Child Of The Night - Chapter 20

Aeryn nudged the bottom corner of the curtain into place with the toe of her boot then stepped back to survey
the flimsy partition, wishing it provided more of a barrier.  While the crew had spread out somewhat since their
first cycle together aboard the leviathan, migrating to new quarters in search of privacy, it was interesting to
note that they never moved very far from each other.  She had shifted into a cell on a completely different tier
from John for too long, only to move back into the one next to his over a cycle ago.  Her absent-minded survey
of the curtains continued while she considered asking Pilot if Moya would agree to have the wall between the
two chambers removed by the DRDs.  If they were going to live together, she and John would need more space
than a single cell could provide.

She shook herself out of her reverie, and turned toward the sound of a dull thump behind her.  John tossed his
second boot into a corner, and then flung his socks carelessly to land on top of the boots.  The itch of irritation
generated by the habit disappeared when she watched him move across the cell to close the second set of
doors.  There was no apparent thought or effort involved when he balanced on one foot and leaned to the full
extent of his reach, playfully waving at the sensor with one outstretched hand.  John hopped to the other side of
the door and poked the curtains loose from their hook with a single finger.  Then he hustled backward,
watching to make sure they closed completely.

It was a cheerful ballet of coordination and balance, the muscles in his arms and back moving smoothly
beneath the thin shirt, flexing effortlessly as he stooped to tug one fold of the curtain into place.  He turned to
look at her, a half-smile already in place, and then bounded across the cell toward her, taking a leaping
shortcut directly across the bed.  Energy, exuberance, and happiness radiated out of him as he landed in front
of her with a hushed barefooted slap.  

“Hi there!” he said brightly, as though she’d just arrived.  “How you doin’?”   

She played along.  “I’m doing good.  How are you doing?”  

“Grrrreat!”  He pulled her into a hug.  “I had a good time today.  That was fun.”  

Aeryn hummed an agreement into his shoulder, thinking more about how his cheek was resting comfortably
against the top of her head than about his mood or their afternoon on the planet.  

“You certainly took your time letting Tellart in on the secret.”  

“He deserved it,” she said, instantaneously irritated.  She caught herself, reminded herself that she was happy
to be here with John, and continued with less fervor.  “He wanted to kill you while you were still lying on that
table.  He refused to consider that there was a chance that you could survive what they had done to you.”  
Aeryn shuddered against his body, reliving the moment.

“It’s over.  Do not go back there, Aeryn.  That’s my special trick.”  He was rubbing her back with long, firm
strokes.  He went lower on the next pass, and the next journey up her spine was conducted inside her shirt.  He
bent down long enough to kiss the side of her neck.  “We’ve come too far; we need to stop going back to that.”  

“I can’t help it.  When we broke in there, and I saw you like that, it was --”  She left the sentence unfinished,
incapable of finding the words to describe that moment.  

“Don’t think about it.  You held yourself together, did what was necessary, made a choice I’m not sure I could
have made.  You … are … incredible.”  He punctuated his last three words with more kisses along the side of
her neck, using the hand that was not otherwise employed underneath her shirt to pull her hair to one side.    

Aeryn snuggled further into his embrace, using his warmth as a tool to help her discard the memories that no
longer served a purpose in their lives.  They stayed that way for several microts.  

A long sigh from Aeryn brought the brief interlude to an end.  “What do you think?” she murmured into his
neck.    

“About what?”  He rocked gently from side to side, both arms wrapped around her, carrying her body along with
his.  

“What do you think about tonight?  You haven’t tried to jump into the neural plexus in ages.  I think you’re ready
to try again.”  

John took a deeper breath; his chest expanded and contracted inside her grasp.  “I don’t think so, Aeryn.  Not
yet.”  

She pulled her head back to look at him, discouraged that he would not consider renewing their intimate
physical relationship.  They had made several attempts at recreating since the night he had invited her to share
nothing more than his bed.  No matter what they tried, the lingering traces of his aversion to being touched had
banished arousal faster than it could be achieved.  

John gazed directly into her eyes without any of the shifts that signaled he was avoiding a difficult subject,
unknowingly informing her that he was comfortable with the topic despite his unwillingness to recreate with her.  

He said, “I don’t want you to be disappointed.  I’d rather wait until I’m sure something will happen.”

“You won’t disappoint me.  That’s not possible,” she said quietly.  “I’m not worried about that.”

“I am.”

“I think you should at least try.”

“Guys don’t like to try and fail.  Not when it comes to this.  We get neurotic when that happens.”

“How would that be different from every other day of your life?”

“Oh, funny.”  He kissed the side of her neck again, and hugged her more tightly.  

