Crichtons Don't Cry
(First posted December 18, 2004)
Rating:  NC-17.
Category:  Honeymoon Fic … because people asked for it.  Also a ‘wishful thinking’ PK Wars filler.
Time Frame/Spoilers:  Farscape:  Peacekeeper Wars.  This takes place toward the end.  
Test Drivers/Betareaders:  PKLibrarian, Atana Mirtai, CrystalMoon, aeryncrichton and Tazey.  Thank you all
for reading and commenting.  Believe it or not, Scapers, I ran into a bit of difficulty getting the smut right.  
Special thanks to PKLibrarian and Tazey for pitching feedback in my direction, and getting me out of my smut-

Hope you enjoy it.

*  *  *  *  *

“Crichtons don’t cry … often … or for very long.”  

Her heart starts beating again.  Unimpassioned Peacekeeper logic, hammered into her by tens of cycles of
training and overthrown forever within arns of meeting the bizarre blue-eyed human for the first time, says that
it didn’t actually stop pumping for a tenth of an arn, but it certainly feels that way.  Sweating, clammy skin, a fist
clamped tight around the base of her throat making it difficult to breathe and even more impossible to swallow,
and the light-headedness that she is convinced comes from having an organ cease to function, all begin to
fade.  His next few words are a guttural murmur that scarcely carries to where she is standing.  

“Where’s your mother?”

She lingers at the door, in part to give herself time for the shock to wear off and to wipe away the threatening
tears, but also because she enjoys watching him with their son.  John fumbles the blankets loose, freeing a tiny
hand.  Leaning in close he blows soft kisses into the questing fingers, lets their child explore his nose and lips,
and then lies back so he can watch the baby.  The conversation picks up again, inaudible mumbles coming
from John, each comment answered by burbles, louder squawks, and the occasional screech of dissatisfaction.  
John’s head slides forward, comes up with a snap, and then starts another slow descent.  He’s falling asleep,
and if he does, he’ll end up on top of the baby.   

That’s when she decides to return to his side.  She crosses the short distance to the bed without haste,
confident that John would never actually let that sort of tragedy happen.  He would roll out of bed in the other
direction first, accepting an uncontrolled crash to the floor before he allowed his body weight to crush his child.  
Rejoining him has more to do with allowing him to relax than it does with protecting their baby.  

Fatherhood seems to come naturally to John.  She doesn’t know if it’s a product of his upbringing or a matter of
human genetics.  All she knows is that he wears the mantle comfortably, as though it were tailored to his body,
while for all that she enjoys motherhood, she is struggling to adapt.  There is too much to learn and she wants
to get it right on the first try.  

“Hey,” she greets him, perching one hip on the bed.

“Where you been?” he asks without bothering to provide his half of the ritual.  “And what is Junior doing here?”  
His expression is one of concern, not full-blown worry.  “Is everything okay?”  

“I wasn’t far, and everything is fine now that you’re awake.  Where have you been?”

His eyes are working their way from her head down to her waist, and a small furrow appears above his right
eye.  As she watches, the first hint of anxiety shifts sideways into a mild case of bewilderment.  “You’re looking
good for someone who just gave birth and then fought her way out of the midst of a couple of battalions of bad
guys, Mrs. Crichton.  You’re looking pretty damned good, as a matter of fact.  Is this more of that Peacekeeper
genetic modification thing?”  

She devotes several microts to making sure that the baby is happy.  It’s not really necessary; their son, recently
fed and changed, is settling down for what she hopes will be an extended nap.  But checking on the littlest
member of their small family gives her time to consider how to answer his question.  For once, a blunt head-on
statement doesn’t seem like the right way to handle it.  She chooses a flanking approach, one that will gather
information before drawing any final conclusions.  

“John, what do you remember after you shut down the wormhole weapon?”

He sags back into the cushions, stares at the ceiling, and takes on the same frightening, blank-eyed stare that
has been his only expression for too many arns.  This time it lasts no more than a few dozen microts -- just
enough time to resurrect the empty sick feeling in the pit of her stomach and the strength-sapping chill that
runs up her spine.  He takes a deeper breath, scowls for a moment, and then looks at her without bothering to
turn his head.  The sideward shift of his eyes is at once direct and evasive.  He is watching her, and yet not
facing her.  

“The last thing I remember is learning what it feels like to have my brain yanked right out through my skull, but
I don’t remember actually closing the black hole.  I know I got in the machine, and I remember feeling the
connection to the circuitry that I needed in order to shut it down.  Then Einstein put in an appearance,
microwaved my cerebellum, and that’s about it.  Why?  What did I do wrong?  What part of the plan did I screw

“You didn’t screw anything up.  There is peace, John.  The fighting has stopped just as they promised.”  

“There’s a ‘but’ hiding in there somewhere.  I can hear it,” he says, voice rasping with depression and what
might be the first inkling of fear.  

“But,” she begins with emphasis, addressing his comment, “you have been lying here without moving for three
solar days.”  She wants to add, “You scared me nearly to death,” and doesn’t.  It is the sort of statement she
never puts into words and that John always knows is lurking inside her.  

“Th --”  He stops to clear his throat.  “Three days.  I could have sworn …”  It isn’t a question.  He believes her
from the start.  This is more a case of voicing his shock.  John’s eyes flick down to the baby, up to her face, and
then back to their child.  “And everything is okay?  No problems?”  

