Author: toadie
Rating: R
Summary: John Crichton is not the man he thinks he is.
Notes Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.’
- Friedrich Nietzsche 1886
Archiving: Please contact the author for permission.
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Black & White

Part 12

The first thing John felt was pain. Unfortunately, the second and third things he felt were pain. His body ached in places he didn't know he even had. He could feel grating in his chest as his ribs shifted with each breath and the skin on his face, chest and arms felt as if it were on fire. With a groan he forced his eyes open and grimaced at the bright light that shone directly in his face. He blinked for several seconds until he could just about make out several dark blobs moving against the light background. He opened his mouth to speak but only managed a dry throated croak, which garnered the attention of one of the nearby blobs of darkness.

 "About time you woke up,” Gemmell said as he picked up a jug of water and filled a glass, putting it to John's lips so that he could drink.

 “I’m guessing this isn’t heaven then? And I'll be it's not even Iowa.” John's voice cracked as he spoke, his throat still dry even after the water. The tissue in his mouth seemed to simply absorb it, leaving nothing to sooth his throat. “How long have I been unconscious?”

 “Only about an hour or so,” Gemmell stated as he sat back down in the chair by John's bed.

 “So why are you here? And where are my people?”

 “I’m here because I know some of what happened in the bay. As for where your people are ... well, I haven’t told them what’s happened to you yet. I thought it best to let you explain to them.”

 “So what do you know about what happened?” John grunted as he forced himself into a more upright position, ignoring the medico that was trying to make him stop dislodging the leads connecting him to various items in the room..

 “I know that a man who has been under my command since before I defected either betrayed me recently or has been betraying me ever since he was assigned to my ship.” Gemmell paused as he let that fact sink in, not only for John’s benefit but his own. Although he intellectually knew that must be what had happened, it seemed to bring a whole new immediacy to the fact by simply speaking it aloud. “And I know he tried to kill you, that’s about it. We have surveillance records but they start about mid-way through your fight. So we have no idea what happened before that.” He stopped, waiting for John to pick up the story and fill in the blanks. When he merely grunted as he shifted position, Gemmell sighed knowing that he wasn’t going to get any easy answers of him.

 “How are you playing it with your own crew?” John asked after an uncomfortable silence. He gazed myopically at Gemmell, suspicion obvious on his face. “What did you say to your crew?” John repeated his question but this time he sounded out each word individually and precisely, wishing his vision would clear enough for him to pick up some clues from Gemmell's body language.

 “They know all about your previous relationship with Lieutenant Sun, Aeryn, and well, after the explosion in your quarters many witnessed her behavior and a brief confrontation between her and Stammel.” Gemmell paused, gazing at John as he did his best to work a glare into his eyes, which could now barely distinguish colors but still resolutely refused to focus.

 “And?” John said, his voice rattling, sounding harsh in the quiet of the medical bay.

 “They drew their own conclusions. I simply didn’t deny them.” Gemmell added with a shrug of the shoulders.

 “Which means, an hour after the fact, your entire crew knows that what, he attacked me in a fit of jealousy?” John asked wryly, his mouth forming a small smile until he realized that only made his head ache even more.

 “Close enough, but, well let's just say, in their version he’s the victim.” Gemmell now sat back in his chair, all relevant knowledge now delivered.

 “But of course. And what does Aeryn say about this Greek tragedy she is living?”

 “Nothing, I ordered her to remain in her quarters and posted a guard. But I’m not going to tell her the truth, so I’m going to tell her the rumor and let her take it from there.

 “Oh, well while you're doing that I need to talk to Haig. So if you don’t mind.” With a heartfelt curse John pushed his rebellious body until it was sitting fully upright on the bed, and then swung his legs over the side. Without even looking at Gemmell he said, “Well are you going to help me get up or not?”

 #

 Aeryn paced her quarters. After the fight, which seemingly ended her relationship with Greg, she had started to pace back and forward in her quarters. From bulkhead to bulkhead she had strode, each pace laying a track of psychic anger across her quarters. She had cursed herself for once more letting her heart open to someone who then stepped on it and walked away as if nothing had happened.

 Now she paced for a different reason.