That enthusiastic envelopment told her more about his mental status than his words ever could.  He was
comfortable with the firm pressure of her body against his; he was seeking it out, finding either peace or solace
in her presence.  There were no quivers or jerks coming from his body; no hesitation or deeply repressed
revulsion.  Whatever was preventing him from wanting to recreate, it had nothing to do with an aversion to
being touched.  

Aeryn pulled free of his embrace and tugged at his shirt.  With John’s cooperation, she pulled it off over his
head, then wrapped her arms around him again, standing chest to bare chest.  She rested her lips against
warm skin at the base of his throat, establishing a light, undemanding contact.  “Who does that feel like?” she
asked, falling back into a repetition they’d used during the first difficult stages when he had struggled to allow
anyone to touch him.    

“It feels like Aeryn,” he answered automatically, picking up the habitual response.  

“That’s a good start,” she murmured.  She bumped his chin upwards with her nose, and kissed the underside of
his throat several times before continuing.  “How about this?”  She ran her hands from his ribs up his chest to
his shoulders, trickled her fingertips outward along his collarbones, caressed him briefly below his ears, and
then pulled him down for a kiss.  

“Feels like Aeryn,” he replied into her lips, resting his hands on her shoulders.  He ran his hands into the hair at
the back of her head, fingering the warm mass, and encouraged her to raise her head to meet him.  “Definitely
Aeryn,” he sighed, kissing her again.  

She rubbed the heels of her hands across his nipples several times, using the firm pressure that she had
discovered excited him more than when she used her fingers.  He preferred something closer to a massage
than a tickle.

“Yup, feels like Aeryn,” he confirmed on a exhale and kissed her again as the backs of her fingers ran down his
chest to flutter against his stomach.  

“This?”  Aeryn took his hands in hers and led him beneath her shirt.  John stroked her ribs, her sides, the firm
muscles of her belly, and made his first foray toward her breasts.  He encountered cloth.  There was one more
garment underneath her shirt.

“Feels like … clothing.  Too much clothing.”  

“We can do something about that.”  

Aeryn’s fingers were at the front of his pants then, taking an agonizing long time to unfasten buckle, snap, and
zipper.  His belt and pulse pistol dropped to the floor and were nudged under the bed by a boot.  Then her
fingers pressed against his stomach for several moments, teasing him with their light presence.  The snap on
his pants was released with a quiet pop.  His body responded to that small percussion as though it had set
something free other than the waistband of his pants.  She must have noticed, because she looked down with a
small smile, and rubbed a hand over the leather from navel to crotch.  The pressure increased, becoming more
insistent.  

His zipper was released next, crawling downward with painful slowness, tooth by tooth.  Each tiny click
reverberated though his groin, increasing the compounding sensation of warmth and engorgement.  The fact
that Aeryn was unfastening his pants, instead of leaving the task up to him, threatened to detach his brain from
the inside of his head.  

“Who does this feel like?”  Her hand snuck inside the loosened pants, found the beginnings of his erection and
fingered the semi-hardened bulge through the thin fabric of his shorts.  

“That doesn’t exactly feel like Aeryn,” he said.  It came out sounding more breathless than he had intended.  
Her second hand joined the first, stroking and fondling, delving deeper, filling the crotch of his loosened pants
with an insistent massaging two-handed investigation.  “And, uh … oh god … Aeryn, this is not the clothing I
was referring to when I said …”  

One moment he could scarcely think.  The next moment Aeryn’s hands were gone.  He had an instant to
wonder what he had said wrong, and then she was yanking hard at the waistband of his shorts, tugging at
where his pants clung to his hips, guiding them both past various obstructions, and then pants and shorts
together slithered down around his ankles.  He was suddenly, finally naked, standing undressed and aroused
with a triumphant-looking Aeryn poised in front of him.  

She reached for him again.

“No, no, no!” he said, scuffling back out of reach.  He was hobbled by his pants, which were still around his
ankles.  “Your turn,” he said, reaching for the zipper on her vest.  “If I’m naked, you have to get naked.  Fair’s
fair.”

Aeryn stood without moving for a microt, then gently pushed him toward the bed.  “Sit down,” was all she said.  

He stepped out of the rumpled heap of leather, kicked his pants and shorts into a corner, and did as he was
told.   

Aeryn unzipped her vest, slid out of it, and handed it to him.  John took it, puzzled by the offering, and waited.  
She pulled her shirt over her head next, and held that out as well.  He glanced between the choices and tossed
the vest over his shoulder, indifferent to its eventual landing spot.  Shirt, boots, pants, and undergarments
followed in random trajectories until she stood naked before him.

