Up to, and including Fractures
A little shippy number with a twist.
Not mine, none of them mine *sigh*
cursed herself for the fifth time. Why were things never easy? All
they had to do was come down to the planet, collect supplies and
leave. Simple. So simple that she had agreed to escort Crichton
- under duress. The planet did not welcome other species, only Sebaceans.
He had offered to go down alone. She hadn't objected. That was,
until she saw the look on the other crewmembers faces. Of course
she couldn't let him go alone. They always went in pairs. And, as
she was the only other that would fit the criteria of this particular
planet she had sighed and agreed. Truth be known she was scared
to be alone with him. She had felt the familiar feelings creep back
slowly. He had been good, told her they would always be friends.
Said that she could rely on him, talk to him, confide in him. She
hadn't though. She had kept her distance afraid of what his touch
might do to her - again.
here they were. A simple plan gone wrong. She had commed the others,
explained the situation, omitting that one piece of vital information.
That one piece that would almost certainly cause the others to doubt
her competence - her stability. No, she had told them the basics
- that was all they needed to know for now she reasoned. Who was
she trying to kid? How could she possibly explain that she had shot
looked at him now, lying on the hotel bed. The pale, silky sheets
contrasting the red blood that stained them now. His blood. He looked
so innocent in sleep, so John, yet not. But he was, wasn't he? He
was John Crichton, human, astronaut, stealer of her heart. He had
reacted exactly the same way, as the other would have, of course
he had. With trust, confidence and love. She had shot him in the
leg and he had apologised to her! She recalled the conversation.
the gun's fine. Stop checking it all the time."
am not checking it! I was just making sure we are prepared!" Her
voice was clipped and sounded harsher than intended. She had to
make sure that he was protected at all times. She couldn't go through
the pain of losing him again.
right, whatever." He sounded defeated, knowing he would lose this
argument like the many that they had had since landing on the planet.
He left the stall and walked on ahead.
followed him trying to keep up. "Wait!"
turned. "You are not my bodyguard Aeryn. I can look after myself
you know. I mean, I did it when..." His voice trailed as he tried
desperately to control his tone. He stood tall "I can take care
of myself Aeryn" With that he started to walk again.
had he become so perceptive? She chewed on her lip, a habit she
had picked up fro him -the other -no him - dam it was so confusing,
so frustrating! "John!" The use of his forename had the
desired effect and he turned. "I...you..." she stamped
her foot. Dam him for making her feel this way. "The gun needed
to be checked!" The only thing she could think to say that
would show him that she was backing down.
anger suddenly deflated. He knew she was trying. He swore softly
under his breath. She had been through enough - hadn't he promised
to be her friend? She was trying. "Its fine Aeryn,
you've checked it a thousand times - look" And that's when
had she become so careless? Safety on at all times unless in battle,
wasn't that the first rule of Peacekeeper training? Everything seemed
to happen in slow motion. He grabbed the gun to show her how safe
and functional it was. She had automatically flinched at his touch
and pulled back. Bang. In an instant. One minute he was standing
in front of her, the next he was on the ground. She had shot him.
had looked up at her wavering between shock and consciousness, the
colour draining from his face. She couldn't believe it; he had actually
smiled through the pain. "Aeryn Sun, I didn't think you
would be the one to finally shoot me with one of those things."
He panted then grimaced and held his bleeding leg.
had dropped to one knee. "John, John, oh dren..." her voice trailed
off. How could this happen? She was his protector. She was trying
to save him from this.
saw her face and cupped it with his free hand. She didn't flinch
this time, too wrapped up in the situation. "I'm sorry Aeryn.
I should have trusted you" She looked at him confused. He was
apologising to her! Frelling human!
was brought back to the present by his groan. She moved to the bed.
Sat at the edge, scared to get close, yet too scared not to. A million
thoughts running through her mind. He had given her time, given
her space. Had taught her many things. Taught her to love, feel,
and show compassion. What had she taught him? Battle procedures,
weapon control and how to kill using his bear hands. No comparison.
what had she done? Closed him off, kept him at a distance for reasons
beyond his control. Traded his lessons for abuse, confrontations
and arguments. Her Peacekeeper training allowed her to put up a
barricade. What did he have? Nothing, nothing to fall back on -
he had taken everything she had thrown at him. She knew they were
the same person. It didn't ease the pain though. He had died in
her arms - she couldn't lose him again. She had thought it safer
to keep him at arms length. Safer for them both. She let out a heartless
laugh at the irony of it all.
was looking at her now, quizzical and confused. Face pale, eyes
piercing her soul. Saying nothing - so unlike him. She knew him
well though, he was waiting for her. Waiting patiently as always.