 Each step was taken with nervous energy. She had only the vaguest of rumors to go on. Helena had woken her over an hour before from a fitful sleep full of rumors about John and Greg fighting over her in an auxiliary boat bay. She would have instantly dismissed the notion is it hadn’t been for the facts. First the call from Commodore Gemmell personally ordering her to remain in her quarters and informing her that a sentry had also been posted to deny anyone access to her quarters. It went without saying that the same sentry would also keep her in her quarters no matter what.

 So she paced, never getting faster and never slowing down. An even tread back and forth, no outward sign of her emotions. None that is, until the door to her quarters opened without warning, allowing Gemmell to enter unannounced.

 “I thought I had best tell you in person, considering your involvement in the entire matter.”

 “My involvement? Whatever those two have done is nothing to do with me.” She said vehemently.

 “Yes well. I still feel I need to tell you in person that a little over two hours ago, Greg Stammell was killed, while fighting Cohortach Crichton. We don’t know the full reason but we do know that you were mentioned. I’m not trying to place any blame on you. You must understand that. But I wanted to let you know before any of the rumors reached you. I thought it only fair.” Gemmell watched as confusion, horror and pain all crashed over Aeryn's features until an iron will viciously stamped them down, leaving her face blank and seemingly emotionless, only her eyes betraying even the slightest hint of emotion.

 “What happened?”

 “I can’t say, but I will tell you that Greg was killed at close range with his own plasma pistol.”

 “It just doesn’t make any sense. Why would they fight? There is nothing between Crichton and me, and Greg just ended our relationship because he though there was.” She started to pace once more mulling the little she knew over. Gemmell sat down in the one chair and watched as the scanty facts coalesced in her brain into the false picture he had laid out for her to find. He hid a wince at his deception, even knowing it was necessary for the moment.

 “It’s Him. He has done this. It’s all his fault.” She slammed her fist viciously against the wall. All the while calling curses of hatred and anger down upon Crichton.

 #

 “What the fuck happened to you?” Haig shouted out, startled at Crichton's disheveled and red-faced appearance. He added a belated, “sir,” as he realized to whom he was talking.

 “This is a secured communication Haig. Is it secure at your end?”

 “Ah...” Haig tapped the console below the visual imager's range and a hash of black lines appeared over Crichton's screen until seconds later they cleared, once again showing a slightly less shocked but infinitely more wary Haig. “Secure now.”

 “It seems I have just been retired from Imperial Service. But instead of the gold watch and insincere thanks they were just going to kill me.” Crichton sat rigid and upright in his chair, taking as much pressure as he could off his broken ribs and making it easier to breath.

 “Are you sure? Maybe it was the rebels trying to...” Haig was plainly confused by the way events were unfolding. He knew nothing of what had happened and had to take it all on trust. However no matter how much he trusted Crichton this whole tale seemed to fantastic to believe.

 “I’m sure Haig,” John interrupted. “Believe me I’m sure. So what I need now is to know where you and the other ships stand. With me or with the Imperium.” He stated this baldly, without even a hint of emotion over it.

 “With you of course sir.” Haig said instantly, loyalty to his commander being drilled into a candidate officer from day one at the Academy.

 “Thank you Haig, but I want, no, I need, to hear it from each of the Captains in person. Because I have a plan to defeat the murdering bastards who are invading our… Imperial, space.”

 “You do?”

 “Yes, but like all my plans it relies on, one part planning, two parts luck and a suicidal lack of reason.” This finally seemed to crack the glazed look that had been overtaking Haig who surprised himself with a bark of laughter.

 “Ah, one of 'those' plans. I’ll inform the Captains, but what do you want me to do if they decided to stand with the Imperium?” John let the question hang for several seconds before he made up his mind.

 “Remove them from the Tac net and let them go on their merry way.” John knew that he could probably capture any ship that wished to leave his command now that he was rebelling against the Imperium, even if the Imperium had started it. But in the end no matter what they decided they were still his men and he wouldn’t do that to them.

 “Yes sir.” Haig knew exactly the reasoning behind Crichton's decision and knew that he would take whatever steps necessary to circumvent any departure from Crichton's small fleet of ships. Because whatever plan he might have cooked up would be as audacious as it was insane and would no doubt need all available ships to stand its best chance of success.

#

 It was four hours later before Gemmell finally tracked Crichton down again. He had seemingly vanished from the communications room once he had contacted his ships and the sudden flurry of small craft between the orbiting Imperial ships caused more than one nervous moment, especially when added to the fact that they no longer acknowledged any communications sent their way. After following a trail of dead-ends that led from the communications room to the medical bay via half the ship, Gemmell gave up.

