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cried out in pain. He thrashed against the chains then bowed his
head. John mumbled, "Oh GodŠŠŠoh GodŠŠŠI'm sorry.ŠŠ..I'm so
grinned, his goal achieved. "My GodŠŠŠmy GodŠŠŠ AerynŠŠŠIŠŠŠ"
John choked on the lump in his throat forcing him to dry heave.
Then his voice flared in anger. "NoŠŠŠNO, you frelling ass
it's a lieŠyou're lying. You're frelling with my head." John
spat into Scorpy's face.
sneered and grabbed John's chin twisting it, forcing him to look
at his blood stained hands. Dried blood was still stuck under his
fingernails, a constant reminder of how he lost her. "Oh am
I, John. The smell of blood," he inhaled deeply and tilted
his head, "is not yours. She is still covering you." He
lifted the bloodied shirt to John's face, smearing her blood onto
moaned out. "NoŠŠŠNoŠŠŠ" Scorpius tossed John back. His
eyes widened and he jerked back then forth. "My GodŠŠŠshe never
did leaveŠŠŠshe was here, before. It was her. It's herŠthat I still
feel." John hung limply speaking in broken sobs. "I could
always feel her without seeing her. Oh God, it's still her, she's
here. But now, Oh God, she's gone, she's really gone." John
coughed and tried to steady his voice. "Kill me. Please, just
kill me now. Why? Why did you remind me? Huh? Why?" John paused
waiting for an answer that did not come. "You sadistic bastard,
I want you to think."
shook his head, "Nuh huh, No WAY! No more thinking. Closed
for frelling remodeling."
John. Are you sure that's what happened?" John's serious
gaze met Scorpius's gleeful eyes. "Come now," John sobbed
silently making no attempt to remember anything else. Scorpius raised
John's tear stained face. He looked into the human's eyes with a
gaze that penetrated to John's core. John tried to look away but
was too weak to resist, "Think!"
sat at the head of the table in the gallery, Aeryn at her right,
D'Argo next to her; Zhaan on her left, Rygel next to her. Rygel
was smoothly taking food cubes from the center and placing them
in his cloak. Chiana spoke up against Rygel taking John's share.
Rygel snapped back insisting on his superiority, and therefore,
he should have more. D'Argo bounded across the table grabbing the
Hynerian by the collar and pushed him away from the table, "Touch
one more cube, and I'll blow you out the airlock."
hovered into John's room. He looked around nervously, making sure
the room was unoccupied. Convinced he was alone, he hovered to John's
bedside table. He took the cubes from his cloak, placing them on
stood outside her quarters pulling on a leather strap. She squeaked
in frustration, "FrellŠwhy do you have to be so stubborn?"
With a final tug, she accomplished her task. The Hynerian Donkey
strolled out of the cell as Chiana fell to the floor.
stood in her quarters slightly leaning into her hip. She moved closer
to the bed, licking her lips. Crais pounced from the shadows taking
Aeryn to the bed, landing on top. She giggled and wrapped her arms
around his neck, tracing down his back.
and Scorpius held hands, skipped down the hall and sang "Tip
ToeŠthrough the Tulips."
eyes bulged in a double take, "SWEET MERCIFUL CRAP!!!!!!"
John blurted out, "What the FRELL was that?"
sniffed then grinned. "Mmmm. So what now?"
glared and looked up to see the stars. He lowered his eyes, blinked,
and looked back. They were gone. "Gee, I don't know, ScorpyŠor
is it Harvey." John struggled as hard as he could against the
chains, but they didn't budge.
snickered. "Oh come now, John. You have to try harder then
pulled and pulled but the chains barely gave way. Then John heard
a familiar voice calling him. "John." It was D'Argo.
"JOHN!" John clung to that voice and pulled again. He
felt the chains loosen but he was still bound. His wrists began
clenched his teeth, "Damn you, Harvey. LET! ME! GO!" With
a final jerk the chains dislodged; John and the metal fell to the
floor in a heap. He breathed heavily from the frustration and pain.
lifted John's head to look into his eyes, "Good, John."
opened his eyes and blinked hard. He lay on his stomach on the Terrace
facing the door. A large boot landed inches from his head. John
looked up to see a very impatient Luxon. "John, did you collect
all those crystals like I asked you?" John groaned but didn't
move. D'Argo exhaled and turned to leave, "Who'm I kidding.