are you feeling?" It was a silly question, but she didn't know what
else to say.
laughed softly. Oh how she had missed that sound. "I've been
better. And you?"
now in his condition, he still worried for her "I've been worse."
blinked unsure of what he had heard then smiled. That dam smile
- it was the cause of all her problems. It could melt ice as well
as her resolve. But she felt herself returning the smile in spite
of her self.
looked away first. "I haven't dressed the wound yet. Jool said
I needed to bind it tightly then clean it and dress it. We will
leave tomorrow when you have more strength." It was back -
her Peacekeeper facade. She chewed on her lip again. Why was she
so nervous? She had been in a room alone with him before. She could
handle this - couldn't she?
tried to sit and immediately regretted it wincing. She quickly laid
a hand on his chest and pushed him back gently. "You spoke to Jool?
What did you tell her? What did you tell them?"
lowered her eyes. Shame flooded her. Dam human. Introducing her
to all of these emotions. "I...I...just...I"
never ceased to amaze him. Aeryn Sun, ice maiden, kick ass Peacekeeper,
owner of his soul stuttering! He knew she had lied, or at least
bent the truth. Knew that she couldn't tell their friends what she
had done. "S'ok, tell me what you said. I'll back you up." Then
as an afterthought "It was an accident Aeryn you know that don't
looked at him then. He still believed in her, still trusted her.
He would always be there for her no matter what she did to him.
She could push him away from now till eternity and he would never
be pushed too far. He would always be within reach; she just had
to be the one doing the reaching this time.
just told them that you had been shot and that I, we would answer
their questions when we got back."
nodded. "Sounds good. Mind you, if they ever found out the
truth, they'd probably give you a pat on the back for it. They came
pretty close to shooting me themselves when you were.... away."
Humour. His defence against everything. He used it to hide his hurt,
to defuse a situation, to make her feel better. After
everything, he was still trying to make her feel better.
reached out and touched his face. He drew back, unsure of what to
expect - not from fear, but from past experience she suspected.
She pulled her hand away and stood. "We need to clean the
wound. Do you think you can stand?"
find out" And with that he carefully swung his good leg off
the bed first. He waited until both feet were firmly on the ground
then stood. As soon as he was standing, his leg gave out and he
sat with a thud. He inhaled sharply as pain coursed through his
leg. "Looks like that'll be a no then. Do you think you could
help me a little?"
laughed. Not a response he was expecting. He tilted his head to
one side furrowing his eyebrows. "Wanna share the joke? I could
do with a laugh right about now."
It's not funny. It's just that, I shoot you, and you
apologise to me. I shoot you and you ask if I mind
helping you. Are all humans so forgiving?"
replied without hesitation. "Only with the ones you love..."
He trailed off realising what he had said. "Sorry"
sat beside him putting a hand on his knee. "Don't apologise.
Please, don't apologise. It should be me who is apol..."
she was silenced with a finger to her lips. Their eyes locked. She
could feel her heart pounding and wondered vaguely if he could feel
it too. She hadn't been this close to him since, well since the
other. He didn't try to kiss her, didn't try to move forward. Just
sat, finger to lips, looking at her.
if sensing her turmoil he dropped his hand and said "Right, how
are we gonna do this?"
shook her head slightly trying to rid her mind of his touch, his
scent, and his body. She knew then what was going to happen. Tonight
she was going to reach out. She knew he would never push her, never
infringe on her. It had to be her doing. She smiled slowly. "We
have to remove your pants."
looked down at his legs then back to her "We...We do?"
God, could he do this? Could he keep control? Show her that he was
just her friend? She was so close, yet so far away. He began to
shake his head no.
the wound is on your thigh. We need to remove your pants so that
I can clean the wound. It's that simple." She tried to keep
her face straight, tried to sound nonchalant. It wasn't funny, well
not really. She watched as he struggled with his conscience.
ummm, well, ahh, maybe I can do this on my own?" It sounded like
can barely stand." Before he could argue anymore she ducked down
and began unbuckling his belt. She heard him gasp and draw his stomach
away from her touch. "Am I hurting you?"
answer was soft; almost a whisper but it cut her deep none the less.
"Not in the way you think" She looked up at him but his eyes were
closed. He hadn't meant to inflict the pain back to her. Had said
it without thinking. As he always did. Say first, think later. She
loved that about him; his ability to speak freely, discuss his emotions,
show how he felt. Never trying to analyse them. So unlike her. She
had to dissect everything then say nothing.
had she done to deserve the unconditional love of this man - not
just once but twice? Then be given this chance to correct the error
of her ways? She had shown the other so much and he had basked in
it, become stronger with it.
wanted him, this man in front of her. He was John Crichton and so
was the other. The same person, unique in every way. She had known
that from the beginning. It had just been easier to pretend that
they were different. She didn't want to keep him at a distance anymore.
