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Time Keeps on Slippin'
by Diene, E-mail: Dienecian@hotmail.com

About Time Keeps on Slippin'

Rating: R...just to be safe.

Disclaimer: I do not own Farscape, the characters, the English language, or anything involving anything. They are the property of Sci-Fi, Jim Henson, etc.

Summary: Scorpius shows John that time doesn’t last forever. J/A and trouble (as usual)

Category: Comedy, Romance, Drama.

Spoilers: This fic is right before "A Clockwork Nebari."

Special Thanks to Iden, the guy in the box, (don’t ask yet.) who gave ideas, Matt the Human Ranger for keeping Iden from completely destroying my poetic writing.


John Crichton hung in a dark cell. The shackles on his wrists chafed the skin, his arms drawn out at a 45-degree angle. John looked up but was unable to see where the chains connected, only darkness. "What the," John squeezed his eyes shut then reopened them trying to gather his bearings. He tugged at the chains but with no success. "How the hell," Scorpius appeared out of the dark corner of the cell. John hung his head resigning, "Yup, it figures."

Scorpius grinned, "Hello, John. Isn't life full of irony?"

John snickered. "Actually, I prefer to say that I'm the universe's personal hackysack."

Scorpius walked towards John, crossing his arms behind him, "Mmmmm. To each his own."

John lifted his head and exhaled, "So. What's the drill? Am I going back into that Dentist chair of yours?"

"John," Scorpius grinned and shook his head, "Do you really think that you'd survive in your present state?"

John cocked his head to the left. "All right Satan's little helper, you gonna tell me how I got here? Cuz I can't remember shit."

Scorpius tilted his head in the same direction, "Why, Don't you remember when all this began?"

John looked up and sarcastically answered, "When I was catapulted through that frelling wormhole."

Scorpius snickered, "Ah, John. Always the Joker."

John's tone became suddenly serious, "Who's joking?"

"Not that far back. Try yesterday." John stared, disinterested. "Go ahead, John. Try." John closed his eyes and memory overwhelmed him.

********

John awoke in his chambers, the sheets tangled in his legs from the restless sleep. The lights brighten as the day, or what could be called a day on Moya, began. John sat up dangling his legs off the side of the bed. He leaned over, resting his forearms on his thighs and hung his head.

The heel of a hand hit his forehead and John felt fingers on the top of his head. The hand pushed John's head back to raise his eyes. Scorpy stood in front of him, smiling, "Wakie, Wakie, John. Its time for football practice."

John whacked Scorpy's hand away, stood, and walked to the showers. Steam filled the room, allowing John to relax in the comfort. The hot water pounded against his tensed body, relaxing the muscles. He lathered the soap, inhaling the intoxicating aroma. John lifted his face to the streaming water. He grumbled deep in his throat. John lingered for a few minutes then shook his head. He turned off the water and scratched his head, splattering the water from his hair.

John stepped out of the shower to see writing on the fogged mirror, ‘I STILL WANT TO KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST CYCLE.' John hacked back and spat on the mirror; the writing disappeared. He grinned and shook his head, "You want to know...pfff, I don't even frelling know!" He snickered, wrapped the towel around his waist, and walked to his room. Scorpy was nowhere to be seen.

John walked to his chair where his clothes had been flung the night before. He pulled the leather pants and black T-shirt onto his still wet body. He ran his fingers through his hair and turned to see Scorpy standing by the door. Scorpy wore a long brown cloak tied at the waist; a wide brim hat hugged his brow. His left hand held a rope tied around the neck of a mule. His right hand held the reigns of a magnificent black steed clad in leather and armor and ready for battle. Scorpy grinned, "Where do we go from here, Don Quixote?"

John threw his arms into the air, "Oh. I don't know. Maybe take on a couple of windmills, joust with a Scarran. What do ya think?" John burst out of his quarters and headed down the hall.

Scorpy skipped behind breaking into song, "49 bottles of beer on the wall. 49 bottles of beer," John stopped at the intersection of five corridors. "John, do you know where you're going?" John looked around confused. Scorpy stopped right behind John, raised his hand, and pointed down one of the halls. John raised his hand and pointed down the same hall. "Good boy. Now go on."

John continued down the designated hall with Scorpy following close behind. John broke into song, "48 bottles of beer on the wall. 48 bottles of beer,"

A flash of white light and suddenly the hall changed to the gallery.

D'Argo, Chiana, Zhaan, Aeryn, and Rygel sat at the table; a pile of food cubes in the center. Rygel took cubes from the center and nonchalantly hid them in his cloak. Scorpius appeared behind Aeryn, who sat at the head of the table. He snapped his fingers and all the beings stopped in mid motion. "John Crichton had been avoiding the crew for the last few days."