The past several days have not been without difficulties.  She had been woefully ill-prepared for the first few
days of motherhood, if only in terms of collecting all the materials that were required in order to care for a
newborn.  But she has received advice and assistance from every direction, some of which has surprised her
beyond the ability to offer polite thanks.  Pilot and Moya have swamped her with a stream of information on
everything from the nutritional requirements of a Sebacean infant to the recommended arrangement of his
tragk!va -- the cloth wrapping that John refers to as a diaper.  Before leaving Moya for parts unknown, Stark
lingered long enough to teach her a little Bannik tune that when combined with a gentle rocking will quiet even
the most distressed screaming from her son.  

Two arns after the signing of the armistice, a welcome and yet detested gift had arrived from Grayza’s
Command Carrier:  a red and black emblazoned crèche bunk, offered as a form of tribute to the man who had
blackmailed an entire galaxy into declaring peace.  Although the sentiment expressed by the accompanying
datachip reads differently, she knows that a gift coming unexpectedly from ‘High Command’ can be nothing
other than a form of long distance obeisance.  She welcomed the crib for its utility, and felt an unpleasant
crawling up her spine whenever she reflected that as an infant she had probably slept in just such a bed, one
of many neatly aligned in ranks and rows, filled with a new generation of soldiers.  With their newly awakened
abilities, the Eidelons had sensed her mixed feelings.  With a few arns work and a small supply of cloth and
biomechanoid components, they had disguised its origins, turning it into something that looks like it has been
grown by a leviathan.  

The biggest surprise has been Chiana.  Over the past three solar days, the ‘narl herself’, displaying a variety of
talents belonging to a thief and scrounger, has dropped off a small square of soft blanket material, heaps of
cloth to be turned into tragk!vi, a tub that could be modified into a baby’s bath, a hastily cobbled together rattle
made of a discarded DRD eyestalk filled with bits of metal, and much more.  For someone who proclaimed to
hate narls, Chiana has shown an unequalled knowledge of what a baby would need at first.  

“Have there been problems?” John asks again, beginning to look alarmed.  He struggles his way up onto one

“No.  No problems at all.  I want to have a little discussion with you about how your son has already learned to
wield that,” she waves her hand in the direction of John’s crotch, “as a weapon each time I try to change him,
but that conversation can wait.”

“My man’s got a little fire hose, does he?”  He looks inordinately pleased with the fact that he has a son.  

“John, I am seldom on fire when I am trying to change him.”

“It’s a saying, Aeryn.”  He smiles down at his son, looking almost as sleepy as the baby and yet beaming at his
offspring even as he begins to doze off.

“You never answered my question,” she says.  It has been a hideous three days.  She craves answers the way
she once longed after the orderly life of a soldier.  

He blinks several times, eyes vague.  It’s a familiar expression.  John is mentally working his way back through
the conversation, searching for the overlooked query.  In the end he resorts to asking, “Which one?”

“Where the frell have you been?” she demands past an increasingly painful lump in her throat.   Despite all her
efforts to keep her voice calm and even, too much of the anxiety of the past few days makes its way into the
question.  The tears she has refused to shed threaten to get loose, and she turns her head until she manages
to get them under control.  When she looks back at John, he is watching her with guilt in his eyes.  “I need to
understand,” she says, offering little in the way of an explanation.  

Wriggling carefully away from the baby, he sits up and runs a hand through his hair, leaving it standing on end.  
It is reminiscent of a time when the disheveled look was an outward sign of an inner, mechanically inflicted
psychosis.  She watches his eyes, and offers up a small prayer that this is simply a habit, not a manifestation of
a new form of insanity.  No one -- not even Pilot and Moya after ordering an inspection by the DRDs -- has
been able to offer an explanation for the surge of energy that enveloped John when he collapsed the wormhole
weapon in upon itself.  The snaking trails of that uncontrolled discharge have left an artwork of sooty deposits
littered across his body, as though a wormhole god has written a caution upon this one human, warning all that
this knowledge shall forever be off limits to mortal beings.  This one human -- her husband, father of her child,
John Crichton -- has done enough for one lifetime.  He deserves to rest.    

The answer, when it comes, is delivered in a hoarse, rasping whisper.  “What can I offer him, Aeryn?”

“What do you mean?”

“I’m supposed to teach him how to throw a football, how to shave, drive a car, hang a door, eat a pizza out of
the box, and how to drink milk from the carton without either of us getting caught by his mother and getting our
asses shot off as punishment.  It’s supposed to be about standing in the backyard feeling awkward as hell the
first time you tell your kid what sex is all about, and spending your entire life showing him the difference
between right and wrong and about compassion and being a decent person.  What can I offer him?”  

John waves a hand in the direction of their sleeping son and rambles on, feigning a future conversation.  “Here
ya go, Junior, let me show you how to destroy an entire galaxy.  After that I’ll show you how to murder
thousands of people without so much as turning a hair, and how to walk away and leave your best friend to die
alone without even trying to save him.”  He wipes the heel of a hand across his eyes and stares down at the
rumpled covers lying across his legs, shoulders hunched over as though his body is contracting in upon itself.  

