Pushing through the crowd, the wind blowing dust in his face, John ignored the stares of the patrons milling through the market as he brushed up against them. During Chiana’s last comm, she'd said that she and Aeryn had been spotted and recognized by several Scarrans. Then suddenly the transmission had ended, leaving both John and D’Argo scrambling through the corridors toward the hanger and Lo’La, both silently sending out wishes to any deities listening that they could get to the girls in time.
Nearing the surface of the pale green planet, Pilot informed them that he had located both Aeryn and Chiana’s comm signals, but had been unable to gain auditory contact. Aeryn’s signal appeared stationary, while Chiana’s continued to move rapidly. Landing near the source of the two signals, without any prodding from D'Argo, John set out in search of Aeryn.
Scanning the area for any sign of her, John asked, “How much further, Pilot?”
“Twenty-seven metras from your present location on your hammond side.”
Cutting between two buildings in the direction Pilot specified, John was surprised to see Chiana’s white hair come out from between several large crates.
“Chiana!” he whispered loudly, hoping she could hear him over the whine of the wind.
Turning at the sound of her name, Chiana sighed in relief and ran towards him. Grabbing his arm, she pulled him behind the crates as well.
“Crichton…it’s about time you got here. Where’s D’Argo?” she asked, searching the small alley in the direction from which he came.
“Apparently on a wild goose chase after your comm signal.” Touching his own comm, John said, “D’Argo, I’ve got Chiana here with me.”
“Then what in the frell am I following?" D'Argo asked.
John gave the Nebari girl a questioning look. “I had to throw my comm into a vendor’s cart. I thought those Scarrans had locked onto my signal.”
They both heard D’Argo say, “I will be at your present location shortly.”
Noticing the edginess of Chiana’s movements, John looked around and asked, “Where’s Aeryn?”
Pointing further down the alley, Chiana said, “She couldn’t run anymore. I convinced her to hide in the warehouse two doors down.”
Fear suddenly gripped John, he knew that Aeryn would never give up and hide when there was a chance for escape.
Drawing his attention to Chiana’s dark within dark eyes, almost afraid of the answer, John whispered, “What’s wrong with Aeryn?”
“Nothing’s wrong, she just got tired from running…that’s all,” Chiana answered, trying to reassure him. Her voice and movement told him otherwise as they began to take on a hint of nervousness. Chiana backed away as she said, “Follow me. I’ll take you to her.”
John pursed his lips for a microt, he knew that she was lying, but he followed after Chiana turned and walked to the door she had mentioned earlier.
“Aeryn’s in here…” she said, giving her head a quick jerk in the direction of the door. Once she opened it, John was standing immediately at her side. He couldn’t help the fear and paranoia that gripped him as he passed Chiana and pulled his pistol.
Stepping sideways into the dim hall, his right arm extended in front of him, John searched warily ahead for any sign of danger. He was surprised when the door behind him slammed shut with a loud bang. Whipping around, he hit the door with his fist and yelled, “Chiana!”
He barely heard her voice as she yelled through the door, “Crichton, I’m all right! The wind jerked the door out of my hand.”
The door in front of him rattled slightly. Grabbing the latch himself, John tried to turn it, but the door refused to open for him as well. Sighing in frustration, John leaned his ear against the door and heard Chiana say, “I’m going to wait for D’Argo….” her voice fading as the wind picked up and whistled through the cracks around the edges of the door.
“Go…I’ll find Aeryn and we’ll find another way out!” John yelled. When he heard Chiana’s faint agreement, John turned back towards the dim hall. The only light seemed to come from sparsely placed slits on the walls near the ceiling. The walls were bare, with the exception of a door at the far end that he could faintly make out.
Walking down the hallway, John couldn’t help the tight grip he held on Winona. A small mantra of ’please let her be okay,’ repeated in his mind for most of the length of his walk. Nearing the door, he thought, ’I should have come down when Aeryn asked me.’
John and the others had continued to work steadily on repairs around Moya for monens. Within the last two monens though, his workload doubled when Aeryn’s enlarged stomach reduced her to simple jobs since she was unable to work in the tight spaces any longer. Both Chiana and D’Argo volunteered to help him, but John wouldn’t allow it, his guilt wouldn’t allow it. He had to somehow make things right to Moya, Pilot, and Chiana after all they had done to help seal up the wormhole to Earth. The damage from the Scarran Stryker and Pilot’s absence left Moya extremely fatigued and hurt, her healing within the Qujaga ocean cut short for obvious reasons.