********

"Hey, Hey, HEY!" John's tone grew as the words flowed. "How do I know that happened when I wasn't frelling there?" Crichton grinned thinking he had the half-breed beat.

Scorpius leaned against the cinder block wall, his arms crossed over his chest, "Artistic License. I'm just helping you with the details. They might be of great interest to you."

"HA! Wonderful." John scoffed. "I'm stuck in this generic torture chamber with the Peacekeeper version of Shakespeare." John cleared his throat then spoke with an exaggerated English accent, "To be or not to be, that is the question." John threw back his head laughing.

"That's simple, John," Scorpius responded. "It is within the nature of creatures of my -- and, I am assuming, your -- intelligence level to survive. The answer is To Be."

John lowered his gaze to meet Scorpius's stare. "Rhetorical Question. You know... not to be answered -- at least by you."

"Can we get back to the events at hand now, John?"

The human nodded, consenting.

********

The crew sat motionless; Moya consciously hummed around them. The DRDs passed in the hall completely unaware of the crew's current condition. Scorpius reappeared behind Aeryn, knelt at her side brushing her cheek and tucked her hair behind her ear. "She is quite lovely, John. Have you compared her to a summer's day yet?" Scorpius laughed, snapped his fingers and disappeared.

The crew began to move at the snap as if nothing had happened. Zhaan sat with a solemn face, slowly eating. Rygel ate his own cubes with the right hand and stuffed his cloak with the left. The Delvian at his right did not notice, but the Nebari across from him did.

Chiana cocked her head to the right. Her voice squeaked as usual, "Excuse me, your lowness, but you're eating Crichton's share."

Rygel looked at Chiana, "Well, it's that Yotz's fault for not showing up." He straightened in an attempt to look regal. "As dominor to over 600 billion subjects, I am the most important member of this crew, and therefore, I should get the most food."

Aeryn looked up from the head, twirling a food cube in her fingers. "Oh would you Shut Up, Rygel." She said half laughing, making an unsuccessful attempt of her own to appear serious at the Dominor's solemn intent.

D'Argo hissed. "Who the frell are you to decide who's the most important member of this crew. The Vork did more around here than you've done in the last two cycles!"

"It was MY superior negotiating that brought all of this food, MY food, that you are now eating on to Moya." Rygel answered diplomatically, "I am allowing you to consume my food. So," A food cube sailed across the table, hitting Rygel between the eyes. "You ... you little Trelk!" Chiana giggled and Aeryn snickered quietly. D'Argo grinned at Rygel's stunned expression. Rygel glared at them and popped the projectile into his mouth. Unseen in the commotion, Zhaan slipped a handful of cubes into her cloak.

A WHITE FLASH

Zhaan opened the door to John's empty quarters. She slowly crept to the table beside his bed and took the cubes from her cloak placing them on the dresser. She knew John had been troubled and respected his silent request for solitude. "Goddess be with you, John. May you find the peace of mind you so desire." She turned and walked out.

A WHITE FLASH

Aeryn slowly walked into her quarters. It had been twelve arns since the crew was last together in the gallery and she was exhausted. She had been working nonstop and D'Argo had just relieved her of her duties. She sat on her bed resting her head in her hands. Scorpius appeared next to Aeryn. He ran his fingers over her glistening shoulder and down her back. Aeryn shuddered at the unknown physical contact. Scorpius brought the sweat-covered finger to his mouth, "John, did you notice it getting warmer on Moya?" Scorpius leered at Aeryn. "She certainly did."

********

John shook his head and pulled at the chains. His wrists were sore from supporting the weight of his body. John looked down to the floor, for the first time noticing his bare feet and the dirt floor. He clenched his teeth. "But why? Why the heat?"

Scorpius stepped in front of John. He tapped John's forehead, "What's the matter, John. Don't you remember? Did something happen?" John looked to the ceiling and closed his eyes straining to remember. "Did something," Scorpius tilted his head, "collide, John?"

John's eyes widened at the word. "Collide." He hung his head. "My God. The asteroid. It," his voice was soft and weak, "it collided with Moya a few arns, or day, or weekens, or I don't frelling know. How long have I been here anyway? Forget it, doesn't matter. Anyway, she was unconscious, or still is, or whatever! Advanced Life support, Environmental --it's all frelling broke."

"Mmmm, yes." Scorpius came within an inch of John's face, "What happened next?" John's eyes fluttered shut.

