormholes, or Jack. Tell me you won't accept the guestroom gratefully. Tell me from your pride and your fear that you're with me. All you ever had to do was ask. I cannot stop loving you. There is no pain greater than standing this close to you, smelling you, and not knowing if I'm allowed to love you again. On the other side of lies, and pain, and all the slings and arrows, is the only home I know and the only star I can sail by. The Prisoner's Dilemma only ever ends in hope. Please tell me this time is real, and I will give myself to you completely. All we ever did was die on each other. Just live, just live, just live."
...But of course the Skreeth attacks instead, and Olivia screams, and the Skreeth goes for her, and John and Aeryn -- face still covered in tears -- go into action. Combat ensues! The Skreeth grabs people and savages them! People flying through walls! Tables destroyed! Do not invite John and Aeryn to Christmas! Aeryn shoots at the thing like a hundred times! Christmas in flames! Skreeth turns invisible! All the lights go out and things are electrically dangerous! Everybody listens for the Skreeth but the Skreeth is vanished! John and Aeryn draw on each other! One-second pause. The Skreeth appears behind Aeryn and grabs her! She bites Aeryn's gun! John hits the Skreeth with some laka! "Suck on this!" he says! Aeryn asks what the Skreeth is sucking on! John says never mind! They hit the Skreeth! She hits back! He hits her with a chair! The Christmas tree goes down! Do not invite John and Aeryn to Christmas!
Aeryn pulls herself up: "John. Winona." And that's how you know they're going to be okay. He runs upstairs for his gun as the Skreeth rushes Aeryn, who shatters the glass coffee table and lies still. The Skreeth grabs John by the foot by punching through the wall beside the stairs; he tries to pull away and the Skreeth pulls the rest of the wall out. The Skreeth is kind of awesome. John pulls the Skreeth up the stairs by his ankle, one step at a time, because John is also awesome. "I've got Crichton," Braca hisses, spiked, Grayza watching eagerly. The Skreeth howls, and John kicks her in the face; she goes flying back down the stairs long enough for him to duck into a bedroom.