It was not a strip-tease.  This was something better.  This was Aeryn disrobing with deliberation, inviting him to
stare at her body and to enjoy the increasing expanses of skin.  If it was intended to arouse him, it was
working.  He had time to admire the slide and stretch of her muscles moving under her skin, the coordinated,
elegant movements of a finely tuned body, and to imagine how all the various pieces would behave once the
two of them were locked together in the throes of physical love.  There would be sweat and the sweet smell of
an aroused woman, slick surfaces, coordinated ecstatic movements, effort, exuberance, and the unique
compilation that was Aeryn.   

“Everything seems to be going well.”  She moved closer, so she was looking down at him.   

John ran his hands up the outside of her legs, brushed his fingers through the dark mat of hair waiting at close
to eye level, and then reached up to trace the contours of her breasts.  “You are beautiful,” he breathed.  He
looked up at her in concern.  “As long as you know this may not work.  I can’t guarantee anything.  You know
what happens when --”  

He looked down at his groin.  The errant thought, skittering willfully through his mind, had done its damage.  
“Damn.”     

“Don’t panic,” she said.  “I’m not done with you yet.  And it’s not the end of the universe if it doesn’t work out
tonight.”  Aeryn pushed him over backwards.  She gave him time to make himself comfortable on his back
before sitting down beside him.  A series of kisses began at his throat, making their way slowly down the center
of his body.    

“It may not be the end of the universe for you,” he said, watching the dark hair move away from his chin, “but
my entire future emotional stability is hanging in the balance here.”

“At least it’s nothing important.”  

John searched for a comeback.  He was distracted by a return of the aching interest between his legs.  Aeryn
kissed him on the stomach and then held that position, trying to hide her snickers.  Her breath puffed against
his belly, ticklish warmth flooding over his bare skin in time with each of her exhalations.

“You’re a real comedian tonight,” he said, trying hard to sound disgusted.  “Who supercharged your sense of
humor?”  

“You did,” she whispered against his stomach and resumed her journey.  “Shush,” she ordered as he started to
reply.  “Pay attention.  Who does this feel like?”  She kissed him just below his navel at the same time that her
fingers delved into his crotch and stroked the skin at the joint of his leg, knuckles nudging against his balls.  

“God.  It feels like god,” he groaned in response to the immediate expansion.  

And then she touched him in earnest.  He discovered that everything up until that moment had been teasing or
foreplay.  This was Officer Aeryn Sun on a mission.  

The strong fingers grasped the rigid focus of too much of his attention and coaxed him into a painful level of
pleasure.  Fingers, teeth, lips, and tongue were put into play, employing every nerve ending from the top of his
head to his toes.  She eased her efforts when he began to pant, played his body to its limits when he regained
his breath.  She was the musician finding his harmonies, creating the complex symphony of sensations that was
driving him toward the final crescendo, bending over him lovingly to sound out the limits of his possibilities.  
John closed his eyes and submitted willingly to the slow torture, never knowing where she would touch him next,
fingers and toes tightly clenched as she moved from throat to ribs, chest to belly, taking a careful inventory of
his body, always spiraling back to the thrusting pressure that threatened to overwhelm him.    

“Wait,” he pleaded.  A climax was rushing toward him unchecked, breath raging in his lungs in response to the
physical provocation, his body shaking and sweating.  “Not yet, not yet.”  Aeryn ran her tongue carefully across
one of his nipples, trailed the liquid warmth downward across his stomach, and he fastened his shaking hands
into the pillows and arched over backwards, fighting for control.

Arched, naked and spread out on a flat surface.  

The stray thought did its work.  “Shit,” he said in dismay, and started to sit up.  

“Who does this feel like?” she whispered, and kissed the inside of his thigh close to the scene of the disaster.

“Oh my god.”  Interest returned in a rush, almost stopping his heart with its intensity.  

“Wrong answer.”  She ran her tongue up his length, circled the head several times, and then lowered her
mouth over him, engulfing him in warmth, moisture, and suction.  One hand gripped the base of his erection,
the fingertips of the other stroked him lower, tickling the underside of his balls.  Hard and soft, warm and cold,
light touches and a firmer grasp:  his universe devolved into a series of opposites, each sensation heightened
by contrast.  He was conscious of little beyond the brush of cool air across his chest, stomach, and thighs, the
hot liquid pressure of Aeryn’s mouth yanking hard on every pass, the tickle of her hair trailing across his belly
and thighs, and the firm grip of her hand around the base of his shaft.  When he attempted to add in the caress
of two fingers running forward and back across his balls, the combined total left him with so little brainpower
remaining available for thought, he could barely function.  The unwelcome memories fled before the
sensations, taking every bit of self control with them.

