by Deneba, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
About Negative Space
Category: Alternate Universe, Character Study, Drama
Warnings: het, language
Characters: Chiana, Harvey, John
Summary: Empty space on one side and Harvey on the other. I'm in the middle, all alone.
Author Notes: Many thanks to Kodiakkemax for her kind support, valuable comments and pointed kicks in the ass.
Story Notes: After DWTB, all y'all posted so many fine stories that I didn't think we needed another. I apparently was wrong. Now that this is posted, maybe it will leave me alone.
Disclaimer: The usual. All hail DK, BB, GE, WP and the other talented people who create Farscape for our enjoyment.
I’m sheeted with sweat, my leathers slick and stinking. The heat kicks off the ground and wavers in the air, suspends the fine dust to coat the town with a dun-colored crust. The grit sifts into my clothes, trickles into my boots, turns to paste when it finds skin.
Harvey sits next to me on the sidewalk, his leathers as cool and crisp as the day he was shoved into my brain. This is one of those times I envy him. I dig my elbows into my complaining stomach and hunch over, trying to convince it by sheer pressure it’s full.
Ten days, no cash and my transport pod was impounded. Damn that gas-guzzling piece of crap. If it hadn’t burned through fuel like fire through a hay field, I’d be on a Sebacean settled world. Maybe find D’Argo. Aw, who the hell am I kidding? It’s Aeryn I want to find.
I’ve been looking for a long time now, just me, myself and my neural clone. This space at my side that I drag from planet to planet; sometimes it seems so heavy. Empty space on one side and Harvey on the other. I’m in the middle, all alone.
Aeryn and her damned coin. Oh wait, that was my damned coin. I’m not a lucky man, I should learn. Fate and luck, fate and luck, put it together and what do you have? Fucked. What? Fucked! Can’t hear you! Completely ass over brain-pan fucked.
‘You need to eat.’
He looks, hunh, maybe just a little scared. The nightmare scared. It’s the little things that float my boat these days.
--Nothing edible on this rock has any nutritional value for Humans, Harv. Not much point.
‘You’ll die here if you don’t eat something. All your plans to find the others will die with you.’
--Your concern is touching, but I’m a long way from dying. I figure I’ve got another couple of days at least.
Never thought I’d see him terrified. Too bad I don’t have the energy to rag on him anymore.
--Relax. I have much more than days. Months. Monens. Whatever.
--Go rifle through my physiology class if you don’t believe me.
Someone trips a sensor, and Grayza’s voice fills the square. The Peacekeepers were thorough. The wanted beacons are placed every twenty metras for your convenience. Maybe I should turn myself in. The trick is to keep the reward and walk away at the same time.
Boots click along the walk, stop next to me. Too small. Damn. She slides down the wall to sit beside me on the pavement.
“You are pathetically easy to find. I don’t know why the Peacekeepers make such a big deal out of it.”
“Hey. Show a little respect for the Scourge of the Uncharted Territories. I’m not hiding from them. They’re hiding from me.”
“Or maybe the Peacekeepers are just stupid.”
She leans into me and I put my arm around her, bury my face in the shock of white hair. She fits there, tight in my armpit like she never left. She smells like home. I wipe my eyes with the back of my hand. One down, six to go.
Chi’s room. At least she’s got one.
I’m dreaming that she’s going down on me, dark hair spread over my thighs, hiding her face. Know I’m dreaming because it feels good, and ‘feels good’ just doesn’t happen to me, not anymore. It’s been so long. Suddenly realize I’m awake. Skin on mine, weight and warmth and soft. Grey, not white. It’s not her and it’s been too long.
Harvey’s watching me, getting off on me getting off. I’ve finally gotten used to him being there. Freaking voyeur.
Damn, it’s so - good.
‘I told you she would be sweet, John.’
I can’t answer, the room is exploding. God . . . oh my god.
She straddles me, bends down. White drops smear her lips and she slips her tongue into my mouth, lets me taste myself. Ash grey hands on my chest, hair sprouting between her fingers. Charcoal nipples are hard points and she’s rubbing against my cock, trying to coax it back to life. All I want is sleep, but she’s there and she didn’t and I should. I’ve missed having someone to should for.
I lick my thumb, ease it between her thighs, press up into her fur. She gasps and starts to move against my hand, head thrown back, air raid siren droning like I remember from down the corridor. Palms outstretched, a monochrome icon blessing me. The grey; it’s all wrong. I rise to the occasion despite myself.