It takes a memory to unlock the message stored in his brief, quietly voiced outburst.  She has seen him like this
once before:  withdrawn, morose, grieving for the person he thinks he has lost forever.  John sat with her after
they escaped from Katratzi and mourned not only the lives he had taken by setting off the bomb, but also for
what he saw as the loss of his own decency.  That is where he has been for the last three solar days:  
Replaying his choices over and over in his mind, weighing cost and benefit, slowly coming to terms with what he
was forced to do in order to attain peace for millions of beings, and quite possibly debating whether to let
himself slip away from her forever or make his way back.  

She leans forward, grasps him behind the neck, and urges him to meet her halfway.  Her hand fits into the
curve at the base of his skull as though it belongs there for all eternity, holding him carefully at the physical
junction of his mind and body.  John comes willingly, and rests his forehead against hers.  His skin is warm for
the first time in too long.  Lying motionless, barely breathing, his body’s metabolism had slowed to the point that
he had become cold to the touch … like a corpse.  Unsure of the cause behind his coma, they hadn’t disturbed
him even to bathe him.  He is coated in a rasping layer of dirt, dried sweat, and the crusted traces of blood.  
She doesn’t care that he is filthy; John is warm, and he is alive.  

“We were out of time and we were out of options.  You know that,” she says, starting with the most obvious

“I didn’t look hard enough.  There had to be another way.”

“There wasn’t.  We discussed it.”

His headshake is a gentle back-and-forth rocking against her forehead.  “Barely,” he whispers.

“You didn’t want to do it, and you didn’t do it alone,” she argues.    

He is determined to blame himself.  “If I hadn’t --” he begins.

“No,” she says, cutting him off.  “No more.  You did what had to be done.  A weaker man would have shied away
from the cost and the entire galaxy would be engulfed in war right now.  There would be no place left to live in
peace, John.”  

His voice is barely audible now.  It isn’t a whisper; it is as though the depression is sucking the life out of him,
stripping him of the energy necessary to speak.  “Tens of thousands died this time, Aeryn.  How many ships
were sucked into that monstrosity?  Ten?  Twenty?  A cycle ago you wouldn’t let me destroy the Command
Carrier until we found a way to do it without killing everyone on board.  What has changed to make their lives so

She ducks her head below his to look into his eyes.  “Peace.  The number that died here is a fraction of the
casualties that a galactic war would have inflicted on both the combatants and the innocents.”

John is being especially stubborn today, even for him.  He counters with, “That’s not morality.  That’s

Leaning to one side, she gathers their child into her arms, rocking him for the four or five microts it takes for
him to settle back to sleep.  Then she asks, “Is this worth the price that was paid for peace?  Is he worth the
choice you made?  Or is this more mathematics?”  

“One plus one equals three,” Crichton whispers, and then he manages a smile.  “The two of you are worth any
cost at all.”  

“Are you sure?” she asks.  “No more second guessing the choices we made?”  

He gazes at her for more than ten microts, reaches out to run a hand down her cheek, and finally nods.  “Yes,
I’m sure.  If it means keeping the two of you safe, I’d do it all over again.”  The hesitant smile broadens.  “And if
I forget this conversation at some point, you can always kick my ass to remind me.”  


“Thought you’d be willing to help.”  

He leans closer, deriving strength from the simple act of watching the baby sleep.  It is a peaceful, magical
moment that she wishes could go on forever.  The look on John’s face each time he looks at his son is a rare
form of sorcery that can weaken her knees and does something to her stomach that leaves her feeling mildly
queasy for hundreds of microts at a stretch.  It is not an unfamiliar expression.  She has seen it all too often
when John looks at her.  It is a silly looking sort of a smile -- ‘goofy’ in his terminology -- that hints of a brain that
has gone into irreparable failure leaving him operating on emotions alone.  

She wonders if he ever sees the same sort of expression when she is looking at him.  By all rights, he should.  

“You haven’t had the chance to hold him yet,” she says, bringing the brief, silent interlude to an end.  “And he
needs a name.”  

“John Junior.”  

“Absolutely not.  When I yell, ‘John, I am going to kill you!’ I don’t want our son thinking he’s the one in trouble.”  

“What about the other way around?” he asks, grinning happily at the implied accusation that there will be times
over the coming cycles when he will infuriate her.  The light of the future is in his eyes, hope restored to its
rightful place.

“I doubt that will happen.”  She finishes tucking the blanket around the baby and tries to hand him to John.  
That’s when she gets a shock almost as severe as when John collapsed on Command.

“No.”  He shuffles backward on the bed, moving out of range.  

Several dozen thoughts spin through her head all at once, upsetting first her balance and then her stomach.  
She is dizzy, nauseous, and confused.  The possibilities present themselves with hideous clarity, each one as
unpleasant as the one before it.  He doesn’t like to hold children; he only wants to watch them from afar while
she is left to raise their son on her own.  John won’t touch the baby until he knows if it is his or the twin’s.  
Half-breed sebacean-human, which is to say human-human, revolts him.  He doesn’t love their son; he doesn’t
truly love her.  Insanity, the clone, an unexpected facet of his personality, an Earth custom he has never
explained:  these thoughts and more rush into her mind’s eye, and hasten right back out just as fast.  

John loves her and he loves the baby:  that is a given.  It has to be something else that is causing his
withdrawal.  “Why not?” she asks, making it an aggressive challenge.  

“Aeryn, I’m filthy and I stink.  Even an itty bitty little micro-nose like his will be able to tell that something
horrendously foul is holding him.  It would be like getting rocked by Rygel after His Eminence of Emesis has
binged on marjools for ten arns straight.”

