Title: MINUET - a "Farscape" story
Author: Janet F. Caires-Lesgold
e-mail: jfc@freeshell.org
Feedback: Please, to the above address!
Archive: By author's permission only
Rating: NC-17
Category: SAR, JC/AS
Spoilers: "PK Tech Girl", "They've Got a Secret", "The Flax", "Rhapsody in Blue"
Timeframe: Takes place before "A Human Reaction"
Summary: Crichton and Aeryn dance around the inevitable

DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to Rockne O'Bannon, Hallmark Entertainment, and Jim Henson Associates, not to me. This story is just for the entertainment of my online friends and myself, not for any profit.

Additional notes regarding characters, etc., for the uninitiated can be found at the end.

COPYRIGHT: (C) January 7, 2000, Janet F. Caires-Lesgold, jfc@freeshell.org

Please don't redistribute or alter this story in any way without the express permission of the author. Thank you very much.


Her quarters smell weird. Her clothes always bear traces of her incense in them. Where in the world does she get incense? We can barely get food cubes and fuel for the Moya, and she's burning something that might be edible. <kaff, kaff> Silly me. Judging by the smell, I'd probably regurgitate if I were to try to eat some of it. She's burning it. Maybe we could use it for fuel.

I'd better leave. She's busy. It wasn't important. I'll come back...

"Aeryn? Come in!"

Damn. Always so nice. Always so considerate. I hate nice people.

"What did you need, dear? Come in and sit down." She's flapping around me like a bird. How do you run in robes like that? "Don't just stand there, dear. Do you need something?"

I'll say. I need to be reprogrammed. Why in the hell did I come to *her*, anyway? Is it just because she's a female and maybe she'll understand? Well, yes. That's exactly why. Come on, stupid. Open your mouth and say something.

"Hello, Zhaan. I'm sorry if I'm intruding..."

"No, not at all. I'm glad you're here. Won't you sit down?" I am plopped down on a big flat pillow. I think it's where she sleeps. Oh, great--she plops her big blue butt next to me. "You never come to see me in our downtime. Did you want to ask something?"

Shut up, and maybe I can. Maybe. "Um. I need to know about,... um..."

"What is it, dear? You look pale. Do you need to lie down?"

Oh, lord, no. I couldn't... "No, I'm fine. Uh, what do you know about, uh, men?"

Oh, boy. Can this woman twinkle any brighter? "Men? Any man in particular?"


"It's John, isn't it?" Oh, good. She's psychic. But she's not going to tell me what I want to know, is she? She's going to make me sit here and spell it all out. What's that thing John says when he's exasperated? Crais on a crutch!, or something... "What's going on between you and John?"

"I never said it was about me." Liar.

"Then what is it you want to know about John?" Stop being so nice, Zhaan. Look into my heart and see what I want to do with John. Laugh in my face and get it over with. But you'd never do that, would you?

"Do you think he..." How do I say this?

"Do I think he would be good as a mate?"

"NO! I didn't mean... Wait. Maybe."

"Oh, really?" I know that that great big smile is supposed to make me feel comforted and validated and, I don't know--better? Stop it, Zhaan, or I might just crawl into your lap like you were my mother. Ugh--didn't need *that* mental image on top of everything else that's on my mind! Let's just stick with the matter at hand. "You like him, don't you?"

"Well, yes..."

"I thought so. This *is* about you."

"It could be, I guess. I just don't know if he could possibly, you know..."

"He likes you, you know."

Gulp. How does she...? "How do you...?"

"I know. He likes you a lot. I can tell." She gets up and starts puttering again. "Tea?"

Well, what do you know? I am rather thirsty. I wonder why... "Tea would be nice." I sound like my mother. At least I didn't say "lovely"...

The smell of the tea certainly cuts into the weird incense smell. I think I like it. She bustles about, and I watch silently. Several minutes pass as she busies herself boiling water and pouring things. I guess it's some ritual thing, so she doesn't speak either. My brain's keeping me entertained with a constant visual feed of John's face, smiling, laughing, and sometimes not smiling. Oh, my. I think I like that one best...

At last she sits beside me again and hands me a drinking vessel. It's hot, so I grasp it gingerly. "So," she begins again, "how do you think you should approach him?"


"You know: should you go up and ask him to meet you in your quarters, or leave him a note, or did you have something else in mind?"

My brain has entirely stopped functioning. "I couldn't possibly... Come right out and ask? Write something down that someone else might *see*? No. Absolutely not!" I swig deeply from my cup. The liquid inside might be hot. I can't tell.

She sits very close, her head conspiratorially close to mine. "If you don't tell him, dear, how will he know?"

I look her in the eye, all of my fears for once plastered across my face, I'm certain. Words fail me.

"Wait. You can't mean you have never..." I was right. She *is* psychic. I watch her scramble for words now. At least this idea has a similar effect on us both. "You're saying that you're an untouched flower."

Now there's an image I never would have associated with me. Uncracked nut, perhaps. "I've devoted my life to the service. I never had time to carry on with the men outside my troop, and internal fraternization was frowned upon. I guess I thought it wasn't important..."

"But now you're stuck here, the only one of your kind--your unit doesn't need you anymore, and you feel like reaching out to someone who's even a little bit like you."

I know I must be blinking like an emergency alert light. How did she know that? "You're right. But I'm not from his culture. I don't even know if our species are compatible..."

"You're afraid of making a mistake, aren't you? You don't want to ask him for one thing, and have him assume you want something else, isn't that it?"

It may be the tea, the incense, or her kind smile, but my heart has stopped fluttering a little, and I feel I can trust Zhaan. Confession time! "He might know what I want. I did kiss him once."

"Really?" She seems genuinely surprised. Maybe she's not psychic. Maybe she can just read emotions really well...