“Aeryn --” he pleaded again, feeling the disaster of a solo performance approaching at high speed.  

“Right answer.”  She treated him to several fast strokes with her hand, and then relented, moving up his body
so she could hover over him, looking into his sweating face.  “How are you doing?”  

“You’re going to give me a heart attack.”  He reached up with one hand, cupping it alongside her face and
urged her down for a kiss, breathing hard through his nose.  Her tongue met his, sparred, sought him out,
reaffirmed that she loved him.  

“I love you,” he breathed against her cheek, nearly mindless with joy that they were together at last after
everything they had been through during the last cycle.

The past snared him once more, turning desire into revulsion.  

“This?” Aeryn asked as a tremor shook him.  

The distraction wasn’t enough.  He couldn’t answer, caught between desire, dismay, and the memories that
refused to be banished without putting up a fight.

“Look at me!  Look at me, John.”  

He did.  Aeryn straightened up, and held her arms out to her sides, presenting her body to him in all its naked
beauty.  He let his eyes roam from her knees to her thighs to her breasts to the dark hair and back down again
to where her legs joined her body.  Desire returned in a surge that was so intense it was painful.  

“That’s better,” she said.  Aeryn swung a leg over his body, turning her back to him, and settled her weight
slowly onto his stomach so he could not see what she was doing.  He was treated to the sight of her back and
her buttocks, and of the long dark hair spilling over her shoulders.  It was more than enough.  He rubbed her
back, exulting in the variety of textures:  in the knobby humps of her spine, the firm muscles of the narrow waist,
and the softer surfaces of her buttocks.  She leaned back, which allowed his hands to travel further.  He
caressed the taut stomach, used his fingertips to explore higher, and found her breasts.  Aeryn took his hands
in hers, guiding and encouraging him, silently letting him know that this was as pleasurable for her as it was for
him.  

It didn’t last.  After what felt like several arns worth of exploration and mutual enjoyment, she leaned away from
him, taking most of her upper body out of reach.  John waited, wondering what she had in mind for him.  She
tugged at his legs, asking him to bend his knees.  He ran his hands up her back, rubbed her shoulders several
times, and then did what she was requesting.  She guided his legs out to the sides, positioning his feet wider
apart in the process, and then both hands delved between his legs and he lost track of anything other than
what Aeryn was doing.  There was little left in his life other than the sight of her sitting on his body, and the
wondrous touch of her fingers.

It seemed to go on for arns.  For the second time that night, Aeryn jacked him up to a level of tension that he
never would have claimed he could sustain, and then allowed him to spiral back down.  Again and again, until
there was nothing but Aeryn, the pleasure, and an ever-mounting demand for release.  At some point she must
have turned around so she was bent over him again, because her mouth was doing most of the work.  He
couldn’t remember when that had happened.  

“Who does this feel like?” she asked again after an eternity’s worth of tension.

“Aeryn, Aeryn, Aeryn,” he babbled.  He was sweating and shaking, on the verge of a complete physical
breakdown.  This time it was for a wonderful reason.

Once again, the errant thought did its damage.  

“Crap!”

“This?” she asked right away.  Her tongue brushed against the base of his cock, and then the hot gusts of her
breath moved lower.  She sucked his balls into her mouth, treating them to a careful, gentle moist massage
while one of her hands tended to the remains of his erection.  

The hard aching pressure returned, this time accompanied by the squirming energy in his ass that foretold of
an impending orgasm.  “Aeryn!” he said, straining to get the word out, trying to warn her to stop.

Whether she understood his meaning or not, she straightened up, which was all that he wanted.  “Good
answer,” she said, and smiled.  “How is your heart attack coming along?”

“Stupendous,” he gasped out.  It took several microts to get himself under control and for the urge to die away
until it was something that he could manage.  Aeryn spend the time rubbing his stomach.  

“Good god,” he said at last.  “You could damage a man by doing that too many times.”  

Damage.  

He sighed.  It took so little to destroy what Aeryn had worked so hard to accomplish.  

She did not seem to care.  She kissed his stomach, and set to work again, bringing him back to full aching
hardness in less time that he would have thought possible.  She did not relent until his toes curled under,
threatening to make his feet cramp, and he started to surge upward into her touch, seeking the last bit of
provocation required for the exquisite internal explosion.  Only then did Aeryn straighten up, rub his belly
several times, and look at him.  One hand remained between his legs, devoted to maintaining his
concentration.  

“You know” she said, “this evening is turning out like a trainee’s first Prowler flight.”  