I know that answer."
sat up in a bolt. "Frell!" He looked at his hands: no
blood. "AERYN." John pushed passed D'Argo and ran to Aeryn's
quarters. He palmed the door and slowly stepped in. A long figure
lay completely covered from head to toe with a gold sheet. John
raced over and pulled the blanket off the figure.
bolted up. "CRICHTONŠ WHAT THE FRELL ARE YOU DOING?"
bent within an inch of her face then stood straight. She slowly
repositioned herself, her feet now on the floor. John moved his
hand hesitantly, touching the skin on her knee. ŒShe's real'. He
couldn't believe it. "Aeryn, you're Alive. I could KISS you!"
stood matching his height, "Crichton, I was sleeping. I could
KILL you!" She crossed her arms over her chest.
put his right hand under his chin in the "Thinker" position,
contemplating consequences. A grin spread across his face. He grabbed
her, trapping her arms against his chest, pulling her as close as
he could. "HmmmŠI think I'll take that risk." John ran
his hands through her hair and rested at the back of her neck. He
pushed his lips to hers, coaxing them to open. She tensed, relaxed,
then responded. When she parted her lips, allowing him to deepen
the embrace, he thought he was safeŠat least for now. When neither
could breathe, he broke the kiss and sat her on the bed. He backed
to the door, never leaving her eyes.
body tensed and eyes fired. He flashed a grin, attempting to calm
her but with no success. She clenched her fists, "CRICHTON!"
She pounced at his direction just as he darted down the corridor.
"Get the frell back here!" She chased him down the corridor,
following closely behind.
ran into Pilot's den and dove behind his panel. "Commander
interrupted before Pilot could finish. "Look, Please Pilot."
John breathed heavily. "Aeryn's after me. Just don't tell
her I'm here." Pilot was about to question. "PLEASE,
PilotŠor you'll be cleaning pieces of me out of this system for
then, Aeryn crashed into the den, "WHERE IS HE?" She glowered
at Pilot. "Where?"
understood John's reason for hiding. He knew that Aeryn's angry
side was extremely dangerous and the DRDs had more important tasks
than gathering bits of the Commander out of his panel. "Officer
Sun, Rygel is in his quarters."
approached the panel and slammed her fist onto it, bringing an involuntary
gasp from John. "No, Crichton. Where is Crichton?"
responded, "Officer Sun, he is on the Terrace." Pilot
silently wished Aeryn would leave, seeing the rage in her eyes.
He feared for John. She paused then ran out of the den.
waited and waited, convinced that Aeryn hadn't left. Pilot spoke,
"It's alright, CommanderŠshe is gone. What is wrong? Is everything
wiggled out and jumped in front of the panel to stand in front of
Pilot. He looked back nervously. "JeezŠI didn't think it
would set her off like that." He looked at Pilot, "I
mean, dren, all I did was scare the crap out of her, waking her
up, kissed her as hard as I could, then left her standing there
like --" John's eyes widened. "Oh." He snickered,
"As they say in Peacekeeper Ebonics, ŒWe be frelled."
took John half an arn, but he made it back to his quarters without
being seen. He quickly entered, closed, and locked the door. He
backed away a few steps, still staring at the door, waiting for
the inevitable. "Damn Man! I was happy to see her. I couldn't
help it. Was that so wrong?"
turned around and found himself face to face with a very familiar
Sebacean. Within microts, he was on the ground, completely immobilized
and Aeryn on his chest in a very familiar position. "Now,
Crichton. What the frell has gotten into you?"
grinned. He struggled to breathe but also didn't really want her
to move. "Oh you know, same old, same old. Little of this,
little a that."
thrust her hips into his chest forcing him to gasp in pain, "Wrong
it passed, he looked up into her stern gaze, "Hey uhm, Babes,
if you're gonna want me to answer anythingŠŠŠyou'd best not do that."
He grinned. "Cuz when you do my mind is so TOTALLY elsewhere."
squeezed tighter, "What is it you say, Crichton? ŒGet your
mind out of the butter!'"
closed his eyes, "No, Aeryn -- it's Gutter. Gutter, not butter."
He looked back at her, "Get your mind out of the Gutter."
She spoke through clenched teeth. "Come on." Her tone
suddenly serious, "Why did you look at me like I was a ghost?"
looked away, "Because IŠŠŠI uhŠŠŠthought you were, at first."
He bent his arms and caressed her lower back and waist. Aeryn shuddered
at the touch, "But you're not, cuz you're here -- with me.
God, you're really here!" He slowly pushed her back and eased
her between his legs each mirroring the other. Aeryn made no attempt
to stop him, but only held his bottomless gaze. He placed his palm
on her cheek and with the other hand brushed away a loose strand
of hair. "Oh Baby, you're really here."
leaned into his hand then pulled them both from her face and held
them, wrapping her fingers through his. Her inner barriers fell
and her openly receptive eyes searched his. "John, what are
you talking about? Tell me."
looked down at his hands entwined with Aeryn's. He exhaled, "It'sŠŠŠ
complicated and wellŠŠŠ" he brought her hand to his lips and
kissed her fingers. " I don't really know how to begin."