"We were in that pod, running out of oxygen, and I knew it was going to explode any minute. I didn't want to die without ever touching a man, sitting there acting brave and as unmoved as a stone. I was afraid, and I needed to connect with anyone else. The fact that it was John just strengthened my need to reach out to him... If we hadn't gotten interrupted by D'Argo, I'm not sure if it would have stopped with a kiss."

She takes my hand and squeezes it gently. The gesture dulls one of the sharp prickles that I've placed around my heart. "How did John respond? Did he turn away? Did he seem to want what you wanted?"

"Yes," I answer quickly, then correct myself, "the second one. He made his mouth soft and held me like he'd be happy to die in that position."

"How did it make you feel? Did you want to join with him then?"

Her kind smile chases my fears at self-revelation away. "It embarrassed me at the time, of course, having someone discover us like that, but yes. I know how Sebaceans join, but while I had no idea what humans do, what he expected of me, I was ready to do anything. I wanted to touch him and for him to touch me, to spend my last moments holding him, feeling his flesh against me, not being quite so alone..." I stop, suddenly feeling very over-exposed. I know I have said too much.

Her voice is merely a whisper, but it cuts through my vivid memories to bring me back to the present. "You haven't approached him since then?"

"No... I couldn't..."

"What are you waiting for? Or are you afraid?"

I can't hold her gaze any longer, and suddenly my hands clutching my tea fascinate me. I answer simply, "Yes."

"Of what? If he wants to touch you, join with you, you can't be afraid he'll say no, can you?"

Finally I stand up and pace across her quarters, setting my cup on a small table. "That's not it. I've never even joined with a Sebacean. What if he wants to do things that scare me? What if he wants me to do things that hurt?"

"Unintentionally, you mean? I can't imagine that John would ever try to hurt you." Long blue legs unwind from her space on the cushion, and she stands languidly. "Aeryn, I've met many people, from many cultures and races, and I've joined with many different kinds of them. Almost all of them were similar in their coming together, maybe not with the organs they used or the rules and habits they employed, but in that when they did it, it ultimately was supposed to feel good. I don't think you need to be afraid of John--you might need to show him what you want, but I'm sure he would take his time and figure out a way to make it feel good for you. As I said, he does care for you a great deal. I think it would be in your best interests to talk to him and learn what he would like, and if he'd like to do it with you."

In passing, I wonder if John would still want to kiss lips that had this many teeth-marks imprinted in them. "I don't know, Zhaan. I mean, how do I know what I want? I've never really stopped to think *what* I wanted before I met John!"

Her face changes as things occur to her. "Oh, I hadn't thought of that! You mean you haven't touched yourself, either, don't you?"

"What?" She's not standing as close as we had been sitting on her bed, but I'm sure the force of the word flying from my mouth has caused me to spit in her eye. "I'm sorry, but what are you implying?"

A peculiar smile ties the corners of her lips up like gold and blue curtains. "Perhaps you should learn, so you'll be ready for him. Here, dear. Let me guide you on a voyage of discovery..." Her hands fly to the clasp at her neck, and she unfastens it in one motion, shrugging off her outer robe and pointing me back to the bed.

I'm sure my eyes grow as large as the twin moons of Larphyllia as I back away and find my way to the door by touch alone. "No, Zhaan! Really, thank you very much for the tea and the advice, but I'd better be going now!" I don't let my gaze travel further down than her puzzled face as I stumble into the corridor and let the doorway shut behind me.

Trying to shed the horrified expression from my face, I shake myself soundly and make my way back to the bridge as if nothing had happened, as if the person to whom I'd gone for confidential counsel hadn't just encouraged me to break every rule of Peacekeeper conduct and the Sebacean moral code by suggesting I abuse my body for my own pleasure. If I'm not completely mistaken, she was about to demonstrate it in front of me, or even touch me herself, which takes care of most of the *other* rules! I hope John has a little more tact and good sense...


Oh, yeah, Aeryn! Take 'em off! Show me what you've got, baby! Oooh, yes!

"John, you're needed on the bridge immediately!"

Shit. I finally get a free second to think a little harder about Aeryn wearing my underwear the other day, and I'm "needed on the bridge". When is it ever going to be about what *I* need? "Sure, Pilot. Be right there." I owe myself a really hot fantasy later. Off to the bridge with me.

I mean, what was she thinking? She found 'em in the laundry, so they're fair game? I'm rather fond of my Calvins. Sure, we can get all kinds of clothes in trade on some of these planets, but hasn't anybody out here ever heard of *elastic*? Those boxers are *mine*. Nowadays, they're the only underwear I have that I don't have to *tie* on. Jeez...

"Okay, I'm here. What's the emergency, D'Argo?"

The big man turns to me, looking as sheepish as I've ever seen him. "Oh, sorry, Crichton. False alarm. I've got everything under control."

Wish I could say the same. "Need anything else now that I'm here?"

"Not really. I hope I didn't interrupt anything important..." There is a glint in his eye that makes me do a double take at him. He wasn't giving me a once-over, was he? Makes me glad I'm wearing the drawstring underwear.

"No, nothing I can't get back to later," I begin, but his attention is focused on the viewscreen.

We stare at the stars in our path, assuming typical "guy" poses. That's true. D'Argo may have three-foot tentacles instead of hair on his head, weird tattoos on his chin, and wear something that looks like a trench coat and legwarmers, but he's just a "guy", too. Maybe I should ask him...

"Say, D'Argo, you were married, right?"

"Yes. Why?" he snarls.

Oops. Sore subject. Perhaps another tactic. "What do you think of Aeryn?" God! I sound like I'm seventeen!

"She's a good warrior, steady in battle and quick to make decisions and follow orders."


"Or isn't that what you meant?" There's that glint again. Does D'Argo know how to kid around? "I often find that when a male asks me what I think of a particular female, he's trying to decide what he thinks of her himself."