“How’s that?”

“A lot of ups and downs.”  

John froze in shock.  Aeryn released him and doubled over to rest her body on his chest, shaking with poorly
contained laughter.  He couldn’t remember ever watching her laugh this hard.  Aeryn never dissolved into
giggles.  Worse yet, she was laughing at him, and at his inability to maintain a hard on.

“That’s not a lot of help!” he said.     

But somehow it turned out to be the magical incantation that dispelled the last of his demons.  As he watched
and felt Aeryn struggle to contain an unsoldierly level of laughter, it was as though someone had opened a
window into his soul, allowing a breeze to air out the musty detritus of everything he had been through, and he
was finally free of the damaging remnants.  There was only a wonderful emptiness left, a singular longing that
said he had to be with her at that very moment, without any further hesitation or delay.  

“Come here.”  He pulled her onto his body, one hand traveling down her buttocks to reach between her legs.  
She straddled him for the second time, this time facing him with her knees alongside his hips, and the
symphony began again.  This time he was the musician.  He found the warmth between her legs, thumbs first
exploring the soft skin at the joint of her hips then rubbing harder, working into the muscles and nerves that
could start the excitement, pressing deep, encouraging her to spread her legs wider.  Then reaching farther
between her legs, this time with his fingers, to caress the moist tissues, to coax and encourage.  This time it was
her breath that shuddered with desire and excitement, her hands that grasped his shoulders and hung on as
she started to shake.  

He sat up with her, holding her hips hard against his, trapping his erection between their bodies, and nuzzled
her gently between her breasts.  “You are so beautiful,” he admired her, and took one tautened breast into his
mouth.  

Her fingers pressed against the back of his shoulders, grasped wildly at his hair as he sucked at her, ran the
flat of his tongue across the hardened nipple, and nipped carefully at the sensitive skin.  She squirmed against
him, small noises beginning deep in her throat, her pelvis rubbing hard against his trapped hardness, sharing
her moisture as she moved within his embrace.  He took a deep breath and switched sides, attending to her
other breast with equal care and devotion.  Aeryn twisted to one side, and he did what he knew she liked,
nibbling along the side of her breast with his teeth, bestowing a series of unhurtful little pinches and lighter
touches with his tongue.  

She squirmed, rubbed her pelvis hard against him, and turned the other way, presenting the other breast.  He
complied, massaging the first breast with his free hand, pressing hard against her chest to provide the contrast
of hard and soft, using the combination of light tickles and a nearly painful degree of pressure that would
confuse her mind and light up her body.  He kept it up until she let out a quiet moan and arched away from him,
presenting every inch of naked beauty from crotch to throat.    

John let his hands roam freely, exploring, touching, stroking the warm surfaces, finding each and every one of
Aeryn’s favorite places and subjecting her to a slow, torturous rise to a climax.  There was the side of her neck,
the base of her throat, the hollow of her shoulder, and working back, there was the spot beneath her ear where
she did not mind a gentle pinch from his teeth.  There were elbows and wrists, the spot on the inside of her
ankle, and a firmer stroking with both hands at the small of her back, until her entire body started to vibrate.   

“Please,” she whispered, leaning into him as he stroked her back from the nape of her neck to her buttocks.  
“No more frelling around.”

He reached between their hips, and sought out the deeply hidden portions of the cherished form, squirming
back away from her to give himself more room, pushing aside his own rigid flesh in the quest to locate her
special spot.  He kissed the underside of her throat as his fingers moved inside her for the first time.  He
explored gently, easing her open until he encountered slick moisture, working carefully until his fingers slid
easily, pushing, coaxing, pressing harder, until he knew she was ready for him to touch the exquisite bundle of
nerves.  

“No,” Aeryn cried quietly into his ear and clutched frantically at his shoulders.  A fist thumped at the muscles of
his back several times, and she bit his shoulder.  

John buried his face in the side of her neck, breathed deep, taking in the scent of Aeryn, and rubbed the
swollen knob carefully, gauging how much she could withstand.  She pushed against him, and he pressed
harder, using two fingers, feeling the surge and spasm that said he had gotten it right.  Her legs performed a
wild dance of confusion, trying to close around his hips and spread wider at the same time.  He spared one
hand for several moments to push her legs farther apart, exposing her to his continuing attentions.  Then he
explored her depths, rubbing the internal spaces until she clung to him shivering and starting to buck and
whimper, her body succumbing to a sensation that was denied him by genetics.  

She was almost there.  He rubbed harder, settling into the insistent rhythm that was the only touch she could
endure when she was this close to an orgasm.  