********

John stood at a panel in the docking bay, tweaking and tuning, attempting to repair the docking bay doors. The asteroid had forced the doors shut and John thought that if they could get Aeryn off the ship, she would survive. He reached out and Scorpy handed him a wrench. Scorpy walked to the nose of Farscape I; he started to bang it like a drum. John lifted his head upon recognizing the beat, "Hey -- George of the Jungle. Cut it out!" He wiped the sweat from his brow and tapped his COM, "Hey Pilot, it's getting warmer in here and I can't seem to fix the........."

John turned to see Scorpy wearing a grass skirt, doing the hula, "Aloha Johnny. Welcome to Maui."

John rolled his eyes. "I know, Commander." Pilot responded. "Environmental controls are still severely malfunctioning." John left the docking bay. "The DRDs and D'Argo are working as efficiently as possible."

"OK. Where's D'Argo? Is there anything else I can do?" John walked towards command, assuming that's where D'Argo would be.

"You can go to Tier 4 and try to assist him."

"Ok. I'm going to see what I can do." John said while changing direction

A WHITE FLASH

Aeryn stood in her quarters. She pulled the sweat-soaked gray shirt over her head, leaving her in just leather pants and a black sports bra. She leaned back against the panel and slowly slid down. She slicked her hair away from her face and looked out her door.

She saw John's blurred figure pass and stop short when he caught a glimpse of her figure. Her lips turned up at the corners; she rested her head against the wall. She bent her knees and rested her forearms on them, her wrists loose allowing her hands to hang limply. John called for her. Her gray eyes met his from across the room. She smiled and he returned the gesture. Scorpius stepped into view behind John. Her eyes flared with anger; John returned the look, confused. Scorpius drew a knife and stood behind John the same way Larraq had held her about a cycle earlier. She struggled to her feet just as Scorpius plunged the knife into his side. "JOHN!!!" Aeryn stood and tried to walk to him, but her legs buckled, too weak now to support her. She collapsed to the ground as Scorpius dragged John away

A WHITE FLASH

Pilot looked at Zhaan with concern, "She said that dream has been vivid for the last ten solar days. And now with the current situation, she is unusually tense and highly alert."

Zhaan looked at Pilot comfortingly, "Do not worry, Pilot. We are doing everything we can. John will not let her go. None of us will." Zhaan brushed his cheek and stayed in the den trying to give as much comfort as she could.

********

John's eyes widened; the presence of the chains escaping him. "Fabulous. She's finally dreamin' about me and I DIE!"

Scorpius exhaled. "Do you mind, John? Are you finished?" John nodded.

********

John walked up to a nexus cluster that D'Argo was attempting to rewire. "Hey, Big Guy." John stretched out his arms. "The Calvary has arrived!" John grinned as the untranslatable Luxon dialogue escaped from his fellow shipmate. "No, D'Argo.........you're doing it wrong.........not red wire to Black wire.........its red wire to.........AGHHH!" An electrical surge knocked both off their feet.

Scorpy materialized behind the panel in a stewardess outfit and said, "In case of an emergency, exits are located towards the back," pointing to the door.

D'Argo was the first to his feet. John sat up and rubbed his head as more untranslatable Luxon dialogue echoed through the bay. D'Argo tapped his COM, "Pilot. Pilot, the systems are," The lights flickered then blacked out. D'Argo let out a string of profanities. "How much longer now?"

"Four arns until environmental is back under control."

John's eyes widened, "Pilot, how much longer until Aeryn.........I mean, how long do we have until, I mean........."

"Less time than we have, Commander."

D'Argo looked at John and placed a hand on his shoulder. His eyes met his friend's, "Go to her, John."

John shrugged away D'Argo's hand, "No. I can be more useful trying to fix this. Then she'll be fine."

D'Argo shook his head, "I think you've done enough fixing. We can handle this. You should go to her." John tried to interrupt but D'Argo wouldn't let him. "At least comfort her until we fix this. You'd be more useful there. Go to her, John."

John lowered his head, slowly nodded and walked to the door, Scorpy yet again at heel. John headed down the hall to Aeryn's quarters. Scorpy wore a green top hat and carried a cane. He sang, "Oh Johnny Boy...your heart, your heart is calling..."

John stopped and looked at Scorpy, "Hey uh, Harvey, do you mind?"

"Mind what?"

John took the hat off Scorpy's head, "This...has got to go." He threw it to the floor. "And the second heart was a little flat...so from the top." John raised his hands like a conductor and cued Scorpy in. Scorpy started again, hitting all the right notes. John continued down the hall conducting the Irish Serenade.

John abruptly stopped as a half-baked plan came to mind, "I'VE GOT IT!" He pointed up with his index finger.

Scorpy stopped behind John, "As opposed to what?"

"Well not having it."