"Oh, um..." Caught! I may not be the sort of guy to blush, but I think my ears are turning pink. Luckily, he won't know what that means. I think.

He glances at me, then back out the viewscreen. "So, Crichton, what *do* you think of her?"

I actually have to think about it for a moment. I mean, yeah, I want to make love to her, and I fall asleep at night wondering what she looks like under those masculine clothes (including *mine*), and she did kiss me that one time, but how the hell do I answer that question? "She's nice..." Stupid answer!

"Nice..." If I could hear gears turning in his head, would they make squishy noises? He's definitely mulling that one over. "You're considering asking her to be your sex partner, aren't you?"

It is damned fortunate that I wasn't taking a drink of something right then, because it would now be spewed across the width of the viewscreen. "Uh, yeah..." I croak, sounding more like thirteen now. Keep it up, John, and you'll need a diaper soon...

"I thought so," he replies, smiling. Very often, when I see D'Argo smile, I suspect he's sizing up whatever's in his line of sight as a potential snack, even if it's me. There is none of that predatory quality in this smile. Maybe he's considered her, too... I mean, his wife *was* Sebacean... Wait a minute! He'll know! But, how do you ask something like that? I'll think of something.

"Uh, do you think that's a good idea, I mean, asking her to, um, have sex with me?" Smooth, Crichton. Nobody'd ever mistake *you* for Cary Grant.

"Are you asking if I think she'd be interested in you?" His eyebrows--at least I *think* you'd call 'em eyebrows--rise up quizzically.

"Well, there *was* that time you rescued us from the Flax, and we were, um..."

"True. You're saying *she* started that?"

"Of course! I was flat on my back on the floor when you walked in!"

"Oh, yes," he purrs, apparently having enjoyed catching us off-guard in retrospect. "So she seems to want to have sex with you. What did you want to ask me?"

Okay, Johnny. Pussyfooting around this is getting us nowhere. Time to lay it out there. "What's sex with a Sebacean woman like?"

"I beg your pardon?" It isn't a question. I'm extremely happy that his pigsticker isn't on the bridge.

"God, D'Argo, I don't want to offend you. I just... I don't know. Humans, well, almost *all* the species on Earth, they all have sex about the same way, more or less. I was just wondering if, well..."

His eyes have lost the edge they had a few seconds ago. "You were wondering if your organ would fit inside her and give her pleasure."

My mouth hunts around for the words that were ready to pop out until he said that. "Well, yeah."

He finally smiles again, like a big brother giving his sibling advice. "Mine would. I can only assume, unless..."

As he hesitates, I have a horrible thought for a moment that he expects me to get it out and compare, and I watch his hands, terrified that he's going to show me his. "No, uh, wait! I think you've told me all I need to know, man. Keep your pants on!"

Eyeing me suspiciously, he replies, "I wasn't going to take them off."

Time to make a graceful exit before he goes to *find* his pigsticker. "Good, good! Keep it that way!" I back out the door and try not to run down the corridor.

More preoccupied than usual, I find myself paying more attention to the way I've come than the way I'm headed, which proves to be about as smart as it sounds. Smack! And whom have I backed directly into but Aeryn, of course! My balls, which had recently decided to take up residence somewhere north of my kidneys, suddenly decide there's a reason to come back out.

But, hold it! What's going on? She looks just as distracted as I do, if not more so. "Aeryn? Are you okay?"

Her eyes avoid looking at me aside from a quick flash that is full of sheer terror. "Yeah. Fine. Couldn't be better."

Like I believe *that*. "Hey, chica. You can't fool me. What's wrong?"

She makes a big show of giving me a calm honest gaze, which is far from either. "Nothing, John. I'm sorry I ran into you. Just forget it."

I grab her by the shoulders and make her look at me straight for a moment. Something possesses me to follow up on an idea that I'd been knocking about for awhile, maybe even within the past few minutes. "Hey, kiddo. I'm not sorry you ran into me. In fact, I was hoping to find you. I wanted to ask you something."

"You did?" Her eyes, full of suspicion and dread, are now fixed on mine.

"Yeah. What are you doing for dinner this evening?" Well, at least I didn't ask her what her sign is.

"Why?" Now *there's* a response I've never gotten before, and certainly one I didn't anticipate.

Regrouping, I try to explain. "I would very much like to sit down with you, somewhere private, and maybe share some food cubes and talk. Would you like that, too?" This seems to cover my bases, leaving some options open, but still sounding straightforward about what I want. I'm not holding my breath as I wait for her answer, or am I?

The icy terror gradually melts from her eyes, and a smile starts to dimple the corners of her mouth. God, she's pretty like that. "Yes, John. I'd like that a lot."

That's interesting. She seems to be waiting for an answer from me. Wait a minute! She said yes! "Great!" I blurt out, at last. "I'll come by your quarters after late shift change, okay?" Good. Put her at ease, let her stay on her own turf so she can throw me out if I make a complete fool of myself...

"I'll order rations for two, then."

I think she suspects what I'm really asking her, so perhaps I'd better seal the agreement. "Super! It's a date!" I lean in and kiss her softly on the cheek.

I maneuver around her in the corridor, then turn to head off to take care of a few things. Casting a glance over my shoulder, I note that she's still standing where I left her, a completely bemused look on her face, her eyes somewhere else entirely. Perhaps there's some hope for me yet...


I've gone over my quarters about twelve times, straightening things up, then mussing them up a little so it doesn't look too neat, too planned. My cot must be taunting me, if the images in my head are any indication, but I utterly refuse to fluff the pillows. Well, maybe just a little...

That's it. I'm sitting down and waiting now. Maybe a quick comb through the hair, make sure there's nothing stuck in my teeth... For some reason, I keep looking at my own reflection in this looking glass Zhaan gave me. I have no idea why. I mean, I'm not vain. I don't enjoy what I see. So why am I doing it? Maybe so I can see what *he'll* see tonight. Does he like how I look? Does he really want to share my cot? Does he want to marry me someday? Gee, Aeryn, get ahead of yourself, why don't you?