“Stop, stop, stop.”  

She pushed him over backward, then crouched over him, eyes closed, lips pressed together as she came back
from the edge of where he had driven her.  He continued to caress her body, enjoying the smooth textures,
elegant padding over firm muscles, warm silken surfaces.  Her breasts fit neatly into his hands, resilient and
soft, hardened nipples thrusting against his palms, and she dropped her head, her hair falling to teasing at his
shoulders as she rounded her back and shuddered again.

His world was her softness and his hardness, her quiet sighs of desire and his own long breaths as he tried to
ignore the demand for release, excitement mounting with every light touch.  As though reading his mind, Aeryn
opened her eyes, and watched him as she worked her hips back until she was poised over his pelvis, hovering
less than a dench from the tip of his cock.  He grasped her hips to draw her down, urging her to complete the
union.  Aeryn lowered herself a small distance, until they touched, then stopped and smiled at him in devious
amusement.  He tugged again, and she sank down another dench, imbedding just the head of his cock inside
her warmth.  He let out an exaggerated whimper of frustration, and then Aeryn sank down the rest of the way.

An all-encompassing warmth and the special grasp of uniquely female internal muscles engulfed him.  For a
moment, it might have been his entire body sinking into a place of safety and love, not just the one bit of his
anatomy.  His entire self was inside the woman he loved, and the rest of the universe did not exist.  

“Aeryn,” he breathed out over several microts, providing the answer without the question.  

She hummed and rocked against him, stroking his shoulders in time with her motions.  He wanted to tell her
something about this moment, about love and remembrance, and about compounding memories and joy and
relief and life itself.  There was a message he needed to share that had to do with her commitment to him and
how hard he had fought to earn her love; about pain, endurance, stubbornness, and the relief that all their
effort had paid off.  He could not find the words to explain it to her.  Most of all, he wanted to tell Aeryn that it
was over at last, that he was whole again, and that he loved her more than life itself.  He let go of her arms all at
once, and rubbed his eyes with the heels of both hands, scrubbing at them.  Aeryn’s strong fingers grabbed
him by the wrists before he could finish, drawing his hands away from his face.  

“Tears?  Now?”  

She was studying him, considering his outburst and the cause. “I think I understand,” she crooned, and wiped
the tears away for him.  

She rocked on him, settling into the insistent rhythm that would carry them to the evening’s finale, driving hard
against his pelvis with each stroke.  A ball of warmth sprang to life just below his sterum, rose from his chest to
his throat and set his ears on fire.  Aeryn smiled.  The flush that followed the progress of that internal ignition
was a sight that made her smile every time, indulging in a secretive smirk as her actions controlled his every
breath, every heartbeat.  His tears dissipated, the relief-driven need to cry was banished by the warm tug of her
internal muscles.  Aeryn rocked forward and took his head in both hands, fingers splayed around his ears in a
familiar grasp, studying him for several microts before lowering herself down to kiss him.  

It was a full-bodied kiss, the type that managed to get inside his throat and his skull and his stomach.  It was a
long-lived kiss, consisting of tongues and teeth, and of Aeryn’s hips continuing to thrust against his; of suction
and hot breath and fingers digging deep into her waist.  It drew in their legs, their stomachs, their backs, and
their arms, demanded effort out of every bit of their combined bodies from fingers to toes.  It might have gone
on forever if they hadn’t run out of air.  She broke away, brushed a lighter caress across his lips, and remained
where she was, hunched over him, holding him just below the ears.  

“I love you,” he willingly recited the precious words.  Aeryn rocked back onto his hips, internal muscles
massaging him, and stared into his eyes as though attempting to fix the moment in her mind forever.

“I need you so much,” he whispered.  He reached up and gently took her head in his hands, pulling her down to
him.  “I need you so much,” he chanted again.  

Aeryn bent over him willingly, preparing for another kiss.

“I need you so much,” he said one more time, trying to make that thought his entire existence.  “I need you.”  

“John?”  

“Hang on,” he whispered, and touched her forehead to his.

She could never have been ready for it.  No warning could ever have been enough.  

Aaaaahhhhh, they sighed together …

… and it was …

… John who led the way as they struggled together for control, neither one wanting the joining of their
sensations to overwhelm them so soon.  He showed her how it was done:  resisting the release, denying the
pleasure with every breath, ignoring the call to ejaculation.
 And for the first time in her life, she understood the
agony involved in the pleasure, how waiting made every touch, every moment sweeter still when it was finally
time to surrender to the drive.  
He felt himself inside her, the stiff yet yielding intrusion filling the most private of
all places, envelopment given freely, muscles allowing him inside, to be engulfed in her love.  The sweet pang of
stretching tissues that were designed for this, meant to be stretched and pressured.
 