The relief that the source of his reluctance is something so easily resolved summons laughter.  It is made worse
by the fact that a solar day earlier there had been an event all too close to what John has just described, and
their son had made his displeasure known loudly enough that the screaming had been heard five tiers away.  
One moment there had been only her, the baby, and Rygel in the Center Chamber; microts later they had been
joined by almost everyone aboard the leviathan, including an appearance by Pilot in the clamshell.  Eidelons,
Chiana, Stark, and several luxans had all poured into the chamber, every one of them concerned that there
had been some sort of catastrophe.  Rygel had sought refuge in the air ducts where no one could tease him,
and the baby had calmed down once Moya’s air vents had been shifted to high capacity to clear out the cloud
of gas.  

Smothering a smile, she jerks her head toward the waste alcove, and says, “That can be solved easily enough.  

John rolls off the bed … and nearly falls to the floor.  The only thing that prevents him from going all the way
down is an elbow that manages to snag the edge of the bed.  “Slipped,” he says, looking sheepish.  

It’s a flimsy excuse.  She can tell the difference between a loss of traction and knees buckling without seeing his
feet.  This didn’t happen because he is wearing nothing but socks on his feet.  “Maybe you should eat first,”
she says.  “It’s been three solar days.”  

“No way.  All I would smell is me and I’m not very appetizing right now.”  John indulges in one of his most
irritating habits.  He ducks his head into his armpit, sniffs, and makes an exaggerated pretense of gagging.  
“I reek.  Shower first, food later.”   

“I hate when you do that,” she says.

“We’ve only been married a few days and already you’re nagging.”  His filthy t-shirt sails into a corner, followed
in short order by his socks and his pants.  

“I don’t want you teaching some of these things to him.”  

John glances at the doors to the cell, which are standing open, steps into the waste alcove, and a moment later
his shorts join the fast growing heap of clothing in the corner.  That habit might have to go the same way as
smelling his armpits.  She has no intention of spending the rest of her cycles following John and even one child
around Moya picking up after them, let alone three.  

The baby fusses for a few microts, lets out a prodigious yawn for such a small person, and then goes back to
sleep faster than he woke.  The funny sensation in the middle of Aeryn’s chest happens again.  Not quite a
flutter, not quite nausea, it is a warm melting sensation that by all rights should make her feel weak, and lends
her strength instead.  She suspects that it is a new variety of love.         

Water starts to run in the shower.  A microt later she can hear John splashing about, the steadier gurgling
sounds of running water punctuated by the sloppy spattering noises that come from fat dollops of bubbles
hitting the floor.  The mental vision of soap lather and hot water streaming down John’s naked body generates
an intensely visceral reaction, one that easily drowns out the quiet fluttery feeling behind her sternum.  There is
love for her child, and then there is the far more urgent, physically demanding love she feels for John Crichton.  
The second one craves attention.  

It takes no more than ten microts to build a cordon of cushions around ‘John Junior’ and to make sure there is
no chance he can fall off the bed.  Twenty microts after that, she is undressed and steps into the shower.  John
is standing with his hands braced against the wall, head hanging, simply letting the hot water pound down on
his head and shoulders.  For a man who has spent three days lying in bed, he looks exhausted.  He raises his
head into the spray, devotes one hand to scratching at the first hint of a beard, as though contemplating
whether he should go to the trouble of removing it, and then lets his head drop and stands without moving

The hard, metallic ache of physical desire fades away, leaving the softer, sweeter tasting pang of concern for
him in its stead.  What John needs now is food, some undisturbed time to sit and enjoy his son, followed by
eight or ten arns of real sleep.  Crossing the short distance between them, she places a hand on his back.

“What?”  John spins around to face her, startled by her touch, and nearly loses his balance.  “Where’s the

“Sleeping.  I made sure he’s safe.  Let me help.”  She takes the washball out of his hand, turns John around so
he is facing away from her, and begins washing his back.  He doesn’t argue about being able to do it himself,
and that alone is testimony to his level of fatigue.  John leans into the wall with his head turned to one side so
his cheek is resting against overlapping hands, and lets her take over.   

Although this isn’t precisely what she wanted, it is close:  the feel of the warm, soap-slick skin passing beneath
her hands, the small shifts in the muscles of his upper back as John adjusts his position, the gentle dance of
bone and tendon responding to the pressure as her hands descend along the knobby humps of his spine.  She
works her way down his body, scrubbing hard wherever the blackened trails mark the punishment the wormhole
weapon inflicted on him, and eventually reaches his buttocks.  She lingers there for longer than is wise if she
doesn’t want him to sense what is on her mind.  

“I get to do the same thing to you afterwards,” he says.  One eye is watching her, looking amused.  

At a loss how to answer that, she settles for laying her cheek against the water-warmed skin of his back and
hugs him.  His entire body seems to soften inside her embrace, a new level of relaxation achieved through a
single, simple action.  Shifting to one side so his forehead is resting against one forearm, John runs his other
hand lightly across her arms where they are wrapped around his ribs.   It says that this is a good way to stand:  
her body pressed up against his, held together by gravity rather than effort, the hiss of the water lulling them
into a not-quite-awake daze where there is nothing left in their respective universes but the presence of one
other person.  

“Nice,” John whispers after a while.  