Scorpy nodded, "Oh, I see so what do you have, John."

John started walking again, "Why it of course." He paused. "A PLAN!"

"Ahhh.........good. So, what's the plan?"

John turned the corner and walked into the locker room that had the showers on Moya. "It's simple. We need to cool Aeryn down, right? So I get these showerheads to spit out arctic ice water, and she'll live."

A WHITE FLASH

Pilot waited anxiously for a response. D'Argo's voice resounded over the COM, "John just left to go find Aeryn. I need more DRDs."

"I'll send some right away." Pilot ended the transmission and looked at Zhaan, "Should I alarm them about the approaching Enforcer?"

Zhaan shook her head, "No, Pilot...tell D'Argo but not John. We still have six arns until intercept. Let John stay with her. They need each other now."

Pilot nodded. "Of course, Zhaan."

********

John's eyes flared, "GOD DAMN IT!!!!!!!!!" He threw his head back. "Why didn't they tell me?"

Scorpius walked behind John, brushing his hand across John's shoulders, forcing a shiver. John's hair stood on end. "Would it really have mattered, John...you would have gone to her anyway." John looked unconvinced at Scopius who moved within an inch of his face. "Come on, John. You know I'm right." John held the stare as long as he could then lowered his gaze. "Mmmm...that's what I thought. You know," he placed his index finger under John's chin and raised it, "She is your Weakness."

"NO. You're full of it. She is my strength!" John rebutted.

"Really, John. Well..." Scorpius circled behind John, "What if I start to, describe her. She is quite an attractive Sebacean. Her body is magnificent."

John nodded, "Oh, and here I thought you liked her for her mind."

Scorpius continued, "Her leather attire contours her body to perfection: her shoulders, hips, breasts, and waist all flawless proportion, a masterpiece."

"Since when did you become poetic?" John said.

Scorpius stood nose to nose with John, "Since I knew it could break you." Scorpius tilted his head to the right, "Stop resisting, John."

John squeezed his eyes shut, trying to dispel the arising fantasy. "I will resist."

Scorpius grinned, "No, John." He paused. "I don't think you will."

John saw Aeryn standing in front of a pure white background. Raven tresses flowed free around her neck; her steel gray eyes bore passion that could cut lead. Those ocean blue eyes that John drowned in. She flashed a radiant smile and John was captivated, hypnotized by the wonder before him. He lived for these moments when her Peacekeeper shields were down and only Aeryn stood before him.

She was not what John previously found attractive in women, the complete opposite of Alex. But now he cannot picture any creature more graceful, more powerful, more beautiful. The black hair felt like Chinese silk in his hand. Those gray eyes set into that flawless alabaster skin that stretched taut over her figure, magnifying the beauty of her curves. If ever there was a doubt for continuing to fight, Aeryn quickly vanquished the thought from his mind. She was his epitome of everything beautiful, powerful, courageous, and mystical.

His mind flashed and he stood on a dark street corner. A lone street lamp shone on the opposite corner. Scorpy walked out of the shadows wearing a long leather trench coat, adorned in gold, a large hat, sunglasses, and an oversized super cell phone. He led Aeryn into the light. Now she wore a short black skirt, thigh high leather boots, and a red mesh top. John squinted to get a closer look. Makeup. Was that Makeup she was wearing? The same crap that enhanced the looks back on Earth stripped Aeryn of all of hers. This was no longer his Aeryn. He could still see the remnants of courage and fire, but they were now hidden...buried deep in the eyes of this shell standing before him.

Scorpy grinned, "Oh and by the way, John, I do charge by the hour and she has an appointment in," Scorpy looked at his watch. "An arn and a half with Crais so --"

********

John shook his head hard breaking the torturous visions. "NO!" John sweated profusely and his breath quickened. He bowed submissively.

Scorpius grinned and raised John's eyes to meet his, "Weakness." Scorpius dropped John's chin and his head fell limply. Scorpius turned his back and walked away from John. He quickly spun around and inhaled deeply, "And I will use her as such...your breaking point." Scorpius paused. "How would you feel," Scorpius tilted his head, "if Aeryn Sun has a close encounter with my Aurora Chair?"

John's head shot up as he uselessly pulled at the chains, wanting desperately to wrap his hands around his tormentor's neck. "Frell you, you frelling rat bastard son of a BITCH!" John shook his head rabidly and spat, "You touch her.........I.........I'll kill you."

Scorpius grinned, "Good, John. Although you are in no position to make threats, a gallant effort nonetheless. I knew someday I would find the catalyst to spark you."