I can't let myself have second thoughts tonight. This might be the night it happens. But is that what I want? I thought I wanted John to be the one to crack my nut--wait. How did Zhaan put it? To open my flower--that's it. But now I'm not so sure... I mean, the temperature goes up when he comes in the room, which I would assume anyone else would notice. Then again, I'm pretty sensitive to changes in temperature, so it may just be from his physiology. Yeah, that has to be the reason for it...

He kissed me today, just there on my face. I thought the spot would look different, pinker maybe. It certainly *feels* different than the rest of my skin now... Okay, maybe there's parts of my skin that feel similar: sort of warm, a little more damp, like they're just marking time waiting for his touch.

Like there. Oh, lord of all that's good and pure, can you forgive me for thinking about him touching me *there*? I wonder what *there* looks like, anyway... Maybe if I were to open my trousers and move the looking glass just so... No! I couldn't do that! It would be evil and wrong, and I might touch myself there when I wasn't cleaning myself, and I might discover I like doing that, and...

"Aeryn, can I come in?" Oh, no! He's here!

Put *down* the looking glass. Wait. Put *away* the looking glass. There. That's better. One more shake of the hair. Now. Not in half an arn. Now. "Of course, John. I've been waiting."

There he is, stepping through my door, looking brave and a little shy. I like it. "Hi." Yeah, definitely warmer in here. "You look pretty tonight." Why isn't the temperature sensor going off? Maybe it's just me, and I'm not going to melt down anytime soon. Right. Tell that to that place inside my trousers.

"Thank you. You look, uh, pretty, too." That can't have been the right thing to say. He's smiling in that Aeryn's-cute-when-she- doesn't-know-my-language way. I wish I could say I hate it, at least a little. "Come in and sit down," I invite, and he does so. "Uh, do you want some food?"

"Oh, wait. I brought this." He presents me with a bottle of wine from our last trade excursion. "Now, we don't have to drink this now. I wanted to bring you something, but I was afraid you'd think I was hoping to get you drunk and take advantage of you."

Now why the hell would he think... Oh. Maybe that's what I was hoping he'd do so I wouldn't have to think about it. Damn. "No, of course not! Why don't we save it for later, maybe for a treat after dinner or something?" By the way he's looking at me right now, I suspect that *I'm* supposed to be the treat after dinner. I don't think I mind.

"I'd like that, I mean, having the wine for a treat later. We can wait..." Something in those pale blue eyes makes me think he means waiting to do something else. Suddenly I don't want him to leave my quarters tonight without... well, let's say I don't really want him to leave my quarters tonight, at all.

"Fine. Treat later. Food now?" Either my translation microbes have fallen out somewhere, or something's taken control of my language skills against my will. I sound like a non-evolved Blamph. Soon I'll be grunting and pointing at my mouth. I suppose it could be worse, but if words fail me later, I'll try to remember to grunt and point at my cot. And he thought he'd need to get me drunk...


I've heard something tonight I never thought I'd ever hear, or enjoy that much. Aeryn laughed. It was sometime between the first food cube and the first cup of wine. I must be making points if she laughed like that sober. This might just be happening, the way I hadn't quite let myself imagine.

She looks good, a little looser, less Jane Fonda now. She's been telling me some embarrassing story about her days as a Peacekeeper recruit, and it's really funny, but I'm getting very turned on by the fact that she wants to tell me something that makes her look that foolish, that green. She laughs at herself when she comes to the end of the story, and I laugh, too, but I can tell that mine is a laugh of discovery, of fascination. There is so much I don't know about this woman, and so much I'd like to learn. We both chuckle, and slowly stop chuckling. There is no sound, provided that she can't hear the pulse pounding in my throat. I know we're both waiting for something, and I suspect that that something is me. I think she wants me to make the first move here, but I'd resign myself to a life of solo pleasure if I went too far or upset her, now when she's so close and I think I might just have a chance to make her happy.

I reach across her small table and lay my hand gently across the two of hers, which are folded together as if to keep them from flying away, and for a moment I am reminded of holding a baby bird in my hand as a boy--they seem so small and nervous, yet so warm and alive. Stroking her skin with my thumb, I look up to her face, to see her eyes closed and a hard set to her mouth. Oh, no. What have I done? "Aeryn?"

"John?" she asks without opening her eyes.

"Is everything all right?"

"Yes. Fine. Thank you." She is lying.

My next words rip at my heart, and I hope to God she turns down my offer. "I can leave if you want me to."

Suddenly, her eyes pop open, and she regards me with a look of sheer panic. "No! Please stay!" Thank you, God. I owe you bigtime. "Do you want to, um..." She glances awkwardly towards her cot. Why is this so hard for her?

"What do *you* want to do, Aeryn?"

She won't meet my eyes anymore. "I don't know. I've never done this kind of thing before. I mean, I've wanted to, but nobody's ever been in the position to..." So that's what's wrong... In a flash I can see every ounce of her internal struggle, and understand why she's so afraid. Hell, it's been a long time since I tried to seduce a virgin. If memory serves, I blew it then, too. Damn.

I release her hands, pick up my chair and move it around the table so I'm sitting right next to her, but I don't touch her. Yet. "Aeryn, honey, look at me." Reluctantly, she does. Honesty time. "I did come here tonight hoping to have a little fun with you. But we could do anything you like. It would be wrong for me to push you too far. You understand that I don't want to do that, don't you?" She nods like I'm offering her the choice of weapons in a duel. "Let's start slowly. Would you like to kiss me?"