Harvey lies next to me on the bed, cadaverous bathing beauty, centerfold for Goths Monthly. Reaches out to hover his hand over mine on her breast.
‘Always a slave to your hormones, John.’
--How the hell would you know? Oh yeah, never mind.
She lifts. Suddenly I’m inside her and her greyness doesn’t matter.
‘When did you get to be so hard?’
--About two and a half minutes ago. You were there. Don’t bother me.
‘No, really. Think about it.’
--I’m kinda busy here, Harv. Have your people see my people. We’ll do lunch.
‘You used to care about Chiana. Even love her.’
--You’re making Mr. Happy unhappy. Go away.
It’s hard for me to come again with Harvey staring at me from only a few inches away, but I manage. She comes too, shrieking, giving Jool a run for her money.
She leans down, still breathless. She’s soft, her hand stroking my face is soft. Haven’t been looked at with softness for a long time. More than a cycle now. Her tongue slowly glides between my lips, goes deeper. I barely stop myself from pulling away.
She knows, quick hurt in her eyes, shifts, and the softness becomes a smirk.
“Just having a little fun. Isn’t it fun for you?”
“More fun than monkeys, babe. I’m just tired.”
A surge, and she’s up. Air cools the wet. Lies next to me, against me, the un-Harvey side and plucks at my chest hair. Harvey smiles.
Snug as a bug in a rug. Three of us in my bed and the place at my side is still empty. Her bed. Whatever.
Harvey lounges on the bed as I pace. Seven steps to the door. Turn. Seven steps back. The air is thick, motionless, and carries the smell of the furry black mold in the shower. The critters living in the corners of the ceiling tense every time I pass by, drop to dash under the bed when I’m far enough away. I don’t want to think about what they’re doing under there.
I snag another fruit from the bag Chiana brought and bite down. The juice gushes into my mouth, soaks into my starved tissues. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted anything this good. Food and sex, four of my top ten favorite things in a single solar day. Hot damn. All I need now is beer and galactic peace and I can call it a life. And this lamp. And that ashtray. And Aeryn. Actually, keep the lamp and the ashtray. And galactic peace.
Shouldn’t have let it happen with Chi. There’s no putting the toothpaste back in that tube.
She’s puttering around, watching me, her flimsy robe barely covering her interesting parts.
“Are you okay?”
No, thanks for asking, I’m not. I haven’t been okay for a long time.
“I’m fine. Ice cream and cherry pie.”
“We, ah, are we okay? It was . . . good?”
“We’re great. It was great. Good for you?”
“Great. Just great.”
The conversation runs down, and neither of us have the key to wind it up again. It’s too uncomfortable to talk to her right now. She’s confused and I don’t know how to make her unconfused, not without ripping her heart out in the process.
Harvey blows me a kiss. I hate when he does that.
There’s no place to sit but the edge of the bed. Her stuff is strewn all over the room, a half-packed bag on the only chair. Probably safer to move it and sit there instead.
“So you found Nerri.”
“He sent me away. I’m a liability. He called me ‘hostage fodder’.” She’s barely not crying, fighting for control.
‘He’s colder than you, John.’
--I’m not cold. I’m hard. Make up your mind.
‘Whatever you like. It’s your mind.’
She’s losing it, the wetness pooling too fast for her to stop it from overflowing. That son of a bitch.
“Hey, come on.” Give her a hug, you bastard. “He’s right. He’s safer with you out of the picture. He needs you to stay safe so he can keep doing what he’s doing. And I need you. I need you to help me find Moya.”
“And Aeryn.” She doesn’t miss a beat. She pulls away from me, fists in her eyes to stop the tears.
“And D’Argo and Rygel. Maybe not Jool.”
She smiles at that, a watery grey little smile. I’ve always been able to make her smile.
‘I think she bought it.’
--I wasn’t selling. Harvey. I love Chiana. Stop it.
‘Who are you trying to convince, John? Even if it’s me, it’s you.’
--Fuck off, Harv.
She’s quiet. She looks down at her hands, twisting together in her lap like they are somehow independent of her; picks idly at a torn cuticle. Her hair hides most of the wet streaks, but the drops fall and spot her sleeves.
“I wanted . . . to help. I-I wanted to . . . to be with him.” Her whisper is a rustle, barely disturbing the air. So small, how could she disturb anything? “He-he said there was no place for me there.”