John growled and looked to the never ending ceiling trying to regain some sanity. He was not going to let Scorpius win this one. He had to calm down. Immediately his thoughts involuntarily wandered to Aeryn. She stood in front of him in the cell and ran her slender fingers over his furrowed brow, whispering calmly, soothingly. ‘Shhh, John. Resist him.' She brushed her hand over his cheek and he leaned into her palm. He relaxed at the thought of her presence. Even if the real Aeryn would never make such a gesture, his fantasy certainly could. Her gray eyes stared deeply into his, caring, serious, and concerned.

Scorpius stepped through the image and she disappeared. "Composed, John? She seems to help immensely, but also hinder fatally. You see, unlike the Scarran, I know exactly what I want. And I know how to get it."

John licked his lips. "Uh huh. Uh huh. Your little clone saves me from the acid trip and for what?" He shifted his weight. "Why don't you look for the Robinsons instead? I mean, at least they know HOW they did the inter-space travel thing." John struggled against his restraints. "Hey wait.........how did you know about the Scarran? That wasn't that so long ago."

Scorpius smirked, "You're top priority to High Command, John. We have contacts stationed everywhere. How do you think the Enforcer knew where you were?" John's stunned face stared blankly back at Scorpius. "John, John." Scorpius shook his head. "You didn't think I would let you go that easily, did you?"

John relaxed. "Nope...but a guy can dream, can't he?"

"Of course, John."

"So what now.........back to the show?"

"As you wish."

********

Rygel rummaged through the few personal items the Sebacean owned. "Hey. What ya doin' Ryg?" Rygel spun around to see Chiana leaning seductively in the doorway.

"Maybe I should ask you the same question." Rygel grumped.

Chiana walked closer to Rygel. "You know, she's not even dead yet, you miserable cold hearted sack of green dren. You owe a lot to Aeryn. We all do." She looked to the door and thought, ‘Anyway, I wasn't going to take anything -- at least not yet.'

Rygel hovered to the confrontational Nebari, "So...you little trelk, when did you get such a change of heart? And who are you to tell a DOMINOR what to do? I wasn't taking anything. Merely, assessing our assets."

Chiana stared back, "I know I'm not the most selfless person on this ship, but Aeryn is the last person who deserves to die. Not this way." She backed out the room and headed down the hall leaving Rygel to his "Assessment."

A WHITE FLASH

The heat was steadily increasing as John made his way through the labyrinth of corridors to Aeryn's quarters. He wiped his brow and flung the sweat to the floor. He turned a corner and stopped abruptly at the sight of Scorpy. John put his hands on his waist and leaned into his right hip, "Ok Harvey, what now? You gonna break into song again, quote the poems of Lord Byron, what?"

Scorpy crossed his arms, "No. But if you insist........." John exhaled impatiently and walked away. Scorpy followed, and cleared his throat,

" She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place."
(Lord Byron. She Walks in Beauty)

"Hey. Shut up!" John interrupted. "I don't have time for this."

Scorpy grinned, "What's wrong, John. Did something hit close to home?"

John stopped and faced the hybrid, "Yeah. Whatever. Now what do you really want?"

"I was simply going to inform you that it's getting warmer by the minute." Scorpy replied. "And with the docking bay doors malfunctioning, Aeryn cannot leave."

John impatiently answered, "I know."

Scorpy grinned, "She won't survive with four arns until temperature decrease."

John glared back in hatred, "Yes she will." He shoved Scorpy out of the way and continued down the corridor where he was almost bumped by an exiting Chiana. His eyes followed her down the hall; he turned and entered Aeryn's quarters.

He saw the Hynerian digging and grabbed the back of his throne, hurling it against the wall. Rygel jerked on impact. John asked annoyed but playful, "Hiya Sparky. How the frell are ya? What ya doin?"

Rygel looked, confused. "I am not taking anything -- simply assessing."

John looked intently at the little Hynerian, "Oh, I get it. You were just WINDOW SHOPPING. Well just so you know, this store is WAAYYY outta your price range. So maybe you should just move along." His tone now threatening. "Before I help you."

John watched as Rygel hovered out of her quarters. John then left and headed back down the corridor. He looked over his shoulder, up then down. "HEY, HARVEY! You makin' yourself scarce?" He looked down the hall. "All right. So if I were Aeryn, I would be........."

Scorpy trailed behind, "Oh Johnny. If I were Aeryn, I would be with my Prowler."

"Thanks Harvey. I'm going to the Terrace."

A WHITE FLASH

John ran onto the Terrace to see Aeryn huddled on the floor. He raced to her side and knelt down. John rolled her into his arms; her eyes were closed and she wasn't moving. She was soaked from head to toe; her sports bra clung to her body as the surrounding skin glistened. John looked out to the vastness of space at the stars and closest sun. He then looked down at Aeryn and brushed the hair away from her face.