“Mmhm,” she agrees, and straightens up.  “But we can’t stay here forever.”

“We could at least try,” he says, as though it were actually feasible.  

“We need to finish before John Junior wakes up and wants something.”

John turns to face her, smiling.  “John Junior?” he asks, looking delighted.  

“Don’t get excited,” she says, trying to quash his enthusiasm with her tone of voice.  “It’s temporary.  We need
to choose a name, John.  I can’t keep calling him ‘Him’.”

“We will.  Let me think about it for a bit,” he says.  John scoops a generous fistful of hair cleanser out of the
container and begins washing his hair.  Halfway through rinsing, he eyes her through the streams of suds, and
makes a circular motion with his head, asking her to turn around.  “Let me do yours.”

She has never been able to figure out why he enjoys doing this so much.  That absence of understanding has
never stopped her from agreeing, however, and this time is no different.  Having John wash her hair always
involves an absurd amount of physical contact.  For an activity that by all rights should be confined primarily to
her head and shoulders, he somehow manages to turn it into a full-body activity.  She steps around him long
enough to run her hair under the heaviest portion of the shower, soaking it more thoroughly, and then lets John
take over.  

Somewhere in the midst of his fingers massaging her scalp, the kisses that seem to be a requisite part of
washing her hair, his gleeful chasing of suds as they trail down her body, and the light caresses of her breasts
in the guise of rinsing them, the deep, voracious need for a union of their two bodies becomes more than she
can suppress.  

She aches to feel him inside her.  The whispering pang of recently stretched and abused muscles is overtaken
by the more strident demand that she do whatever is necessary to feel him both within and without.  The first is
a quieter sort of discomfort that remains in the background from waking to sleep, speaking of the exertion
involved in bringing a new life into the universe; the other is an electrical jolt that fires from her navel to the
base of her spine, waking every nerve ending in between.  It is craving more than discomfort, an amorphously
located hunger floating in the middle of her pelvis, crying out for the sense of fullness and the delightful
pressures against internal surfaces.  

“Love me,” she says impulsively.  

“More than life itself,” he says, and kisses the tip of her nose.    

“No, not that type of love.”  Using both hands and some of the suds from her hair, she lathers the dark, sodden
mat of his pubic hairs, and then moves a dench or two lower to stroke and massage him.  “This type of love.”  

He takes in a huge, convulsion breath in response to the fondling, every muscle from his navel to his throat
straining for the split microt that it takes to suck in the lungful of air, and then he pushes her away.  “No.”  

To her surprise, his rejection doesn’t hurt.  “You’re too tired,” she says, testing to make sure it isn’t something
she has done or said.     

John snorts out a surprised laugh.  “God, Aeryn, I can’t imagine ever feeling too tired to play hide the salami
with you.  No, that’s not it.”  He steps toward her and kisses her.  It is a soft yet insistent touch, demanding a
response from her with light, coaxing pressures and fleeting nips.  It progresses to teeth and tongues, diving
deeper with each foray, and then to strong arms around her shoulders and a hand sliding down her back to
press against the base of her spine, holding her tight against him, assuring her that he loves her with heart and

“Then why not?” she asks when he finally releases her.  

He spends several microts running his hands through her hair, working out the last of the cleanser before
answering.  “Bay … bee,” he says with a full microt pause between the syllables.  “You just hatched an egg, my
love.  Or don’t you remember threatening to kill me?”  

“I remember all too well.”

“Then give yourself some time to heal, Aeryn.  You can’t possibly be ready for this already.”

“I am more ready than you can possibly imagine.”  

“The baby was big and it was trying to come into the world ass end first, kind of like how his father goes through
life.  You could have tears or something inside,” he says, once again stepping away from her.  

“I don’t.”  

He looks down at her abdomen and shakes his head, steadfastly refusing to participate.  His body is working on
a different agenda, however, and chooses that moment to make its wishes known. She comes close to
laughing, if only because John looks so disgusted at his involuntary reaction.  

“Cut that out!” he says to his anatomy, and bats at the stiffening organ.  The pummeling only makes things
worse; now he is fully erect and is visibly becoming harder with each passing microt.  Rolling his eyes at the
worsening situation, he continues to address the misbehaving portion of his body.  “No means no.  You’re just
going to have to wait a few days.  I’m tired and Aeryn just popped a kid loose, so lie down and shut up!”

It is Crichton at his worst and his best.  Only John would stand before her, undeniably aroused, and carry on an
argument with his own erection, acting as though a third person had just joined them in the shower.  And in that
moment, when John is acting most like the bizarre, often inexplicable person that he is, the need to be close to
him builds to an unsustainable level.  She had begun to fear that she had lost him forever.  Sitting for arn after
interminable arn beside his bed, sometimes closing his eyes for him because she thought that even in his
catatonia he might sense the discomfort of dry stinging eyes, she had feared that she might never hear this
sort of ludicrous conversation ever again.  He wakes from his unsleeping coma, he smiles as though nothing
has happened, and within half an arn he is spouting his usual nonsense.  John is back, he is undamaged, and
more than anything else in the universe, she needs to feel his arms around her.  

She steps close, pursuing him into the hot spray of the shower.  “I used the medical scanner to check for any
sign of injuries.  I’m fine.  Superior breeding.”  

“Genetic modifications,” he counters, backing away.  