The last two weekens John had hardly seen Aeryn as he barely kept up with rupturing seals throughout the ship, and John silently cursed himself for neglecting her…especially after this latest incident.
Opening the door, a soft light spilled out as the entrance widened. He walked through the door, which shut gently behind him. But John didn't notice that because of the sight before him. Aeryn's skin had a faint shine to it from the sudden raised temperature of the room, despite that he could see his breath. The room itself remained as chilly as outside, but John suddenly felt as if he were standing within an inferno.
"John...you are standing there with your mouth hanging open. Is there a problem?" Aeryn asked innocently, a smile touching the corner of her lips.
"You're...you're...." Words failed him as he looked at her naked body standing in the center of the room.
"Nude? Is that the word you were searching for?"
John soundlessly nodded his head as his eyes traveled down her body. She was the Venus De Milo...a sculpted goddess come to life and she was smiling at 'him'.
Aeryn took two steps forward, and temporarily broke the spell she had placed upon him. John looked around the room they stood in and recognized pillows and blankets from several of the crew’s quarters. A small box sat open on one side of the room and he could see it held both food and drink.
“You planned…” John said in surprise, pointing around to the contents of the room. “…all of this?”
“I was beginning to wonder what my husband looked like, but I was also worried about you,” she said as she closed the distance between them and took his hands in hers. “Everyone has done what they can to help Moya through the healing process, John. I know you feel like it is your fault that she was hurt, but those feelings are misplaced. That is why Pilot and Chiana helped me in this deception when you wanted to stay up on the ship and work. We all played a part in this, as we always have.”
Aeryn raised his hands to her lips and softly kissed the tips of his fingers one at a time, her eyes never leaving his own. Quickly catching onto what she was saying and doing, John felt her stomach brush against the front of his coat.
“Somehow…I feel suddenly overdressed for the occasion,” he said breathlessly. Aeryn released his hands, and he swiftly removed his duster and holster. Moving to pull the edge of his shirt up, Aeryn stopped him by touching his hands softly.
“Let me…” she said, taking the shirt from his hands and pulling upward. His breathing quickened as the shirt came off over his head. Leaning forward, John kissed her softly. “Don’t you ‘ever’ pull a stunt like this again…” he said, letting his forehead touch hers.
“It was the only way I could think of to get you to live, the way you should, once more. You carry too much on yourself, let some of us carry the load too, John,” Aeryn said. The emotion in her words caused him to look up at her. Four cycles ago this woman standing in front of him didn’t exist, not really. She had been imprisoned inside of someone else entirely, but now she had escaped and embraced all that life had to give.
He could feel heat radiating off her in the chilly air as she began to lead him towards the pallet she had made on the floor for them. At first he was worried that something was wrong, but then realized it was only a reflection of what he himself felt at that moment. It was desire and longing wrapped up within the confines of their bodies, begging to be released, to show the other how they truly felt at that moment.
Reaching the edge of the blankets, Aeryn returned his earlier kiss, only this was not soft or gentle. It was fierce and demanded all of his attention, which he willingly gave. Her hands ran over his chest and back for a moment. “Take off those frelling pants and boots.”
More than happy to do as she ordered, John soon found himself standing as he had found her. He noticed her eyes take him in within the dim light as he had done only microts before. John touched the right side of neck and ran his fingers lightly down the side of it. As his fingers left that area and continued to trail across her shoulder, his lips replaced them. John’s tongue delicately played across the skin, and he felt a slight shudder from Aeryn as her skin prickled with goose bumps in what he was sure was anticipation.
Guiding her down upon the blankets and pillows, John’s hand continued to move down to Aeryn’s breasts while her hands continued their own exploration of his body. Caressing the swollen breast, his thumb played with the nipple as it hardened. Soon his tongue then his lips wrapped around it, sucking gently at first, then adding more pressure just before his teeth scraped against the hard flesh. John heard Aeryn’s soft gasp as her right hand found its way downward to grab onto his throbbing manhood. His breath caught as Aeryn’s grip tightened with just enough pressure to make it painful then felt her lessen it slightly.
Looking up, John saw her smile at him. Letting out a little laugh, John focused back on the body beside him. His index finger trailed in spiraling circles over her stomach. Just as he reached her naval, John felt a sharp kick beneath his hand. Sighing, he rested his entire hand against that area and waited. After a few microts, he was rewarded with another kick and he couldn’t help but feel pride over the life growing inside of his love. This was a physical result of their love for one another. They could tell each other over and over how much they meant to one another, but this…life was the proof of their words. Both of them had been to hell and back for one another, and it was all worth it…now.
See...I can do shippy. *G*