 Wearily he went to his own office just off the flag Bridge only to find it occupied. Crichton was sitting there, reading secure reports he shouldn’t have been able to access. For several seconds Gemmell stood in the doorway feeling a mixture of anger and amusement. When Crichton glanced up and saw him standing there and blithely waved him to sit in the visitor's seat, anger won out over amusement.

 “Just what the hell do you think you're doing?” Gemmell snarled as he reached over the desk past Crichton and violently turned off the screen.

 “I’m reading the Republic's security reports on Imperial ship movements as well as their intelligence estimates.” Crichton leaned back nonchalantly, watching the anger flow freely across Gemmell's face.

 “How the hell did you manage to access those files? They are secured.” His voice was harsh with anger; he knew this but felt no need to hide it. No matter what had happened to Crichton in the last few days, he was still the enemy.

 “This was an Imperial ship before you brought it into the service of the Republic, Gemmell. It has hardwired links to the computer core that bypass all security systems. If you know how to access them, that is.” A small smile played across John’s lips as he revealed this little known fact. Only a select few knew of the existence of these links and even fewer knew how to use them. That he had been one, had been a mark of pride in his old life, now it was merely a convenience.

 “Now I remember why I don’t like you Crichton. It's that smug superiority of yours. It just oozes out of every pore.” Gemmell stood, arms folded, firmly planted in front of his own desk in his own office. He felt slightly ridiculous standing as he was, like an officer getting a chewing out by his commander, but there was no way he was going to let Crichton gain the upper hand. He smiled as he watched his words hit home, wiping the smile from Crichton's face.

 “Look Commodore. I don’t give a damn what you think about me. I have had a fucking bad day. First one of your people tries to kill me, and now the she-bitch who is my ‘fiancée’, who is also pregnant with my child, just tried to have me assassinated.” John leapt to his feet and started to pace, stopping suddenly, facing towards a blank wall and away from Gemmell.

 Gemmell started at this news. This new fact fitted the little he already knew but only served to make what happened and why a bigger mystery in his mind.

 “So forgive me if I’m a little abrasive, but I'm far from being a happy camper today.” today.” John continued, his back still to Gemmell as he stared blankly at the wall in front of him.

 “But what does her trying to have you killed have to do with ship movements?” Curiosity was now the driving factor behind Gemmell, anger having been buried under the machinations of his jump-started brain. Small facts that he had noticed about Crichton's behavior finally began to merge smoothly with the anomalous medical readings recorded when he had been unconscious earlier that day.

 “What she said struck a chord. There is no way she could have set this up herself, this type of operation stinks of my uncle. He’s always been willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to achieve his goals. All I need to do is figure out what they are.” John's voice was soft, his mind caught up in trying to solve a puzzle that had too many of the pieces missing.  

“But why ship movements?” Gemmell prompted, his own mind mulling over his own jigsaw puzzle, but unlike Crichton he knew he was close to solving it.

 “If you look back a few years into ships assigned to the Psyrix sector, then follow it forward, there is a steady increase in ships assigned. When it comes time to rotate them out, two or three are kept back to add additional security during the change over period but are never returned to their parent fleet.” John had returned to Gemmell's seat and began calling up the data he had been looking at when Gemmell entered. Graphs and charts blossomed across the screen showing fleets entering and leaving the sector, it wasn’t until Gemmell compared this to the actual number of ships entering and leaving that he noticed the small discrepancy. 

“Why hasn’t this been noticed before if you say it’s so apparent?” he asked amazed that such a thing could have been missed. 

“Because they aren’t assigned directly to the fleet. Instead they are seconded to Fleet Intelligence for security operations. Which until three years ago there had been none of. Then suddenly, there are incidents in which fleet units have to take part.” Crichton slumped back in the chair, an unhappy look on his face as he stared at the screen, almost as if he were willing an answer to appear upon it. 

“Ok, even if that’s the case, what’s he doing it for?” Gemmel asked. The question was reasonable Crichton knew. So far all he had done was prove that there were more ships in the Psyrix sector than anyone would publicly acknowledge. 

“Why would you need ships of your own?” he asked back.

