Lick of Sense

by sugargroupie

PG, 935 words

Summary: she's immediately suspicious.

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

Notes: Originally written for farscapefriday's Use It or Lose It Challenge - What does this smell like?. Takes place vaguely S1. Thanks to Kernezelda for beta services well done. All mistakes are mine.

.   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .

The human's behavior continues to perplex her.

Aeryn finds him in the maintenance bay, his back to the main entrance as he leans over a workbench. She's immediately suspicious. Instances where Crichton busies himself into silence are always cause for concern. He is often still awkward, if not eager, at finding his place here; carving a life in a universe that has not been especially welcoming to human ways and sensibilities. But it is his persistence, his willful stubbornness to survive that she finds herself respecting more than she cares to admit.

However, now is not one of those times.

She enters at an angle, giving the work area a wide berth to see what has Crichton's attention, grey eyes flattening as her suspicions are confirmed. What the frell is he doing with her weapons? She'd left them out to retrieve an extra cleaning cloth from her quarters; hadn't been gone for longer than three microts...

Aeryn sighs impatiently. "Crichton."

She affects the sharp tone on purpose, furrowing her brow when he jerks in surprise.

The human exhales loudly as he turns on his heels. "Jesus, Aeryn, quit sneaking up on people like that."

Beneath the scowl, Aeryn is faintly amused. "I was not sneaking. Not everyone has to make as much noise as possible when they move, Crichton."

Crichton shrugs and turns back to the workbench. "Next commerce planet, I'm gettin' you a bell," he mumbles.

"What? Never mind." She braces her hands on the bench, stands close enough to Crichton to feel the warmth from his arm. "What the frell are you doing?"

He swallows and rubs the back of his neck. "Uh, you know, just admiring your guns." His lips quirk in a smile that's quickly hidden with a strategic hand and a cough. Very odd. "That's quite an arsenal you got there."

Aeryn stares at him a moment before stating the obvious. "Peacekeeper issue. They are sufficient for now, but soon I will need more if I am to protect us with any adequacy."

Crichton nods.

"You were sniffing."

He doesn't blink, but his eyes do widen, and then he clears his throat in a manner of embarrassment that is all too familiar. "You saw that, huh?"

Her curious gaze narrows. "It was odd, even for you."

"Now hold on, it's nothing bad. At least, I don't think it is. You can't die from smelling too much chakkan oil, can you? "

"No," Aeryn answers, and plucks a charge from the flat surface of the bench, waves it back and forth under her nose. "Is that what you were doing?"

"That's what I was trying to do." Crichton mimics her actions and places it back with a soft grunt. "I just... you can smell how much is left?"

"You can't?" Surprise echoes clearly in her voice.

"Nope. And damn near passed out trying to catch a whiff. Must be a Sebacean thing."

She hums a short agreement and focuses her attention on her abandoned task. Crichton goes to his ship and leans over into the cockpit, probably returning to whatever it is he was doing before deciding that inhaling chakkan oil was a good idea. They work in companionable silence. "What does it smell like?" she asks a few microts later.


"The ammo pack. What does it smell like?"

"Huh." Crichton leans against his module, absently rubbing his bottom lip. He pushes away and comes to stand next to her again. "I dunno. Kinda like that root, but just barely. It's so faint I can barely tell."

"Humans don't have a strong sense of smell, then." Aeryn double-checks the charge, slots it back in with the heel of her hand and quickly picks up another pistol. "That explains a lot."

"Whatever." He shoots a glance at Aeryn and the small smile on her lips and can't seem to help but return the gesture. "I wonder if..." he trails off before clutching the ammo in one hand and bringing it to his mouth.

It's difficult not to fix her eyes on the motion of his lips opening, tongue flicking out for a quick taste and then swiping over his lips again. Frell.

"What do you think you're doing?" she snaps at him. "You're not supposed to taste it."

"Well I damn sure can't smell it." Crichton rotates his tongue, nods, and smiles brightly. "Tastes like a loaded gun."

Human nonsense, but Aeryn decides that if tasting the charge will help in defending himself then all the better. Eventually he will arm himself.

Placing the ammo in her outstretched palm, he circles to her other side. "What I can't figure out is why you smell it, even when you're just cleaning your guns."

Aeryn speaks quietly, concentrating on the details of her story, the details of her weapon. "While I was still a cadet, my unit was assigned to reconnaissance on a planet that had permanent nightfall. We were there for quite a while. I got caught unawares once... and discovered my pulse pistol had a low charge."

"So you check it religiously to keep it from happening again." With one finger, Crichton nudges the small canister of oil to one side and catches it with one hand, then pushes it back to the other. "Won't make the same mistake twice."

A short pause as her microbes deciphers his meaning and then she nods. "Exactly. Mistakes in battle can cost you your life."

"I'm learning that," he says, splaying one hand over the remaining cartridges.


Crichton licks another charge. "That's better," he mumbles to himself.

Aeryn continues to polish her weapons.


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