She rocked on him, letting out small cries as she felt her own strong internal muscles yanking at his entire
length, rippling over the sensitive head.  She stopped all motion, poised in panic, overwhelmed by his need to
respond, not understanding that there was still time, that a measure of control remained within him, feeling his
laughter in her laughter as he let her see that it could be done, they could wait.  
He ran his fingers lightly
across her breasts and found the circuitry that sent those sensations through her entire body, connecting the
light touches to every cell, every nerve ending from head to foot.  He pulled her down and sucked lightly at her,
nipped at her to see what she felt when she asked him to do that, and then fell away gasping when the excited
tissues sent their message through their shared body, from hair follicles to toe nails.  

“Oh my GOD!” he yelled into the shared space, finally understanding.
 She laughed.  And gasped and panted
as her muscles clenched around the eager, engorged organ.  She tried another small chuckle, needing to know
more, and cried out at the feel of the internal grip tightening around the rigidity of his erection.  “Too much, too
much,” she cried into his mind.

“Having a heart attack, Aeryn?”  

“Yes, yes, yes.”  

He pulled her down, sucking at her nipples again, feeling the fast arousal, the pleasure building within her,
knowing when and where to touch, feeling it as if it were his own body.  Every caress, every kiss was exactly
right, his hands and mouth following the trail across the body that was his own, the two of them lost in the
rightness of it as her crescendo built and crashed over them in a matter of microts.
 She was clenching and
grabbing around the hardness that was her own, the muscles urging it toward release, inviting his body to join
in climax, but she knew why he was showing her how to hold back.  She knew what he wanted to feel, his desire
becoming her desire and letting them wait together through her frenzy.  

He devoted only as much of himself as absolutely necessary to restraint, throwing the rest of his senses into
the orgasm that gripped them both from head to toe, felt the full-body electrical jolt that was her special gift.  He
arched his back as she arched away from him, consumed by the explosion, every muscle singing of pleasure,
his nipples hardening as hers did, his stomach rippling with the combined tension and release, his internal
spaces filling with the energy and ecstasy that he had never fully understood
.  They began to relax, fusion and
fission gradually releasing them, tense muscles simultaneously easing, letting her sit up straight, allowing him to
sag back into the mattress.  

His inquiry was wordless, affirming that it wasn’t too soon, and she let him feel the resurgence, the readiness,
leading him to the waiting need that needed only a thumb on her breast, a touch on her neck, a kiss, a gentle
caress
and they rode the wave up together, just as exquisite, just as explosive as before, so he could know
what it was like to have it happen again and again.

He whimpered and squirmed, unable to cope with the extended muscular frenzy of her orgasm.
 Give it voice,
sing the ecstasy, she commanded, and she threw her head back and led the song of release.  
His cry joined
hers, a coordinated baritone wail of exploding synapses, urged on and on because he knew exactly what would
keep the orgasm alive.  Muscles finally cramping, objecting to the extended tension, the weight on his hips, the
new position of pleasure, and he sagged back into the cushions again.

Again, she told him, feeling the fast rising need rebound from her to him and back again, building at a speed
she had never thought possible.  
This one was sweeter, an aching finale, painful in its intensity, harder to
endure, and more ecstatic all rolled into a nervous frenzy that was impossible to bear.  He caught it, sustained
it, kissed her hard while they both struggled for breath, and kept it going long after it would have otherwise
died.  

They panted together, breaths raging simultaneously in the quiet chamber, two nervous systems fused into
one.  
She was warm and wet around him, sliding more slickly against the head of his cock, and they ached with
the waiting.  It was his turn at last.  Slowly, slowly, slowly.  He showed her how it could be done.
 She felt the
rightness of it, the pleasurable friction, the yank and tug, the sliding ecstasy, the rhythm that reduced him to
insensibility.  She could use his vision to look past the taut flat muscular belly and see where he entered her,
see where his hands supported her hips so it would be as comfortable for her as it was for him.  
And he felt the
wonderful thrust inside, the hard friction, used her sight to look down into his own face to see the look of blissful
concentration that always made her smile. The moment approached, tension building until it could not be
denied, reaching the pinnacle for the third time that night, and he showed her how to let go, embracing the
moment he’d been waiting for from the first moment she had touched him that evening.   