She couldn't protect him all the time like this. Today was the perfect
example of how short their life could be. An inch higher and he
could be dead now - again.
remained silent as she pulled the leather material slowly down.
He sat up aiding her in her quest to get the pants off. Trusting
her, even if he couldn't trust himself. He bit down on his lip as
the material moved past the wound.
done." He opened his eyes to see her standing, looking down
at him. Trying to keep her eyes on his. Trying not to take in his
body - the one that she had so dearly missed for so long. "Now
we need to shower"
cleared his throat. "We?" he asked weakly. All the while his mind
repeating like a mantra: control, control, control...
we. You can hardly stand John. And under the circumstances it's
the least I can do." He stood then - too quickly. The room
blurred for a second and he felt a hand on his arm. He shook it
away and promptly fell back on the bed. "What the frell are
you trying to do?"
struggled back to a sitting position and tried again to stand. "You
shot me Aeryn. It was an accident. I don't want your sympathy. If
you're going to help me, do it because you want to. Not because
guilt tells you to."
was surprised at the anger in his voice. Had she hurt him so badly?
She swallowed the lump that was forming in her throat. "John
Crichton! Since when have I felt compelled to act on guilt? Anything
I do in this room tonight will not be because I feel guilt, sympathy
or ..." her arms flayed as she tried to think of the word.
He interrupted. She shook her head but he continued, "Then
why?" It sounded hopeful, nervous almost. He hadn't missed
the last part of her conversation, didn't mention it, too afraid
of what the answer might be.
we are friends. Because we are always there for one another. Because
we need each other." With that she took his arm and this time he
didn't try to stop her.
each other?" He echoed, that sounded good, that sounded promising,
maybe they did have a future. He relaxed slightly. He could do this.
He could stay in control. He could be what she needed him to be,
friends. Maybe it wouldn't be so difficult after all.
led him to the bathroom and checked the temperature of the shower.
Once satisfied she made him step in and lean on the wall for support
"Just stand like that, I will be with you in a microt."
did as he was told, concentrating on the wall in front of him. Trying
desperately to focus on some point while the water rinsed the blood
away, acutely aware that he was wearing only boxer shorts. He felt
a movement behind him then arms wrapping around his waist and a
head resting on his shoulder. She felt the tension in his body.
responded, as he always did to that one word "Hey"
stood, body to body. The closeness revealing that she too was clad
as he was - in boxer shorts only. He could feel everything. He caught
his breath, struggling to keep his composure. His hands moved holding
on to either side of the cubicle. Eyes closed in concentration,
trying to keep in control, trying to resist the overwhelming urge
to turn and caress her body. "Aeryn..."
Have I mentioned the fact that you talk to much?" He smiled,
but his body was still rigid. She gently bathed the wound then used
the soap to wash the rest of him - slowly, carefully, teasingly,
afraid that each movement might cause him to panic, to stop her.
He didn't though.
please...I can't.... this isn't very fair" His words were a whisper
and she strained to hear them over the shower.
when was life fair?" She felt him flinch at the words. She
cursed herself; she hadn't meant it to sound that way. "I mean,
don't we deserve some happiness John? Cant we just live for the
moved his head back, closer to hers relishing the friction it caused,
but fearing it too. "Moment, live for the moment." It was a subtle
correction to a saying that he hadn't taught her.
missed you." She continued the rhythm of her movements, cleansing
the wound them circling his stomach with the foamy clothe. She knew
this body. She knew what it liked. It would be so easy to seduce
him. She smiled at his back - wasn't that exactly what she was doing?
Yes this man had taught her some interesting things.
wouldn't believe how much I've missed you." He turned slightly trying
to see her face. "One thing though, I need to know one thing."
this for real? Or is it for tonight?"
knew what he was asking. "One step at a time. Isn't that what
you always say?"
laughed. "One step at a time. Yeah." He moved her backwards
so that she had no other choice but to back out of the shower. She
misread the action and moved quickly away from him.
Where are you going?" He was smiling at her, dripping wet and
looking adorable, nervous and vulnerable.
smiled broadly. "I thought we would be more comfortable on the bed.
That's. If you. Want...I mean..."
yes, that would be perfect as long as you promise not to hurt me."
unless you want me to" God she was back, she was back and she
was with him. He couldn't resist a slight dig.
not trying to take advantage of a wounded, defenceless primitive
being are you?"
smiled again "Not unless you want me to." And with that she pulled
him gently to the bed.
they were friends first, but now? Well, the future was looking decidedly
is appreciated. Contact Angel