All the brashness and the come-ons, the constant package checks and drive-by groping. It’s all a cover for this little girl who takes up almost no space. What she wants is so simple. It shouldn’t be this hard.
“That’s because he knows your place is with us. Nerri loves you, you know that, right? He wants you to be safe.”
“Yeah. Great. I’m . . . safe.”
I put my arm around her again, tuck her against my side. She’s limp, a rag doll left in the yard. She reaches out, her hand shaking, and takes mine from my thigh. Slides it under her robe to cover her breast. She holds it there, her nipple pebbling against my palm. I try to gently remove it, but she’s stronger than she looks, and I can’t pull away without yanking.
“Crichton, I-I need - I need . . . Nerri, he . . . he wouldn’t.”
I know what it is to need. The years gone by waiting for Aeryn, nights alone, even after the word ‘love’. “Beyond hope” I told her, and it’s been way beyond hope, the loneliness eating my heart bit by bloody bit. Love’s become more of a habit than a feeling.
Fluid morality. It turns out there are no absolutes. He’s her brother, she’s too young, I’m too old. None of it matters. This is what she needs. That’s the only yard stick that counts right now.
“C’mere, baby.” I scoop her into my lap and hold her close, lean down to finish the kiss she started earlier. The tears on her lips salt the trace of sweetness from the fruit still on mine. Fresh tears start, and I rest her head against my shoulder and rock her. She is bird-light in my arms, delicate bones stretched with compact muscle, fragile and strong.
She stretches up to put her arms around my neck, holding on for dear life. I ease her back and edge her robe off one shoulder.
“This okay?” It’s necessary to ask, even though she asked me.
She nods and crumples the front of my shirt in her fist, drops her head. Her knuckles poke white through the grey.
“I didn’t think you would.” Her voice is low, raw.
I tip her chin up to look into her eyes, wipe the tears still tracking her cheek with my thumb.
“I’ve always wanted you, Chiana. Always.”
“Yeah.” She grimaces, trying to smile. “I know. It’s just never going to be right, is it?”
“It’s right now.”
Those black eyes. Opaque darkness can show so much. She kisses me tentatively, like she’s asking permission. I break while pulling her closer.
“Hey. Let me do this. Let me make love to you.”
She doesn’t know how to answer. I don’t think anyone has ever asked her before. I set her on the bed, peel off my shirt, kneel in front of her. Harvey sits next to her, silent for once, all sphinx-smirk and cynicism. I ignore him and take her hands, hold them in mine, palms up. Kiss the hollow of each one, her fingers trailing across my face. She gapes at me and almost snatches her hands away until she realizes I’m not mocking her.
I run my hand up her arm to the other shoulder, push the fabric down to expose her pale skin. She starts to open her robe and I stop her.
“No. Let me.” My lips follow my hands and she shivers.
I leave her covered. I need to be naked before I undress her, and drop my pants and shorts to the floor. I pick her up again and move her to the middle of the bed, lie down next to her. She looks apprehensive, like this has never happened before. Maybe it hasn’t, not this way.
“Are you okay, sweetheart?”
“Yeah. Crichton . . . John. I-I’m okay.”
‘John’ - it hits like a sharp rock. It’s been a long time since I heard it in a feminine voice, before Aeryn refused to give it back to me. Harvey’s made it his own. It's Chiana’s gift to me, when I only expected to give to her.
I leave the robe closed for the moment and touch her lightly over it, rough skin snagging on the fabric. I skirt the obvious erogenous zones and concentrate on face, arms, belly and legs to relax her and connect. Her body loosens and she flows, her breathing deeper and more deliberate.
Slide my hand under the edge of her robe. Such smooth skin, unmarked except for her Nebari shading. Watch her face as I find her breast and circle the taut nipple with a finger tip. She is bare, open, her lips parted as she takes sips of breath. She turns to me and pleads without a word. I move down to replace my hand with my mouth, gently tongue her nipple and scrape my teeth over the tip. She makes small mewling sounds and twists her fingers in my hair, her nails scrabbling against my scalp.
Two breasts, one mouth. I switch off, my hand caressing one breast while my mouth discovers the other. She pushes up against my lips and I draw her nipple into a firm peak. The mewling deepens into soft moans and I moan with her, aroused by her excitement. I want to feel her and press my erection against her leg.