He tried desperately to revive her, but could not. She was still alive and he prayed he wasn't too late, "Oh God, No.........Come on, Baby. Don't you leave me." John pulled her completely into his arms and stood, cradling her against his chest. "Come on, just hold on for me, ok." He walked from the Terrace, trying to get her to the showers as quickly as he could. "The cold water can wake her."

A WHITE FLASH

Chiana raced into Pilot's den. John had told her that whenever something was wrong, talking to Zhaan always helped him. Maybe it would help her too. Zhaan stood in front of Pilot. "Zhaan?" The blue Delvian turned her gaze from Pilot to the little Nebari. Chiana slowly walked closer as if she was a frightened child. "Zhaan, can I uh.........talk to you?"

Zhaan smiled, "Why of course, my child. What seems to be troubling you?" Chiana shifted nervously and pulled Zhaan out of the den into Command.

She cocked her head, her voice squeaked with unspoken fear, "Zhaan I don't........."

Zhaan rested a hand on Chiana's shoulder. "Come now. It is fine. Tell me. Is it D'Argo?"

Chiana shook her head, "No, not D'Argo. It.........it's Aeryn."

Zhaan's face morphed to concern, "What. What seems to be the problem with Aeryn?" She feared that Chiana had chosen the worst time to pick a fight with the near death Sebacean.

Chiana snapped, "In case you hadn't noticed, Aeryn is dying and we can't do a thing about it."

Zhaan relaxed but inside she jolted at Chiana's harsh reality, "I know Chiana. But D'Argo and Pilot will fix everything before that happens."

Chiana stomped a foot and cocked her head, "No, Zhaan. Stop lying to yourself -- and to me." Zhaan frowned and wrinkled her brow. "Aeryn's going to die. And there's nothing we can do."

Zhaan spoke soothingly, "We all care deeply for Aeryn. None of us want to lose her. Everything will be fine. The Goddess will take care of her."

"I ," Chiana paused then gathered her courage. "I don't want her to die, Zhaan. I mean she didn't have to come after me back on that planet. She could have just taken her prowler and left -- but she didn't. She and Crichton both came after me. I mean...well, I belong. I have grown to love the entire crew. But Aeryn is different." She shrugged away Zhaan's hand and wiped the tear from her eye. "If anyone deserves to live, it's Aeryn. She can't go down like this. She can't. I've already lost a brother. I don't want to lose her too."

Zhaan tried to comfort, her maternal instinct taking over, "Chiana, Aeryn is dying where she is happiest: here with us... her family. Do not fear for her. She knows how you feel. You are right. She would not have stayed on that planet for you if she did not return your affection, no matter what John said. She knows what she means to all of us and is at peace with that. The Goddess always takes the good before their time. All that we can do is cherish the time we do have with them...and immortalize them by never forgetting." Zhaan looked directly into Chiana's eyes, wiping another tear from her now stained face. "And we will never forget."

A WHITE FLASH

John ran into the shower stall and quickly laid her on the floor. He pulled the head off and turned the water to cold. He sat beneath her, cradling her, and poured the water over her sweating body. He laid the showerhead on her chest and removed her pants. Her Calvins and bra clung to her body as John desperately tried to cool her down. He brought the cold water to her face then down her torso to her legs. "Oh Gawd.........Baby come on. Wake up.........please." He laid her on the floor and knelt at her right side. He poured the water, which was only slightly cold, over her chest then moved back down to her legs. He focused on cooling her lower half when Aeryn's eyes fluttered open. "Aeryn, please."

She ran her fingers through John's short hair. He turned to meet her half-open eyes. "John." Aeryn's voice and breath were weak and labored.

John gasped. "Oh God, Aeryn." He pulled her back into his lap still letting the cold-water stream over them both. He looked down at her, the whites of his eyes red and tortured.

John grabbed her hand and entwined his fingers through hers. Aeryn looked into his eyes as he brushed the wet curls from her face. "Shhh.........John." Aeryn swallowed hard. "I.........I'm sorry." Aeryn coughed harshly, "For.........for not telling you before how much I care for you. I'm sorry.........for never showing you. Thank you.........for letting me be more." She closed her eyes as a sharp pain fired through her body.

"Oh Baby.........I have been waiting so long to tell you." John swallowed attempting to steady his voice and caressed her cheek. "Aeryn, I love you so much. No one has ever made me feel this way before." He brushed his fingers through her wet hair entwining wrapping it around his fingers. "God Baby, you're everything to me. Please.........Please Aeryn. Don't you give up on me. I need you here. I couldn't have come this far without you." John's pleas became sobs. "I...I can't live without you. I need you." John bowed his head. "You're my reason for living. God Baby.........No!" He buried his face in her stomach and cried into her trembling body.

