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by Sophia Jirafe

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He had been strong enough to resist her on Valldon. The restraints gave him power, then, kept his empty hands pinioned behind him, held at attention like the soldier he still was sometimes. In the residence hall, in front of the madmen, in front of Stark, it had been bearable to be bound, bearable to hold back. There had been everything to lose.

The restraints were back on now, and no one had stopped Stark from doing it. Not Rygel, who only smiled at others' pain, not Talyn, who was angry with him for leaving and working out in the back of his subtle, childish mind.

Pulse weapon to his head, white with fury, Stark had cinched him up slowly upon their return to Talyn: one click, tight, two clicks, pinching, three clicks, the blood beginning to pound in his fingertips. The restraints were well-crafted, calculated to hurt without damaging. They'd been made by Peacekeepers, after all.

He had been strong enough to resist her on Valldon, with lies on his tongue and guilt in his heart, but there was fresh blood on his hands now. He would have carried this blood for her, this guilt and this pain and so many more pains besides, but she didn't share. Peacekeepers didn't.

He balanced on the edge of his bed, working his shoulders, seeking Talyn's mind but getting back only snaps and sparks, bright little explosions that warned him out of the inner halls of their shared consciousness. The scars on his chest burned for a white-hot moment, and he leaned forward, panting, his bound arms reaching backwards for something he could not achieve, a moment without pain.

She entered. She unfastened her vest. Her entrances were always excellent.

He had been strong enough to resist her on Valldon. Her nakedness made him weak. His legs would have borne him, perhaps, but there was nowhere on the ship she could not have found him. He could have turned away, but she had two strong arms and he had none.

"Don't look so glum, Bialar," she told him. "This is what Peacekeepers do, isn't it? Take advantage of the weak."

She knelt before him, shrugging off her vest, breasts so heavy and perfect that it only made sense that his hands were bound. It was as though her body had been created only as a torment, his own particular punishment for crimes he was too tired to remember. She reached for the opening on his trousers, easing down the fastening slowly, with purpose, brushing her knuckles over his member, which swelled against his will. Weak, endlessly weak.

"Should I put my mouth on you, Bialar?" she asked. "Is that what you dream of? Would you like to pull my hair? Force yourself down my throat? Is that what you've been hoping for?"

"Aeryn," he said, hoarse and desperate. She struck him across the mouth with the back of her hand.

"Shut up," she said. "I know all about you. You only want. You are only desire. Do you not remember the time I shared Talyn with you? I've seen every corner of your small, filthy mind."

She reached inside his trousers and pulled his member free, erect and needful in the dry air of his quarters. She stared for a moment, half a hard smile crossing her face, and he closed his eyes.

"You want as badly as Rygel does, except he only wants food and riches. You -- you're different, Bialar. You're a Peacekeeper. And so you want other people. You want to own them. You want to consume them."

She ducked her head down, open mouth taking him in without touching, only breathing hotly on his skin. The tip of her tongue flicked him and he sucked in a short, fast breath, trembling.

"I'm a Peacekeeper too," she said, lifting her head. "I take. I consume. I use. That's what we do. What we're bred for."

She sat back, pulling off her calf-high boots, then stood and slid her trousers off, stepping back into her boots. Her pale, strong body made him feel the naked one.

"Aeryn," he tried again, as she came towards him, the smile on her face worse than any tears. "Aeryn, you only hurt -- yourself -- "

"Maybe you haven't noticed," she said, planting a foot on the bed near his hip. "But a lot of people hurt me. I think it's time I took over that part of my life."

Her legs spread like this, her sex was not far from his face, the thick thatch of hair trapping her scent. He closed his eyes, overwhelmed by the smell meant to entice Sebacean males, and opened them to her harsh laughter.

"Stop smelling me, Bialar," she said. "This isn't about you."

She gave him a hard shove backwards, and he had just enough time to tuck his bound arms in before he fell, and she was upon him.

Heat. Pain.

She knelt over him, and he expected more teasing, but she slid down as soon as she made contact with his member. She was no more ready than the youngest virgin, and the rough clutch of her muscles made him wince as she forced him inside. He could not imagine how it felt to her.

"Yes, what we're meant for," she continued, beginning to move on him. "Fighting and consuming, recreating and making little Peacekeeper babies who grow up on command carriers hating the word 'mother.' We have no emotions. We have no minds. We are just bodies, carrying out our orders."

Their joining had begun to produce a little moisture, a little pleasure, and he bucked his hips almost without knowing it. Her hands whipped to his shoulders, pressing him down, straining the strong muscles of his upper arms, trapped beneath him. He gasped.

"No," she hissed. "Peacekeeper bodies carry out Peacekeeper orders. You stay still."

"I -- am your captain," he wheezed, trying to play her game. "I give the orders."

"Not anymore," she said, pushing down harder. "You gave all that up. You stole Peacekeeper property, this lovely, mad Leviathan. You betrayed your superiors. You -- you killed the leader of Peacekeeper retrieval squad. You have no rights here."

"And you?" he rasped, trying to gain leverage against the floor with his feet. "You're a traitor to your race, an aider of enemies. I threw you out myself."

The stone mask of her face, the blank fierceness of her eyes, shuddered, became transparent. For a moment she was there again, the woman beneath the soldier, and then she slipped away, lost.

"That was a Sebacean, a weak woman prey to her emotions," she said after a moment, licking her lips. She died. I am Officer Sun. Whereas you are the traitor here, Bialar."