Run my fingers down the flat of her stomach and curve them over her furred mound, middle finger pressing lightly against the seam of her folds. She opens her thighs and my finger slips into moist and warm. A slight rocking motion of the heel of my hand on her pubic bone and I’m just brushing against her hardening knot. I suckle at her breast again, creating a circuit to increase the tension. She’s whimpering now, and thrusts up against my hand, seeking pressure. I maintain the light contact, and she thrusts harder. I back off again.
“Shh, baby. Not yet.”
“John . . . ” My name is almost silent, barely making it past her lips, but still loud enough to reach inside of me and fill a part of that vacant place behind my heart. Enough to give me back a piece of what I left in the hangar bay the day Aeryn left.
She doesn’t even know what she’s given me.
I slide down and over her, pushing her thighs open further so I can lie between them. My cock throbs against the bed as I dip down to taste her, sharp and silver and sweet. Her hair is soft on my face, her scent is crisp. Lift her hips to my mouth like a melon. Her juices flush and I gather them with my tongue, drawing her small nodule between my lips to make more.
She gasps and her body stiffens as I lap at her, swirling and sucking all of her furrows and folds. I find her opening with my finger and push inside, hoping that her anatomy corresponds to human as I stroke her inner wall. Lick faster as her hips lift off the bed and her muscles lock. She’s transfixed, not breathing and begins shuddering silently, wave after wave passing through her body. Her mouth is open, eyes squeezed shut and the shuddering intensifies. Her muscles spasm around my finger and her mound is pressed against my lips as I suck her hard. She collapses suddenly to the bed, panting. I take one last slow taste and she jerks and cries out.
I lay my head on her abdomen. She fumbles with my hair as she catches her breath, her movements shaky and repetitive. A minute or so passes and she reaches down to pull at my hand on her waist.
Her eyes are hidden behind her hair.
“I want you.”
“I want you too.”
I’m afraid to cover her, she’s so slight, but I’m thinner than I was. If I take my weight on my elbows I shouldn’t be too heavy.
She wraps her legs around my waist, making it easy to find her wet opening. God, she feels so good, tight and warm. I push in slowly, and she tightens even more. She’s got her arms around my neck, and I gather her up and sit back on my feet, lifting her into my lap. I can hold her without crushing her in this position. I pull her against my chest and weave my fingers through her hair, her heart beating against mine.
It’s a slow, easy rocking horse motion for a while, smooth, unhurried. The moment lengthens and stops. It’s just her and me, breathing together, the gentle pulse of her muscles matching my stroke. She fits here in my lap, a double armful of sweetness and sass. She’s beautiful. I don’t think I’ve ever told her.
She begins to grip my cock again, and I thrust faster, the heavy ache building in my groin. I want to make it good for her, and slow a little to make sure she comes first.
She starts to lean back over my arm, her breasts forced up. I lock my hands behind her back as she arcs back further, her hair plumed behind her almost to the bed. She’s moving on my cock, and she’s making that high-pitched sound and oh god, I don’t know if I can hold back any longer. It’s white and dark and god, oh god please let me last just another minute just another minute god it’s so good so good so good so good.
Breathe, just breathe, yeah, that’s good. She’s limp in my hands, her eyes closed, her pulse throbbing in her throat. I lower her to the bed, lie next to her and cradle her in my arms, her head in the hollow of my shoulder. She fits her fingers in the spaces between my ribs. My heart is jumping, slowing as the seconds pass to minutes. I don’t remember her hair being this fine, soft like down.
She feels good.
“John.” Her breath puffs against my chest, ruffles through the hair.
“Aeryn left you. Why are you going after her?”
I’m surprised it took her this long to ask.
“She’s pregnant. It’s my child.”
She considers that, doesn’t say the obvious. They’re still my genes.
“It was her choice to leave.”
“Yeah, and it’s my choice to go after her.”
“What if she doesn’t want that?”
“I’ll deal with that when I find her.”
She’s quiet for a few minutes, and I’m beginning to think she’s fallen asleep. Hoping anyway. I wanted to talk about this later, not right after making love with her. Love. Hunh.
“I’ll help you find her.”
Moisture stings my eyes, and I hold her tighter, kiss the top of her head. She looks up at me and I brush that soft alien hair out of her eyes so I can see her better. She’s so beautiful. Harvey leans over me, grinning like Death. I’m in the middle, her on one side, him on the other. That’s enough for now.