The nod she gives me moves her head no more than a micron. I see her begin to lean towards me, and rather than meet her halfway, and possibly scare her away, I let her come to me as quickly as she dares, which isn't very quickly. Closing my eyes and bracing myself, I can feel her lips brush against mine, but before I can respond in kind, they have slid right past my mouth, and I can feel her hair against my lips. Startled, I open my eyes to find her with her head bent over my lap, not making a sound, her shoulders shaking ever so slightly. Oh, God. She's crying.

Quickly, I take her shoulders in my hands, trying to turn her to face me. "Baby, no. Don't cry. Please." She finally looks at me, tears streaming down her beautiful face. I really can't bear to see the sorrow and fear in her eyes, so I nestle her head on my shoulder and scoot as close as I can, holding her carefully but comfortingly. A wrenching sob emerges from her at last, and she crumbles against me, weeping openly. My heart breaking for her, I pet her hair, trying to think of the right words to say.

"I'm sorry, John. I can't help it," she wails.

"I know, baby. Talk to me."

"Don't leave me, please. I want you here, really..." This a strained whisper.

"I'm not going anywhere. I'll stay as long as you want. Are you scared of taking this step with me?" She softly shakes her head "no". "Are you sure?" Another "no", about half the strength of the first. "Are you more scared of *not* taking this step?" This time a minuscule nod. "Are you just a little angry with yourself for getting upset about it?" Another nod. "Do you want me to be the man who touches you for the first time?" A little stronger nod. Hallelujah. "I do, too. Do you want this to happen tonight? I can wait if that's what you want. I won't mind. It's up to you."

At last she coughs, swallows hard, and gives a loud snuffle. Gradually she raises her head from my shoulder, shyly watching my eyes. "I don't know if I can go through with this, but I'd definitely like to try. Can we start again?"

The cautious smile on my face is one of relief and victory. I embrace her heartily, trying to keep it friendly at the same time. "I'll stop whenever you say. Don't be afraid. I'll try not to hurt you."

She stiffens in my arms. Definitely the wrong thing to say. "I thought it was supposed to feel good..."

"Oh, darlin', it is. Just sometimes, when nobody's touched you there before, at least where I come from, it can hurt a little. But I promise that it shouldn't hurt after the first time. Do you trust me?"

"I think so." Suddenly Aeryn grabs my face and kisses me hard. This feels distinctly familiar, like that time we were stuck in the Flax and thought we were going to die together. Her tongue forces my lips apart as if she wants to crawl inside my head and hide from something.

With difficulty, I push her away. "Whoa, whoa, whoa! I thought you wanted to take it easy!"

"Did I do something wrong?" She looks at me as if I might explode.

"No, not at all. I just thought that this time we'd take things a little slower, a little more gently, okay?" I'm about ready to assume that she wants to do it fast, without thinking, almost to get it over with. I guess that the only way I can teach her any other way is to take the lead. I lean in and kiss her, very softly, almost not making contact. This tease has the desired effect: she kisses me back, gently yet firmly. I keep my lips closed for now and press them against her mouth, grasping the back of her neck to keep her head within reach. Slowly, I move to kiss her on the cheek, then, in an imitation of the almost innocently intimate way that Gilina had kissed me, on the eyebrow. At that, a small, pleased sigh escapes her lips, and I feel a tiny thrill of victory.

I pull back, brushing her soft skin with my thumbs, looking to her face for direction. Her eyes open, and she smiles for the first time since I reached for her hands. She tips her head in a familiar pose, and this time I bend in to meet her lips, which are soft, warm, and responsive. We kiss for as long as our lungs allow, caressing, tasting, sharing something I've imagined since I first saw her. My fingers slowly creep into her thick, soft, and inviting hair. I know, or at least my genitals know, exactly what I want to do here tonight, but my concern for Aeryn's comfort takes precedence.

There is a distinct reluctance to the way she pulls her lips from mine. "John?" she interrupts in a breathy voice that makes my cock twitch. "These chairs are sort of stiff, aren't they?" They're not the only thing, sweetheart. "Come sit with me over here." I release her head, and she takes one of my hands with a quiet authority that I refuse to defy, pulling me over to her cot without quite standing up.

We settle in, and before I can exhale, she is kissing me again, lying back and pulling me down after her. The slight urgency I feel in her tongue is no longer unexpected or unwelcome, so I relax into kissing her over and over, deeply and warmly. My hand gravitates toward her bosom, and I can only assume that her breasts are a sensitive erogenous zone as a human woman's would be, so I cup the left one tenderly, sweeping my thumb over its peak. With that, her back arches, and a groan sounds deep in her throat, vibrating in her kiss. I think my instincts are right on target here. My other hand brushes past her arm as I reach for the tail of her shirt and pull on it gently to indicate I want to drag it up out of her trousers. A soft but distinctly affirmative hum rises from her, and I move both hands to tug her shirt free.

Aeryn sits up a little, startling me at first, but I relax and sit back in echo as I realize she just wants to help me yank her snug knit shirt over her head. She leans forward, tipping her head to gaze straight into my eyes as she reaches behind her back to release the catch on what I've been brought up to call a bra, but who knows *what* Sebaceans call them... I make a mental note to examine its fastener later to see if I can use my practiced by-touch breast-access skills to good effect here. Stripped to the waist, she lies back again and reaches out for me.

Aeryn's nipples look a little different from human ones, but I guess that breasts are breasts, and as hers are quite nice, I lean in to lap experimentally at one of them. Finding her fingers winding through my close-cropped hair, I can only assume that she's enjoying what I'm doing. I can feel the skin tighten and warm under my tongue as her other hand creeps down my back and strokes my spine up and down sensuously.

"Take your shirt off, John," she seems to sigh. I kiss the nipple in my mouth, then break from it to lean up and do as she asks. In the millisecond that my t-shirt covers my face, I offer up a speedy prayer of thanks for favors granted and supplication for favors yet to come. The fabric ascends past my line of sight to reveal her admiring gaze falling on my body.

