Gilded Cage

by sugargroupie

PG-13, 970 words

Summary: They've done this already, but she has no words for him this time.

Disclaimer: Not mine; O'Bannon, Henson, Kemper, et. al.

Notes: This is birthday fic for Kernezelda. The mandatory prop had to be ice cream. *g* AU with spoilers for John Quixote. Thanks to Shannon for the encouragement. Beta-free, all mistakes remain mine.

.   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .

Crichton comes to in stages, parsing the details as they slowly form in his mind. Chiana. Transport pod. Scorpius on the loose and his current freak-show of a life.

Ah, now he remembers.

He and Chiana were trapped inside the simulation, running through a maze like a couple of lab rats. He'd just hit another dead end when he came face to face with the Princess-- southern drawl, blonde hair, and looking so much like Aeryn he could barely move.

He remembers calling for Chiana but nothing else. It figures that after everything he's been through his mind would start to fail him when he needs it most. Maybe he'll live out the rest of his days in this game. In his next life he's got to remember to read the fine print.

Crichton shifts his weight, leaning on his elbows to get a better view of the room. He's still in the palace, lying on the bed but neither the Princess nor Harvey is anywhere to be seen. What was it she told him? The Ogre was showing Chiana around.

Movement catches the corner of his eye and he cants his head to watch the Princess walk in his direction. He's not sure what to think of her, aside from the hideous irony of her wearing Aeryn's face. But no, best not to dwell on what he can't change. Focus on the now. "Where's Chiana?"

"I told you--"

"Well how long is the tour gonna take?" He says interrupting her. "We can't stay here."

"Just a little while. Don't you worry, she's being taken care of."

He watches her closely, studies her face for any maliciousness behind her words but she just stares back with the same charming smile and unbreakable fa?de that scares the hell out of him.

"Are you sure I can't get you anything to drink? Maybe something to eat."

Crichton says the first thing that comes to his mind, because he refuses to take anything that's happening at the moment seriously. "Some ice cream would be great."

The Princess considers his request and nods her head slowly. Crichton's eyes are drawn to her lips as she repeats the foreign words silently, learning him, his way. She leaves him alone again and he wonders why he's sitting here making small talk with this woman. He should be looking for Chiana, and then a green door to get the hell out of this mind-frell, but he can't exactly get his thoughts together.

It occurs to him that she may have drugged him, but before he can begin to follow that trail of thought she's back with a tub of ice cream and a shy smile. He opens his mouth to ask the obvious question and she's standing between his legs, pressing her index finger against his lips. They've done this already, but she has no words for him this time. Just a slight shake of her head and she turns her attention to the food.

She gathers her skirt into her hands and slides on his lap, one smooth movement that has Crichton at a loss for how to respond. He strains against the comfort of her weight on top of him. He can't think about how long it's been since he'd last invited a woman into his space; it's Aeryn all over again, except it's not her and the need to substitute one for the other-- just for a little while, is overwhelming. He's not that desperate yet but he's pretty damn close.

She's spoon-feeding him now, chasing the sweet cream with her tongue down his throat and he can't push her away. He wants to push her, needs to remove her from his lap but Crichton's learned he rarely gets what he wants.

His hands grip her arms and she grinds her pelvis into his; back and forth as they push and pull apart. She nuzzles the side of his neck, brushes her lips against the warm skin of his cheek and it's so familiar that he freezes. He reminds himself that this game has his memories, and the Princess is probably more Aeryn-like than he realizes. She knows him, what makes him tick, what sets him off. Her right hand works its way underneath his pants, palms his sex and... oh god. She knows his secrets as well.

Soon he's losing time, resistance, himself. Too late to wonder about the reset button or whether he'll have to relive this moment over and over again every time he reaches this level. He can't decide if her touch delivers pleasure or pain. Maybe a little bit of both.

He no longer sees her and the Princess quickly learns not to speak lest she break the illusion. Perhaps who he really envisions is nothing like her, but it is she who has the great John Crichton in her hands, surrounding him. She knew he'd come for her and make everything better. In time she'll learn what makes him happy.


Crichton measures the passage of time by each article of clothing she's removed from his body. He runs his hand idly across his chest, feels the sticky residue on his skin and the aftertaste in his mouth. She's half-undressed and still astride his hips, except he's inside her now as his body betrays him. He's lost count the number of times she's worked him over; only remembers her lisping drawl whispering in his ear-- See, it's not so bad being here with me is it?-- before he's drowning in cool, soft sensation.

"What did you call this again?" Her brow crinkles as she stares at the concoction still decorating his skin.

His voice slurs. "Ice cream."

She licks his belly button clean of the substance and scoops more out of the container. "Mmm.. I like it."


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