Aeryn slid her fingers through his hair and slowly raised his eyes to meet hers. She brushed his lower lip; her mouth curled up as tears built in the corners of her eyes. John held her against him, kissing her gently. She wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling herself closer. She deepened the kiss, taking as much comfort as she could. He pulled back from the embrace, completely breathless and locked in her gaze. "Aeryn, you kissed me like.........like it would be our last. But it won't cuz D'Argo, yeah D'Argo will fix everything. Just hang in there. Ok, Baby?"

He wrapped his arms tightly around her, refusing to let go. A tear fell as she reached for the dagger at John's side. She brought the blade within his sight, but he quickly turned away. "John look at me.........please."

He looked back into her eyes. His ice blue eyes filled with hurt and anger, "How, Aeryn? how can I. It's.........I couldn't bring myself to.........oh God, Aeryn, No."

Aeryn's eyes begged back. "Please John." She arched her back in a wave of pain. John held her close wishing he could take this agony for her. She relaxed as the pain subsided. "John." Her breath quickened as she felt a pang in her lower back. "You promised so long ago.........as my friend, my family. Ahhhh.........." John bowed his head unable to see her suffer through another wave of pain and unsure if he could actually keep his promise. "I.........I know what it is to ask. But please, John end my pain.........as my love. I love you, John Crichton. I always have. And no matter what........." she clenched her teeth, attempting to hold the intensity and not cave to the pain. "I'll never leave you. Even in death." She placed the dagger in his hands slowly wrapping his fingers around the handle.

John's mind raced. Could he do it? Could he kill the woman he loved? John took the dagger and nodded. He closed his eyes and tilted his head back. She reached up turning off the water, almost reading the thoughts of his discomfort and turmoil. Tears fell down his cheek. "John." He nodded in acknowledgment. "John, look at me.........I'm not going to say ‘Goodbye'."

She lowered his chin to look in his eyes. John opened his eyes and two tears dropped onto her face. He held her palm to his cheek and looked her up and down, memorizing every curve, every crevice, every part of her being. He spoke slowly, brushing her cheek, "Aeryn, I love you so much and I'll never let you down. You.........you're the missing piece to my heart." John brought his forehead to Aeryn's but never left her eyes. "Aeryn, you complete me. I'll never be whole until I'm with you again." John paused. "I'll never forget you. I'll always love you."

Her eyes glassed over and John kissed her as passionately as he could. She responded, forever sealing the covenant each made. John pulled back again. Aeryn slightly tensed in his arms. He pierced the tip of her finger with the dagger. Without breaking their stare, John brought her finger to his lips. He then placed the same hand over his heart.

Harvey the Rabbi stood at Aeryn's feet. "I thought this was a bris. But I can do funerals too." Scorpy began to issue the Hebrew Kaddish. John ignored the insult. Aeryn tried to speak, tears flooding her eyes, but no sound past through her lips. She only mouthed his name.

John pulled her up again, kissing her deeply. She gasped into John's mouth; he felt her arch violently in his arms. John tried to pull away; but with her last bit of strength, she wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him closer. John yielded to her last request. He pulled her tense body as close as he could and continued their final embrace. He ran his hand through her hair and cradled her head. Aeryn convulsed again and went limp in his arms. John slowed the kiss but did not remove his lips from hers until her arms fell from around his neck.

John broke away and stared at the creature in his arms. Her glassy eyes were open, staring into his. John wailed and winced in this new affliction. He could not see past her haunting gaze, could not see the woman he loved, only saw pain and suffering. He buried his face in her hair inhaling as much of her scent as he could, the familiar scent that was uniquely Aeryn and was forever engrained in him. He mumbled into her ear, "Aeryn, I Love you." His tears flowed freely. "Forgive me." John raised his head. Aeryn's body bucked as the last wave of pain raced through her.

She lay unmoving in his arms staring out blankly. He squeezed his eyes shut, wiped away the tears, opened them. He looked into her eyes as he gripped the dagger. He gently kissed her one last time then slid the dagger between her ribs. She gasped as the warm blood flowed over her chest, onto his hands, and seeped through his shirt. He closed his eyes and screamed.

John cried out in pain. He thrashed against the chains then bowed his head. John mumbled, "Oh God.........oh God.........I'm sorry.........I'm so sorry."

Scorpius grinned, his goal achieved. "My God.........my God......... Aeryn.........I........." John choked on the lump in his throat forcing him to dry heave. Then his voice flared in anger. "No.........NO, you frelling ass it's a lie...you're lying. You're frelling with my head." John spat into Scorpy's face.