“Different words, same concept.  You have seen it for yourself, John.  I heal quickly and without complications.”  

John runs out of room to retreat in a matter of steps.  He backs into the corner, jolts to a halt, and stands there
looking uncertain, water sheeting over him, hair plastered against his skull, the clear rivulets tracing their way
down his chest to his groin and then falling free.  She wants to caress his balls in the same manner that the
water streams over them, arcing over the rounded surfaces, lightly embracing their contours, tickling her way
loose at the bottom the same way the water does, if for no other reason than to watch what her touch does to

Need doesn’t begin to describe the ravenous feeling that develops inside her at the thought.  Her body begs for
presence rather than friction, simple union rather than physical effort.  

“You know how to be gentle.  I know you do,” she says, kissing the base of his throat.  “John, I need you to
make love to me.”  She rarely uses his phrase for recreating.  This time it seems like the only description
appropriate to what she must have.  Cuddling will not be enough.  She desires a far more intimate joining.  The
horrors are over, peace has been entrusted to the Eidelons and their reawakened abilities, and the time has
finally come for Aeryn Sun and John Crichton to be together.  

She watches him swing between wanting to do what he thinks is right and wanting to do what she asks, the
silently conducted argument reflected in his expression and the signals being given off by his body.  “It won’t
hurt me,” she says after his internal battle goes on for too long.  

When John takes her chin in both hands and kisses her, she knows she has won.  He tastes clean with the
lingering hints of sweetness that comes from Moya’s water treatment filters, underlain by the faintest suggestion
of bitterness that seems to appear whenever he has been under stress.  The flavors of John Crichton are like
their lives:  the more pleasant tastes forever emphasized by the ones that come from danger and grief.  

“Are you sure?” he asks in a hoarse whisper.

“Yes.”  She says it with all the emotional backing she can muster.  It comes out differently than she intends.  
Instead of a vow of her certainty, it emerges on a deep-throated growl of physical desire.  

Her expression must have transmitted her own surprise, because John looks shocked for a microt, then grins
widely and pulls her close.  Holding on to her for some extra balance, he stretches to his full height and peers
out into his cell, checking on something.  When he looks back, it is with the light of impending intimacy in his
eyes.  “The tadpole is sound asleep.  We’ll have to be quiet.”  

“You’re the one who always yells,” she says.

“You do all the screaming,” he counters.

“I have never screamed.”

“Wail, then.  Or shriek.”  John leans in close, his lips brushing against her ear, and begins a whisper-quiet,
falsetto, “oh, oh, oh, oh” mockery of a woman in the throes of an impending orgasm.    

She counters with guttural grunts and the deepest pitched groans she can muster, stringing them out four or
five times longer than anything she has ever heard coming from John.  

He laughs, his body quivering out its humor against hers.  “Okay, so maybe neither one of us is articulate when
we get excited.  Let’s see how we do with being quiet.”  

Deciding that the steady smash of water against biomechanoid walls might cover the small, unavoidable noises
and sooth a sleeping baby, they leave the water running and explore their way into a new, nearly effortless form
of lovemaking.  Penetration becomes a tenuous exploration, a gradual process with several retreats and a fast
desperate search of the waste alcove for a tube of lubricant, a concession to her recent childbirth and the lack
of foreplay.

She takes the tube out his hands and smears the gel on for him, taking her time, spreading it much further than
is needed.  She gets to explore his mivonks as she wanted, applying gentle pressure, playing with the slick,
bouncing masses until John throws his head back and reaches for a wall to steady himself.  Arousal thoroughly
ensured, she returns to his cock.  He is harder than she has ever felt him.  She doesn’t know why and doesn’t
care.  All that matters is that he is physically excited in a way she has rarely seen, and she is the person who
can make him this way.  The feel of his rigid flesh in her hands arouses her even further, her body ramping up
to a new level of tension, so she takes her time, deliberately doing her best to goad two bodies closer to a
sexual frenzy with each pass of her hand.  From base to tip she strokes him, pulling firmly, trying to judge when
she has him on the brink of a climax.  He won’t be able to drive into her as vigorously as usual.  If John is
teetering on an orgasm when they begin, perhaps this won’t be about her sexual gratification alone.  

“That’s good, Aeryn,” he says at last.  “That’s … that’s … that’s enough.”  His stomach muscles are quivering,
driving the words out in a jerking parody of speech, and a moment later the tendons in the fronts of his hips
spring into tautened relief.  It means he’s fighting his own body, trying to deny the response that it desires.  She
continues until his jaw drops and his eyes start to roll up in his head, which is John’s signal that he has reached
the crystalline moment when he is no longer in control of his own responses.  She stops and watches with
pleasure as he slowly spirals back to the mundane surroundings of the shower.  

“No fun for you if you kill me,” he eventually says on a long sigh.  

“Ready?” she asks.  

“You’ve got me a couple of light years past ready, Aeryn.”

“Easy,” she breathes into his ear.  “Slowly.”  

John lifts her with both hands, and carefully burrows in, stopping often for her approval.  She wraps her legs
around his waist, ignoring a twinge in her thigh, and concentrates on relaxing an entirely different set of
muscles than the ones involved in hanging on to John and staying upright.  

“Push,” John whispers, nuzzling the side of her neck.  “Inside.  Push against me.”  