His shoulders rose in fell with the silent sobs he refused to allow
cupped his face in her hands then ran her right hand through his
hair, "Try, John. Please, tell me."
sighed and looked down, "It's Scorpy, or Harvey as I like to
call him. You see he's totally frelling with my head. I thought
I was captured and in this cell andŠŠŠhe had me relive the previous
days experiences. But they weren't real. It was just one Frelling
hallucination after another." Aeryn was about to speak but
John continued, "Moya was unconscious and the systems were
temporarily down. And we were trying to fix them butŠŠŠwell, environmental
was so frelled up and it was getting hot. And then there was youŠŠŠthe
heat was just so much." He looked into her eyes reflecting
back his fears and feelings. "Well, to make a long story short,
we said some stuff and you asked me to end your pain." Her
eyes widened at the realization of where this was going. She took
his hands in hers. "Oh God, Baby. I couldn't believe it was
happening. I mean, how could I kill you?" John tilted his head
back and brokenly exhaled. "I mean to kill the one thing that
has kept me going ŠŠŠit wasŠŠŠit was," He looked into her
eyes. "I can't believe I did it." He sniffed and his voice
was now stern and serious, "I mean you asked me again as a
friend and familyŠŠŠbut than you asked me to end your pain as something
more. IŠŠŠI couldn't say No." He looked at their hands and
whispered almost inaudibly, "I never could say no to you no
matter what you asked." He squeezed her hands tight, his voice
returning to normal volume. "But God, I couldn't bear to see
you like that. The painŠŠŠ" John shuddered, "Even nowŠŠŠthat
look of pure torture and agony." He bowed his head as far as
he could, leaning over in an almost fetal position unable to hold
back the floodgates any longer. "God Baby, I did itŠŠŠI ran
you through and IŠŠŠI'm sorryŠŠŠyou were in so much pain but IŠŠŠOh
repositioned onto her knees, leaning back on her heels and pulled
him towards her. He buried his head in her lap, comforted by the
cool, familiar leather against his skin. She stroked his hair and
whispered, "Shhh, John. It's all right. I'm here."
let out a cry and wrapped his arms around her waist, reminding himself
that she was flesh and blood, real flesh and blood. She ran
her fingers through his hair and stopped at the nape of his neck,
massaging his tension away. Harvey lay on John's bed, his arms crossed
behind his head, "Cha-ChingŠŠŠBonus Points!"
pulled himself further into her lap, until the top of his head touched
her stomach. He shook his head violently. Aeryn rubbed his shoulder
and whispered soothingly, "ShhhŠit ok. It wasn't real. I'm
still here." His sobs calmed, and John turned his head so his
right cheek rested between her thighs. "It's OK. JohnŠŠŠlook
at me. It wasn't real. I'm here now, and I'm not going anywhere."
Aeryn paused and caressed his cheek. "JohnŠŠŠI won't leave
slowly slid from her lap struggling to kneel in the same position
as Aeryn. He wiped the tears from his eyes and brokenly spoke, "But
I killed youŠŠŠI can't believe I,"
it." Aeryn looked him in the eye. "You did what I would
have asked. You put your own feelings aside for me." He brushed
his hand across her jaw and down her neck. She whispered, "Thank
searched her eyes only to see comfort and truth staring back. He
pulled her into his arms hugging her and buried his face in her
hair. He mumbled inaudible words and apologies.
could feel drops fall onto her shoulder. He wrapped his arms tightly
around her as his hands caressed her back. She pulled her head back
and he brought his forehead to hers. "John, what can I do?"
smiled and sat back on his rear, leaning against the wall, his knees
apart and bent. He whispered. "JustŠŠŠstay with me." She
turned and leaned into his chest tilting her head back onto his
shoulder. He wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her close.
smiled and pulled his arms even tighter. John nestled his chin into
her shoulder and contently mumbled. He still couldn't believe she
was here and in his arms. But she always did have a tendency of
surprising him. She muttered something breaking his chain of thought.
John had to tell her now, had to tell her how he felt and how much
she meant to him. He would tell her that he loved her. John cleared
his throat, "UhŠAeryn, IŠŠŠ" he paused.
is it, John?"
heart raced, "I uhŠŠŠ" John paused again gathering the
courage to admit his love. "Thank you." John let out
the breath he didn't realize he was holding. She wasn't ready to
hear it or he wasn't ready to say it. But the words would not pass
through his lips. She just smiled
stood at the couple's feet. He knelt down, trying to get John's
attention. "Oh, John." Harvey tilted his head to look
John in the face. "You know, John, you should live life in
the momentŠbecause." Harvey paused. "You never see the
curve ball coming. Who knows what hand you'll be dealt next."