"I take it you like what you see, huh?" I ask, not quite able to keep a tone of personal pride out of my voice.

"Very much," she answers, smiling. "So that's what I'm pressing against when you hug me."

"Yep. This would be my chest. I, uh, I've got other parts I hope you like just as much, if not more," I offer.

Finally I get a laugh from her! The ice is long past broken and now mostly melted.

I smile and follow up with, "So how about it? Have you got any parts you wanna introduce me to?"

She smiles and drags my hand to her mouth, where she places a firm, moist kiss in my palm. "I don't know. I don't think we're on speaking terms." She's joking, but I can sense another high hurdle ahead. Time to break down some more barriers as slowly as possible.

Wriggling out of her grasp, I take her shoulder in my hand. "I've got an idea to coax them to the bargaining table. Flip over." Her eyes question me silently, but I lift her gently to illustrate, and she complies easily, resting on her stomach with her arms tucked sweetly beneath her head. At once, I begin kneading her shoulders with the same force I might have used on her muscles after a long work session, but with a much different flavor now that my thumbs are pressing into her naked skin. I can tell from the gasp that escapes her lips that my tactic is starting to work.

When all of her stress knots are worked out, I go back and apply long, soothing strokes to her back, producing a gentle, excited moan deep in her chest. My hands explore further down, resting at last on the belt holding her pants closed. At last, I ask, "Is that enough for you? Do you want me to stop?" knowing her answer already, that is, if my talents haven't left me.

"Please don't stop, John." Whoo. I even got a "please". I've still got *it*! She repositions her hands to undo her belt and the buttons of her uniform pants, shimmying her hips enticingly to move them past her rear end. I help out and tug at her pant legs, letting her leave on her underpants as she seems to want to do. For now.


What was that I was thinking about it being hot in here? That was the cold void of space compared to how I feel now. I've just kissed John for longer than it took us to eat dinner, but it's still not enough. His hands have touched every crumb of me, or so it seems, except for the place I really need him to touch me.

After lying on my stomach and letting him rub my back for far too long, I have to see his face again. I roll over, naked but for my undershorts, and just look at him. His face is so kind, so beautiful... Then again, his chest is beautiful, too. I can't contain my curiosity about the rest!

"Your turn!" I command, reaching for the belt of his pants.

"Okay! Whatever you say!" He's laughing, and I couldn't be happier. Well, I *could*, but it involves getting these pants off.

The buckle gives me a moment's trouble, but the other fasteners are quite easy to release. The drawstring of his undershorts is tied in a bow, and I hold onto one free end playfully. "Can I do this?" I ask.

He just stands there, his hands propped challengingly on his hips. "I don't know. Can you?" The smile never leaves his face.

I know when I've been dared. Pulling slowly at the tie, the loop shortens, and the bow collapses into two limp strings. I pick up the other end and give an experimental tug, which has little effect. Of course! The material is snagged a little on his, um, male organ. John's still smiling, so I haven't hurt it. I reach for the waistband of the shorts and tuck my fingers inside, pulling the fabric out and down slowly.

At last the shorts puddle on the floor around John's feet, and I am facing my last big fear. I'm not kidding when I say big, either. Of course, I have no basis for comparison. Perhaps Sebacean men would laugh at the size of this obelisk, but I don't think it would even fit in my mouth, much less the space where it is intended to go. I may do some experimenting before we get that far, now that I think of it.

For now, I just look at it. Dark, dark pink, shaped a little like a wild fungus plant, bobbing a bit as if to greet me. "Hello" slips out of my mouth before I quite realize it. I chuckle and meet John's eyes, which sparkle with humour and some fire I don't want to name just yet. "I like it."

Now it really bobs up and down, as John laughs warmly. "You do, huh? Good. I'm glad. You can touch it if you want to."

"Mindreader," I accuse. With the fingers of one hand, I reach for the cap part on top. It's surprisingly soft, not like the rest of his smooth skin at all. I make a loop with my fingers and thumb and slide the ring down the shaft, marveling at the heat and firmness lurking inside this odd-looking body part. Looking to his face for his reaction, I am startled to see his eyes closed and his bottom lip clenched between his teeth. In dismay, I yank my hand away. "Am I hurting you?"

He makes a strangled cough and chuckle combined. "No, Aeryn, no. You were doing just fine. It felt good. *Really* good."

"You're sure?"

"Yes, honest! Don't stop!" He closes his eyes again, apparently in anticipation.

I make another stroke down with my circled fingers, then indulge my other plan, taking the cap into my mouth and sliding my lips down the organ as far as I can reach without tripping the gag reflex on the back of my tongue.

"Oh, God, Aeryn, that's good!" I'd answer him, but I know he objects to talking with one's mouth full. Inside my closed lips, I lick at the ridged flesh, then disgorge it slowly, savoring the novel tastes and textures of this most private part of John Crichton. He grunts in an amusing fashion as I remove my mouth from it and sit back to await his next move, that is, if he ever moves again.


"Well, what?" he asks, his eyes still shut tight.

"Now what?"

He gasps in a breath and looks at me at last. "You could do that some more, but I don't think I'd last very long if you did."

"You think I'd kill you if I did that any more?"

He laughs, stepping out of his shorts and slapping himself on the back of the neck. "It's entirely possible," he chortles, sitting beside me on the cot. He takes my hands and kisses me sweetly. "You understand that having sex is about the male fertilizing the eggs inside the female, right?" I nod, not quite following his train of thought. "What I meant was that it's ready to do its fertilizing routine now, but then it would go back down and I couldn't finish using it on you."

"Go back down?" I gape at him stupidly.

"Yeah--it's got two positions: off and on. This," he explains, indicating the now-slippery rod between his legs, "is on. Ordinarily it points the opposite direction. Only when it's thinking of going to work does it pop up like that."

My eyes nearly bug out of my head. "It *thinks*?"