Defying reason, it helps.  It rearranges the muscles from tension to resilient strength, and magnifies the sense
of fullness.  She nearly comes right then and there, if only because it is John who suggested it, and John who is
holding her, and John who is being so caring and gentle.  

“Oh … by Cholak,” she gasps and holds on tight to his shoulders until the moment eases.  A quiet pang deep
inside, a raw burning sensation that passes after a microt, tissues that were too recently stretched let out a mild
complaint about being used this way so soon, and then her hips came to rest against his pelvis.  Deep inside,
the tip of his cock is resting against the most exquisitely sensitive portion of her entire body, and for the second
time in a matter of microts her entire body begins to vibrate, begging for the extra bit of provocation that will
generate an orgasm.  She gabbles something, a plea to a god perhaps, and then John laughs into her
shoulder.  The deep rumble of his voice draws her back, returning her to the reality of the shower, the hot
spray bouncing off their shoulders, and the wall rubbing against her back.  

He frees a hand long enough to stroke a sodden lock of hair away from her cheek, and then stares into her
eyes.  “Okay?” he asks.

“Yes,” she sighs.  “Better than okay.”    

With her holding on to his shoulders, he walks them to a spot where she can hang on to the chest-high
partition, taking some of the strain off his tired body.  John is no less battered than she is.  In some respects, he
gave birth to something far more traumatizing than a child, and then he eagerly sucked the life back out of his
creation at a cost to him that only he knows for sure.  It has sapped him of endurance.  This needs to be quick.  

“Put one foot down,” he says.  “Turn a little.”  His hands guide and steady her through the awkward transition.  
When they’re finished, she is half turned away from him with one leg still in place against his waist and
supported by his forearm, and his pelvis is rubbing hard against hers, putting wondrous pressure against all the
right nerves, inside and out.  Almost as crucial, with one foot on the floor, this becomes less a case of
acrobatics and more like two lovers stealing a moment in a secluded niche of a wall.   

It becomes a slow ballet of smaller movements, of light touches and pressure carefully applied rather than
lunges and heavy friction.  It becomes the cool wash of air on her back and the warm streams of water surging
against her breasts; of John nudging against her, exploring until he finds the right angle so his pelvis will drive
against the fast swelling bundle of nerves that can generate the most intense orgasms, and then massaging
her inside and out with an easy, full-body rocking.  It becomes the touch of his lips on her breast, one hand
holding the back of her neck so he can kiss her with more energy, and the hypnotic, gently applied rhythms that
beg for her body to respond.  

Her world devolves into the rasp of his beard against the side of her neck when he leans down to kiss her
beneath the ear, and the sound of his breathing somehow coming across more clearly than the steady hiss of
the shower.  It is a matter of hands and lips and the gentle nudge of his balls against her crotch, of the almost
excessive bursts of pleasure whenever he manages to hit the exact right place inside, and of wet hair, slick
bodies, and warmth.  Her entire body starts to fizz, synapses demanding an immediate, out of control discharge
of energy, and internal muscles begin to clench and unclench around the thickened, pleasurable thrusting.     

“More,” she asks, whispering into his ear.  

“Easy,” he says, always tender, always thinking of her.

His free hand goes to her breast, though, massaging one and then the other in time with the rocking of his hips,
and that is more than enough.  The tension compounds, raising the hair on the nape of her neck and setting
her entire body to bucking and trembling, seeking the last little bit of provocation it needs.  Help arrives in the
form of his nose.  It nudges her head up and back so he can first kiss her throat and then work his way around
to the side until he is under her ear.  For a moment it feels as though every bit of her body is being touched by
him at once, insistent, loving.  The first, nearly painful spikes of her orgasm begin to fire outward from the
center of her body, collecting energy in preparation for total involvement.  Only it isn’t quite enough, and she
hangs there, suspended between a need that borders on agonizing and the first suggestions of an
all-encompassing ecstasy.  

“Please, John,” she gasps into his ear.  “Harder.  Now.”  

John does as she asks, pausing for an instant at the end of each deep, firm penetration, and at last she goes
up and over the edge.  The shower disappears from around her, replaced by a thought-shattering pulse of
pure, vibrating ecstasy that blossoms outward until even her fingers and toes are alight with pleasure and her
hair feels like it is standing on end.  She hears a quiet, groaning “Oh God!” close to her ear, is aware that he is
pushing against her with more vigor and urgency, and then a second wave of delight hits her and there is little
left except the fact that her body has snatched up every last bit of her awareness and is transforming it into
wildly spasming muscles, involuntary cries, and a wondrous melting sensation that suggests her innards are
turning to over-warmed jelly.  It weakens her knees so she has to hang on to John’s shoulders, which only
serves to make the final trembling frissons of her orgasm sweeter still.  In the midst of her orgasm, there is
scarcely enough consciousness left to take note of the quiet chuckling grumbles coming from John, but enough
remains that she knows when he trembles for an instant, and then tenses and stops moving, every bit of his
body save one organ going into temporary rigor when he comes.

It is over too soon.  Two sets of muscles begin to unwind, tension floats away like fog breaking up on a breeze,
and they slowly relax into each others arms, reentering a reality where the hot water continues to sheet over
their shoulders and swirl about their feet.  She sighs out the last bit of sexual energy and leans into his chest.  
“Nice,” she whispers into the water streaming across his skin.  