Scorpius 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 his lips.

John moaned out. "No.........No........." Scorpius tossed John back. His eyes widened and he jerked back then forth. "My God.........she never did leave.........she was here, before. It was her. It's her...that 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, answer me!"

"John, I want you to think."

John shook his head, "Nuh huh, No WAY! No more thinking. Closed for frelling remodeling."

"No, 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!"

********

Chiana 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."

A WHITE FLASH

Rygel 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 the table.

A WHITE FLASH

Chiana stood outside her quarters pulling on a leather strap. She squeaked in frustration, "Frell...why 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.

A WHITE FLASH

Aeryn 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.

A WHITE FLASH

D'Argo and Scorpius held hands, skipped down the hall and sang "Tip Toe...through the Tulips."

********

John's eyes bulged in a double take, "SWEET MERCIFUL CRAP!!!!!!" John blurted out, "What the FRELL was that?"

Scorpius sniffed then grinned. "Mmmm. So what now?"

John glared and looked up to see the stars. He lowered his eyes, blinked, and looked back. They were gone. "Gee, I don't know, Scorpy...or is it Harvey." John struggled as hard as he could against the chains, but they didn't budge.

Scorpy snickered. "Oh come now, John. You have to try harder then that."

John 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 to bleed.

John 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.

Scorpy lifted John's head to look into his eyes, "Good, John."

++++++++

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."

John 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.

Aeryn bolted up. "CRICHTON... WHAT THE FRELL ARE YOU DOING?"

John 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. ‘She's real'. He couldn't believe it. "Aeryn, you're Alive. I could KISS you!"

She stood matching his height, "Crichton, I was sleeping. I could KILL you!" She crossed her arms over her chest.

John 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. "Hmmm...I 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 safe...at 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.

Her 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.

John ran into Pilot's den and dove behind his panel. "Commander Crichton, what..."

John 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, Pilot...or you'll be cleaning pieces of me out of this system for cycles."

Just then, Aeryn crashed into the den, "WHERE IS HE?" She glowered at Pilot. "Where?"

Pilot 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."

Aeryn approached the panel and slammed her fist onto it, bringing an involuntary gasp from John. "No, Crichton. Where is Crichton?"

Pilot 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.

John waited and waited, convinced that Aeryn hadn't left. Pilot spoke, "It's alright, Commander...she is gone. What is wrong? Is everything alright?"

John wiggled out and jumped in front of the panel to stand in front of Pilot. He looked back nervously. "Jeez...I 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, ‘We be frelled."

It 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?"

John 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?"

John 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."

She thrust her hips into his chest forcing him to gasp in pain, "Wrong answer."

As it passed, he looked up into her stern gaze, "Hey uhm, Babes, if you're gonna want me to answer anything.........you'd best not do that." He grinned. "Cuz when you do my mind is so TOTALLY elsewhere."

Aeryn squeezed tighter, "What is it you say, Crichton? ‘Get your mind out of the butter!'"

John closed his eyes, "No, Aeryn -- it's Gutter. Gutter, not butter." He looked back at her, "Get your mind out of the Gutter."

"Whatever." She spoke through clenched teeth. "Come on." Her tone suddenly serious, "Why did you look at me like I was a ghost?"

John looked away, "Because I.........I uh.........thought 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."

Aeryn 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."

John looked down at his hands entwined with Aeryn's. He exhaled, "It's......... complicated and well........." 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 to escape.

Aeryn cupped his face in her hands then ran her right hand through his hair, "Try, John. Please, tell me."

John 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 and.........he 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 but.........well, environmental was so frelled up and it was getting hot. And then there was you.........the 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 .........it was.........it 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 family.........but than you asked me to end your pain as something more. I.........I 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 pain........." John shuddered, "Even now.........that 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 it.........I ran you through and I.........I'm sorry.........you were in so much pain but I.........Oh God!"

She 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."

John 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-Ching.........Bonus Points!"

He 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, "Shhh...it 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. John.........look at me. It wasn't real. I'm here now, and I'm not going anywhere." Aeryn paused and caressed his cheek. "John.........I won't leave you."

John 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 you.........I can't believe I,"

"Stop 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 you, John."

He 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.

She 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?"

He smiled and sat back on his rear, leaning against the wall, his knees apart and bent. He whispered. "Just.........stay 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.
Aeryn 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, "Uh...Aeryn, I........." he paused.

"What is it, John?"

John's heart raced, "I uh........." 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

Harvey 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 moment... because." Harvey paused. "You never see the curve ball coming. Who knows what hand you'll be dealt next."


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