He laughs, but I suspect it's more at himself than at me. "Well, sometimes it might as well! Let's just say it stands up when you come into the room, just like a proper gentleman should." He grips it gently, showing me that my initial touch must have been a lucky guess. "That's a compliment, Aeryn."

"It is?"

His laughter dies away, leaving an intensity in his eyes that I could grow to treasure. "Yeah. What I'm trying to say is that I've wanted to make love with you almost since I first met you, and my body's been hoping for this chance ever since. Oh, and before you ask, "make love" is just a pretty way to say "have sex", so don't worry if you don't think you love me. Just the fact that you say you want me is enough for now. You *do* want me, don't you?"

"Yes," is all that I can say before he grabs my shoulders and kisses me again. I wonder if he meant that he *does* love me, even if it doesn't matter to him if I love him or not. Sucking on the tongue that just shaped the words "make love" with reference to me, making my pulse speed up higher than is probably healthy, I don't want to worry about that very much right now.

When he finally finishes kissing me, leaving me a little breathless, he smiles at me with more of that unnamable fire in his eyes. "Well, I've shown you mine. Care to show me yours?" he asks, glancing pointedly at my undershorts.

With a sudden pang of modesty, I stand and turn my back to him as I untie my drawstring and let my shorts slide down to my feet, where I kick them off before turning to face my first lover. He watches my face, probably for signs of fear or second thoughts, so I try to let none show, though I won't swear that there aren't a few coursing around the jumble of mad thoughts in my head. Scooting back on my cot, he holds his hand out to me, silently inviting me to sit before him.

I lie back on my pillow, gazing as calmly as possible at the ceiling as I part my knees for him to take his comfort between them. "Oh... okay," he mutters almost to himself as I swear I can feel his eyes sweep over my secret places, but he does not touch me.

His hesitation causes me a moment of concern, but mostly spurs my curiosity about what he has found. "What is it? Is something wrong?"

"Nope," he replies, almost relieved. "Everything seems to be right where I expected it to be."

"Oh, good. I was hoping nothing had gotten lost."

He chuckles agreeably at my joke. "Have you ever actually looked at yourself down here?"

"Um, no," I answer, reluctantly remembering that the very idea had occurred to me as I was waiting for him to arrive.

Searching over his shoulder, he finds my looking glass on the table where I keep it. "Here, baby--sit up." He assists me up from my pillow and props the glass between my feet. I adjust it and at last see the place that makes me different from John, but long for him all the same. Acting as tour guide, he points to openings that I hadn't previously considered as being visibly recognizable. His finger grazes the one at the very bottom of my view, making my voice squeak in surprise. "I'm assuming that you know what that is, don't you?" he asks, understanding that I'd recognize it by feel from cleaning myself in the toilet facility. I nod, fascinated by the appearance of my own body beneath my clothes. "We'll leave that alone for now, but someday it might want to join in the fun." When I stop to think about that, I am afraid that my heart may pound so hard that its raps on the inside of my ribs are audible.

Sliding up in a line, John's finger brushes past the outer edges of the largest landmark I can see in the glass, coaxing a shudder from me. He continues, "Now, this is where my penis will go later. Which reminds me: Is there even the remotest possibility that our having sex tonight will make little baby Aeryns?"

I quickly review my personal fertility calendar in my head. "No. You're safe," I assure him, realizing as I say so that my pulse slows down just a notch at the idea of being held safely in John's arms, no clothes to prevent us from touching each other all over.

"Which brings us to the star of the show," he announces like the leader of a theatrical presentation. I reposition my glass just as his fingers stroke over a nub of skin located above everything else I have seen reflected at me here, but when I feel his touch there, my eyes nearly roll back in my head. A sound of pure need emerges from my throat, making him hum knowingly to himself. "I thought that would work. More or less, that sensation you felt just now was how it felt to me when you first put your fingers around me. Remember that, because you'll be feeling it a lot tonight. Do you think you'd like that?"

I try to say that I would, but my throat is seized with a tightness that I can't explain, making my voice sound strangled but urgent, and I nod slowly to convey my meaning more clearly.

"Get comfy, doll, and enjoy the fireworks." He doesn't take his eyes from my face as he puts the glass back where he found it, then reaches for the spot that made me see stars. His touch is gentle and slow, flicking every single switch that hides in that tiny peninsula of flesh. I am convinced he wants to watch my reactions, but I can no longer keep my eyes open, so concentrate on just the one sense for the time being. My ears also want to participate, judging from the encouraging sounds I detect from John and the animal noises that I will later deny having made myself.

Strong fingers stroke me up and down, sliding along a lightning road between the top button and the middle space I saw in the glass. The fingers feel wet on my skin. "Did you spit on your hands, John?"

I hear a barely-concealed snicker from my partner. "No, baby: that's you. Your body is making your path inside slippery for me. I think you'll be ready soon."

The word "now" is the only thing I can think of to say to that, but I keep it to myself.

"Let's just guarantee that you're wet enough, okay?" I nearly question him on this, but think better of it as I hear him shifting around on my cot. An entirely different touch lands on my magic spot, one that I cannot readily identify, so I sneak a peek with one eye. All I can see between my legs now is the very top of John's head, and I do believe he is kissing me there, or licking me, or both, or using his fingers, too, and ohhhh... Time stops, or so it seems.

When it starts again, my stomach is trembling and my breath catches strangely in my throat, while my eyes fill with tears I cannot explain. As soon as I can make an intelligible sound, I weakly call John's name.

He pops into view, watching my face again intently. "Are you okay?" he asks before moving a muscle. Nodding is nearly beyond me, so I try to make my face smile for him. It doesn't work, instead reducing me to a crying wreck. At once he crawls up to face me and gathers me into his arms, shushing me like he did before. I want to tell him not to worry, that I'm fine, but the only things I can control right now are my legs, so I use them to hold him tighter, since my arms are being practically crushed in his embrace. This must get my message across, because he finally lets me go a little and brushes the hair back from my face, catching my mouth in a deep, smoky, sticky kiss. "Good?" he asks at last.