John lets out an extended sigh, slowly lowers her second foot to the floor, and then ducks his head to kiss the
droplets away from the corners of her eyebrows.  “Pilot’s gonna be pissed about the water usage,” he says

“He needs to get used to it.  I doubt this is the last time this will happen.”    

He laughs, sounding more relaxed and happier than she has heard him in a very long time, and kisses her one
more time.  “All done?”  

She smiles back, doing her best to look mischievous.  It is not an easy thing to manage because what she really
feels is languorous and sated.  “For today.”

“It may have to do for a while.  That one,” a jerk of his head in the direction of the bed indicates that he means
the baby, “is probably going to keep us both hopping from here on in.  We were lucky to get this much time to

If she had received that announcement from someone else just two arns ago, it would have filled her with a
sense of dread.  Now, with John awake, alert, undamaged, and tossing her a towel before grabbing one for
himself, it sounds like a particularly enjoyable field strategy exercise.  The challenge will be to steal time for
themselves in between answering the strident demands for attention from their son.  It sounds like fun.  

A thought occurs to her about what has just transpired in the shower.  “Honeymoon,” she says quietly.  

John looks up from drying his legs.  “What did you say?”

“That honeymoon custom you told me about where a new husband and wife go off by themselves for several
solar days and frell like crazy -- we just had ours, didn’t we?”

He wraps the towel securely around his waist and comes over to hug her.  “People usually go on their
honeymoon before they have kids.  Since I can’t see us parking the tadpole somewhere for six or seven solar

“Over my dead body.”  

“My point exactly,” John continues agreeably.  “So we’ll have to take our honeymoon in pieces.  A frell here, a
quick boff there.  It may take a --”  The rest of his answer is interrupted by several quiet hiccupping cries of
distress and then a rising wail coming from the bed.  “Story of our lives.  Never enough time.”  

“Maybe this is the new story of our lives.  Plenty of time and none of it spent on each other.”  The wails are fast
turning to screams of unhappiness.   She fumbles with the towel, trying to get it wrapped around her so she
doesn’t have to go out there naked.  

“I’ll get him,” John says, and heads into the cell at a run.  

The odd queasy feeling washes over her again, and then intensifies when John reappears with the baby
cradled against his chest.  He has his head bent low, murmuring more of his nonsensical assurances, and the
look on his face can’t be described as anything less than blissful.  She begins to understand that it isn’t just
love that makes her feel this way; it is much more than that.  It is love and security and the certainty that the
cycles that lie ahead won’t be spent alone.  She has a new family now, one that is more precious to her than
anything or anyone she has ever known in her life, and her future isn’t such a frightening void any longer.  

Something happens then.  It is as though a thick, opaque shell encasing her body cracks open and she
emerges into the warmth of never before felt sunlight.  Her soul relaxes from the rigid stance at parade-rest that
she has been maintaining for over four cycles, and the last of the insecurities that came with a new way of life
fall away.  She hangs on to the strengths, casts away the useless, hindering vestiges of Peacekeeper Officer
Aeryn Sun, and at last, she become something more:  a mother, and wife to John Crichton in the same manner
that he is husband to Aeryn Sun.  

“That’s not going to do you much good, Junior.  Those spigots don’t do anything,” John is saying to the baby,
who is searching vainly for a meal.  “Mom’s the one with the double-barrel cappuccino bar.  We gotta go see
Mom about requisitioning some rations for you.”  

Grinning with delight over his own silliness, John looks up at her and every bit of his attention shifts from the
baby to her in a split microt.  He is at her side immediately, one arm around her shoulders and his cheek resting
against her head almost before she realizes he is moving.  “Aeryn?  What’s the matter?”  

She wipes away tears that she hadn’t realized had gotten loose, smiles, and leans against him, reveling in his
warmth and proximity.  “Nothing.  Everything is wonderful.”  

“Is this the hormone thing, or are you just upset because you didn’t get to shoot as many Charrids as you would
have liked while you were in labor?”  He gives her a small squeeze and then devotes both arms to hanging on
to the squirming, squawling bundle that is demanding to be fed.  

“The second,” she says, knowing he won’t take it seriously.  She leads the way toward the bed.  

“How about I get you one of those sonic ascendancy cannons for our anniversary and you can blow a bunch of
asteroids into gravel to make up for it?”  

“That would be a start.”  She barely knows what she is saying at this point.  Clever repartee falls victim to

When she first stepped from the waste alcove into the main portion of the cell, she had not been surprised to
find that John had closed the doors and dropped the curtains into place.  But he has done far more than that.  
He has taken care of everything in the short time it took her to finish drying off.  The cushions on the bed have
been rearranged, there is a thick, furry thermal cover waiting to keep the two of them warm, and he has
grabbed several clean clothes to wipe up the inevitable wet burps and messy slobbers.

In the end, they wind up on the floor, a comfortable threesome curled up with lots of cushions for strategic
padding and support.  John is sitting behind her with his back against the foot of the bed, in turn providing a
backrest for her and watching over her shoulder while she nurses the baby.  She is warm, rested, sated,
enveloped by her husband’s arms and legs, and her son is in her arms, sucking greedily at her breast in an act
that is as ancient and natural as the universe itself.  And for the second time in less than a quarter arn, tears
threaten for no other reason than pure, unflawed happiness.  She leans against John, blinks hard, and fights
them back.  Because Crichtons don’t cry … often … or for very long.  

                                                                          * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
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