She rode him again, building in speed, still leaning forward with her hands pressed on his shoulders. The strain in his shoulders built to agony, warring with the pleasure in his groin, and he tried to roll over, pushing off the bed with his bound arms.

"I am stronger," she panted, shoving down with every thrust. "Stronger than you. Stronger than anything you can imagine."

Their joining became a battle, her weight against his muscles, her pleasure racing against his, as her shoves strained his twisting shoulders.

"Stronger," she chanted. "Stronger. Stronger."

His body gave way at last, one bone pulling free of its socket, and with his agonized roar her ecstasy won, taking her in gasping waves, as she grimaced and held him down, held him down.

She rose immediately, leaving him wet and aching and exposed, and dressed, sliding her booted feet through her leather trousers with a swish like the sharpening of a knife. He groaned on the bed, trying not to move, trying not to think, too weak to roll onto his good shoulder.

"You see that strength is everything, Bialar," she said, staring down at him. "Strength of body. Strength of mind. Without strength you are nothing."

Her entrances were excellent, but her exits were even better.

The pain took him, though he was trained to bear it, and he lay in dizzy weakness for what seemed like arns. He cast without hope for Talyn's mind, but there was only the buzzing blank noise that meant his higher functions were resting while the lower functions managed life support. On Talyn, it was night.

A hissing motor noise roused him eventually, not being part of the hum of the ship, and he opened his bleary eyes to see the small green form of the Hynerian hovering at the end of the bed.

"What do you want?" he whispered.

"I thought you might like the key to your restraints," Rygel answered, his voice polite and unreadable.

"Where... "

"The Banik can't remember where he keeps his mivonks, let alone his keys," said Rygel. "You should see his half of our quarters."

He was unable to say what he thought, that he had seen every inch of this ship, had been every inch of this ship.

"Release me," he managed instead.

"In exchange for what?" Rygel asked, the politeness in his voice more menacing.

"In exchange -- for nothing," he groaned. "I have nothing -- a grasping thief like you -- would want."

Rygel shook his head, closing his eyes in mock sorrow. "Oh, Captain Crais. For a high-ranking Peacekeeper, you're a remarkably poor negotiator. Always making demands, never offering anything worthwhile. And insulting too."

"Release me, or leave," he said. "I have no strength for games."

"Strength," Rygel said thoughtfully. "Strength is a worthwhile thing. Most worthwhile to those who do not possess it."

Crais closed his eyes, wondering what the Hynerian was thinking, and what he'd heard.

"Now, you do indeed possess strength," Rygel continued. "Though not at the moment. With a little rest, and someone to fix that shoulder of yours, you'll be as strong as ever. Why at this very moment, you possess more strength than I do, just by thinking about it.

Crais opened his eyes again, warily.

"Talyn," he said.

"Yes, Talyn," Rygel answered, tenting his tiny, fat fingers. "The little Leviathan that could. The ship that took down a shadow depository. The weapon we've been chased halfway through the galaxy for by crack Peacekeeper squads. Talyn."

"I cannot give you Talyn," Crais said.

"Why not?"

"He doesn't like you," Crais said, baring his teeth in a smile.

"I didn't say I was going to pilot him," Rygel countered. "I just said I wanted to own him."

"There is no owning Talyn," Crais said. "Only a pilot can even come close to controlling him. You know that."

"A Leviathan can, of course, be controlled," Rygel said, turning the key over in his hands..

"Talyn would die before accepting a collar. You know that too."

"Ah, well," Rygel said, shrugging his fat shoulders. "I suppose you're right. And I suppose you will have no difficulty piloting Talyn with your hands behind your back."

"Stark will unlock me, eventually. He is not so mad as to forget the ship needs a pilot."

"Yes, but will he remember where the key is?"

Rygel held it up again for a few microts, and their eyes met. At last, Rygel shrugged again, and tossed it onto the floor.

"Have it your way, Captain. I'm sure we'll find another way for you to repay the favor."

He hissed out of the room again, and Crais breathed deeply, nerving himself. Then he propelled himself upwards, his stiff shoulder screaming, briefly stood upright, and fell forwards onto the thin carpet, slamming his cheekbone against the metal of the floor. He stared at the key in front of his nose, trying to hold back groans and failing.


He reached, instinctively, for the sleeping Talyn, then retreated. One of the new DRDs was repairing a fuse on a nearby corridor, and he summoned it. After unbearable microts, he heard the doors of his quarters hiss, and the mechanical buzz of the DRD scooting across the floor. He directed it to pick up the key, and began to painstakingly, painfully maneuver himself and the little jointed arm close enough to fit the key in the lock. Metal touched metal at last, and he turned his wrists, wheezing at the pain of movement.

The lock clicked at last and his arms slid apart, bringing a new jolt of agony to his shoulder. He braced himself against it, biting his tongue, curling his toes, and waited until the wave passed. He stood then, lumbering upwards, and realized that his trousers were still open as they slid to his ankles.

The shame of it, the sheer animal humiliation, broke a twisted smile to his face, a smile that cracked into laughter, until he pushed his shoulder back in again, and the pain made him see stars of red and black.

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Fandom:  Farscape
Title:  Strength
Author:  Sophia Jirafe   [email]   [website]
Details:  Standalone  |  R  |  het  |  12k  |  03/08/04
Characters:  Aeryn, Crais, Rygel
Pairings:  Aeryn/Crais
Summary:  "This is what Peacekeepers do, isn't it?" she said. "Take advantage of the weak."
Notes:  Post-"The Choice"
Thanks to Shaye, for taking a chance on editing my first foray into this fandom.

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