"I think so. I think I went away for a microt, but I'm back now."

He smiles rather than laughs, and I think that I'm doing everything right. "I figured as much. Was that what you were expecting?"

"I don't know what I expected, but I can't imagine that that was it. There were a lot of noises and lights and rushing things in my head. Is it supposed to feel like that?"

"From all reports, yeah," he replies, chuckling warmly and kissing me again. "Are you ready to move on to the main event?"

My elation fades into something akin to terror. "Is it going to be bigger than that?"

"Maybe, maybe not. Human women don't usually climax like that from penetration, so don't hold your breath waiting for it. I'll take it slow, and you let me know how it feels, or if you want me to stop. Are you ready for me to go ahead?"

I have a momentary notion to tell him no, but I know I'm braver than that. Looking John straight in the eye, I nod once, giving him permission to do whatever he needs to do. He holds my head in his hands and kisses me deeply, then moves one hand down to adjust the operative parts. Slowly he pushes into the space inside me, pausing often to let me adjust to the sensation. When I am sure that there's no further he can proceed, he gives a firmer shove, whereupon I feel some tissue give in to the pressure, and I can honestly say that it hurts. However, I don't want him to stop, since he's obviously enjoying his progress.

John holds himself still above me for a moment, then reverses direction briefly, following this with another plunge. The distinct burn I feel is not unpleasant, and the expression on his face makes it all worthwhile. I'd almost consider myself a mere receptacle for his organ if he didn't look like he was witnessing something precious and perfect and unique, like a piece of artwork or a dancer's performance, but on second thought, I understand that the something in question is me.

This realization stuns and almost shocks me. I knew that John considered me a friend, that he liked to work with me and joke around with me. This, however, is the first inkling I've had that he's not just here for a few moments of pleasure, but that he really does care for me deeply. I know he wasn't lying no matter what he said to me here tonight, but seeing how much this apparently means to him proves more to me than any of his words. A soldier whose unit has abandoned her I may well be, but after tonight, I know that beyond having found a haven with this diverse band of strangers, I can honestly say that I belong wherever this man wants me to be.

John's movements become more frenzied until he grows still and gives one more firm push, and I feel hot wetness spread inside me. "Oh, darlin'," he groans, pulling himself out of me, then collapsing a little on my chest. I'd be worried about him, except for the fact that he is nuzzling my neck as he catches his breath. "That was... Well, that was great. Thank you, Aeryn. Was it okay with you? You didn't say much."

"You're welcome, John. It was just fine. You were right. It did hurt a little..."

He raises up slightly on his elbows and looks into my eyes, immediately remorseful. "Oh, baby, I'm sorry!"

"No, don't apologize. I'm strong, and it wasn't more than I could tolerate. Besides, I knew the risks going in, so I didn't really mind." He still looks worried, so I kiss him softly to reassure him. I don't know when my arms wrapped around his strong shoulders, but I leave them there and hold him warmly against me. "You did say it probably wouldn't hurt next time, right?"

A look of sheer surprise, followed by one of hesitant anticipation floods his features. "You mean you want to do that again sometime?"

"Sure," I reply, comfortable enough to remain cagey. "How's tomorrow for you?"

The boneless quality leaves him completely as he seems prepared to get out of bed. "Tomorrow night? Yeah, I can come over. That would be swell."

"No," I urge, pulling on his neck to bring him closer for a long, meaningful kiss, "I was thinking about in the morning before we get up."

"Oh," he blusters, the significance of my offer sinking in, then breaks into a glorious smile as he settles against me for the night.

"After all, it might give the others something to talk about, seeing us come out of my quarters together..." I'm sure Zhaan wouldn't be a bit surprised, given our earlier conversation, and I think I want evidence so she doesn't have to ask. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if D'Argo is similarly unfazed by this news, if I know John at all.

He looks uncommonly pleased with himself, and I am satisfied that my predictions will be correct, not to mention just as satisfied as he seems to be with this turn of events. "I'd like that a lot. Good night, Aeryn," he sighs, kissing me and snuggling onto my pillow beside me.

"Good night, John." As I become accustomed to sharing my sleeping space and start to drift off to sleep, I gradually become aware of the most important change brought about by our having taken this step: instead of just feeling like a reluctant guest of these people, at last I can honestly say, "I am home".






Cast of Characters:

John Crichton - a human pilot whose craft has been sucked through a wormhole to a distant part of the universe, where he's taken refuge with a small band of escaped prisoners on their living ship, the Moya.

Aeryn Sun - a disgraced officer in the Peacekeeper Corps, now in hiding from her previous unit and commanders, and a Sebacean, the most humanoid of the races Crichton has met in this part of space.

Pa'u Zotoh Zhaan - an 800-year old female priest of the Delvian race, bald and blue from head to toe, very spiritual and peace-loving.

Ka D'Argo - a Luxan warrior, big and fierce, but with an abiding sense of honor. His primary weapon is an extremely large double-bladed sword.

Pilot - a creature who navigates the Moya, while being physically affixed to his steering console. Communicates via a ship-wide voice-activated intercom.

Gilina - an attractive female officer from another Peacekeeper unit who met our heroes on one of their adventures and indulged in a mutual crush with Crichton, stirring Aeryn's potential for jealousy.

Crais - Aeryn's former commander-in-chief, who has a personal vendetta against Crichton over a deadly mishap.

Other notes:

The basic unit of time in this world is the arn , which is broken into microts (but I'm not sure what the earth equivalents are). All beings are injected with microbes that allow them to understand the languages of the other races.

Auto-Feedback Link! E-mail me with any comments!

For additional info, see http://www.scifi.com/farscape/