She yelled in surprise as he came, and his voice joined hers as he felt the shock of ejaculation run through a
body that had never experienced this moment.  
The wondrous feeling deep inside as it started, the cock
beginning its pulsing, the hard shoving that increased his pleasure, and he cried out again with her enjoyment
of his ecstasy, heard her voice harmonizing with his.
 She felt his sweet explosion that turned all thoughts to
random signals, the hot rush pulsing firing flowing bursting through their hips.

Thrusting more deeply, the thick pressure pushing hard, crying out from the joint orgasms, thought short
circuited, their entire being centered in a collection of erectile tissue.  
Her climax was a spreading explosion, his
was an implosion, drawing their awareness inward toward the union of their bodies.  

He took her in, led her to the center of his existence.  The pride, the joy, the ecstasy, the need.  One
opportunity, one moment preciously saved, nothing spared when it came, demanding that every small bit of
energy be expended before collapse. They groaned as one, almost weeping with the intensity, the sweet
relaxation, exhausted ache, stretched abused muscles, tired internal spaces, burning legs and lungs.  And
somewhere deep inside, he felt that she was almost ready again,
but he was spent.  His one gift had been
given and the death-like exhaustion spread through them both and they were suddenly apart, unable to
maintain the union any longer.

“Oh … my … god.”  

John lay with Aeryn collapsed on his chest and fought for air.  The sweat was dripping off both their bodies,
adding moisture to the already soaked sheet beneath them.  Aeryn muttered into his shoulder, her words the
ones that were almost unintelligible for a change.  

“Was that something about a heart attack?” he rasped, still trying to catch his breath.  She simply nodded, her
forehead rocking up and down against his shoulder.  

John eased her legs from their cramped position alongside his hips, straightening them out alongside his own
shaking limbs, and then pulled the covers over their clammy bodies.  He gently stroked her back, and finally felt
her stir.  Aeryn lifted her head and stared at him, the loose black hair swinging down to brush against his
chest.  “I will never joke about giving you a heart attack ever again.”  She let her head drop.  It hit his chest with
a thump.

“Mmmmm.”  

She peered up at him.  “What are you thinking about?” she asked suspiciously.  

He gathered her hair, pulling it away from her face so he could see her, twisting it into a thick tail and laying it to
one side.  “About having it happen more than once.  That’s a nice feature.”

Aeryn shook her head again, rocking it slowly from side to side where her forehead still rested against his
shoulder.  “Not this time. That was almost too much.”  She turned her head to one side, resting her cheek
against him and staring off into space.  “How do you even move after that?”  Her eyelids began to droop; she
yawned and stretched against him.  

John let his fingers tips wander up her back, walking their way up her spine.  “Sometimes we don’t.  We die
happy.  It’s every guy’s dream.”  He shifted slightly, feeling the pleasurable tug where he remained inside her, a
remaining vestige to remind them both of the thorough joining of bodies and souls they had recently enjoyed.  

Aeryn hummed against his chest.  

“You okay?” he asked.

“That feels good,” she whispered.  “Is it nice?”  

“Mmhmm.”  He was falling asleep.  He ached.  For the first time in a very long time, the discomfort was a quiet
echo of sensations he had willingly and ecstatically endured.  Aeryn kissed his chest.  He drifted, half awake,
enjoying the warmth that seeped from her body into his, replaying the experience in his mind so he would not
forget what it had felt like.  

Aeryn shifted slightly; her breathing quickened as she woke from a brief nap.  “I don’t think I could stand to do
that again any time soon,” she said seriously.  One hand slid up from the mattress and began a slow wandering
through the hair on his chest.  

“Don’t worry.  I think that was a one-shot deal.  I didn’t actually expect it to work.”  He was still working his way
through the deluge of sensations that had rolled over him during their union.  He started to laugh.  

“What?”  Aeryn raised her head to look at him.  

“Do you recall yelling?” he asked.  Her eyes got vague, then she nodded, smiling sleepily.  “Do you think
there’s anyone aboard Moya who doesn’t know what we were doing in here tonight?”  

She propped her chin on her hand, and continued to watch him from her vantage point, an odd half-smile
appearing.  

“What?”  It was his turn to ask the single word question, puzzled by her stare.  

Aeryn lowered her head back onto his chest and snuggled closer, closing her eyes and relaxing into his body.  
John began to wonder if he was going to get an answer to his short question, but sleep was reaching out for
him as well and he decided it probably did not matter.  The pleasant and familiar exhaustion rolled over him,
and everything seem to recede, even Aeryn’s weight was fading as he began the slide into unconsciousness.  

“Welcome back, John Crichton,” she whispered.  “I love you.”  

He smiled, hugged her tightly and for the first time in a very long time, they fell asleep together, a contented
and comfortably exhausted couple.  


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Chapter 19                                                                                                                       
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