 “I don’t know.” Gemmell, who by now had relented and sat before his own desk, offered.  

“That makes two of us, but I intend to find out.” Something about Crichton's answer it offered the final piece of the puzzle and finally Gemmell knew the truth. It seemed at once both obvious and highly unlikely. 

“Well that’s nice. Now maybe you can answer my question.” 

“Maybe, depends on what your question is.” John felt amusement as he allowed himself to relax slightly, his mind still mulling over the puzzle he had set it. Which was probably why he was totally unprepared for the question that came. 

“Oh, it’s quite simple. Who are you?” he watched as Crichton's face congealed for a moment, shock written on it. With a shake Crichton's face transformed into such a perfect assumption of puzzlement that Gemmell knew that he might have been compelled to believe the integrity of the man in front of him if he hadn’t been so sure of his facts. 

“What do you mean, ‘who am I?’ That’s about the most stupid question I think I have ever heard.” John could hear the falseness in his own voice and felt a shiver of dread snake up his spine. This was it, the moment he had been waiting for and dreading for almost a year now. The moment he had always known would come, but never did he imagine it like this. 

“Well, let me put it this way. I know genetically who you are, but your EEG is different. Not greatly so, but enough to show differences from what it should be.” Gemmell locked his eyes on Crichton's and saw panic rising in them. He had his answer, now all he needed was a confession. 

“I don’t know what you mean.” John cringed at offering such a weak rebuttal but it was all he could think of. No matter how often he had rehearsed this moment, he still couldn’t offer any reasonable explanation in the face of the evidence that Gemmell clearly had. He had worked hard to avoid putting himself in the situation where he would be forced to submit to neurological tests. He knew his EEG would be different from the original Crichton and that his only hope would be that if they had missed it once, they might do so again. 

“I mean, you are John Crichton, but which one?” John couldn’t help but smile slightly at Gemmell's tone. He had said it as if it were such a normal and reasonable question to ask someone. 

“Which do you think?” He hedged, his body relaxing as he accepted the inevitable. His deception was over, finally. It was actually a relief, the pressure he had felt having to pretend to be the perfect Imperial officer once again had been enormous. At least on his ship, he had been able to relax, knowing that the crew owed him their loyalty. 

“I think you’re the pleasant one. The one who can engender the kind of loyalty in his crew that defies explanation.” Gemmell's voice was hushed, almost as if he were talking to himself and not John. “But you also can’t be, because as you have shown here you have vast knowledge of Imperial ship systems, tactics and politics. Which you wouldn’t have if you were the John Crichton I was sent to retrieve.” 

John sagged back in his chair, body relaxed, eyes closed. He had nothing left to hide but everything to fight for. Aeryn was safe. But there was an alien species loosed upon this section of space that consumed other intelligent being leaving nothing but destruction in its wake. He had sworn he would destroy them and he had a plan he thought might work. So all now depended on gaining the trust of this man in front of him. That left no other option but telling him the truth. 

“That’s because I’m not him. But I’m also not the other one either. I am an amalgam of all they both were. I have all the memories of both men, but my personality is mostly the implanted one. They say that memories make the man. Well, I have two sets of them. Sometimes I feel like my mind is going to melt. I have two childhoods, I went through puberty twice, I had two first loves, and in my life I have done everything for the first time twice.” He paused and opened his eyes, meeting those of Gemmell as a small smile flickered and died on his lips. “Well, not quite everything.” 

“And nobody realized?” Scott was amazed at the openness being shown by Crichton, if it had been needed this would have been the final proof that he wasn’t who he had claimed to be, even though in a weird way he was. He watched as John got to his feet and walked around the desk to the couch in one corner of the room and dropped wearily upon it. 

“I knew almost as soon as I awoke what had happened. I also knew that if I let anybody know I’d at best be killed and at worst be a lab experiment for the remainder of my not so long life. Besides, I had someone to protect if I could.” by the end of this, Scott was straining to hear what John was saying as his voice died to barely a whisper. 

“Aeryn. That’s why she had been separated from the other prisoners.”

 “Yes. I couldn’t help them all but I could help her. But I couldn’t tell her the truth without it costing us both too much. So I had to let her think…” John’s voice, which was full of pain, trailed off to nothing.

 “And are you going to tell her now?” Gemmell felt he knew the answer and felt empathy for Crichton, something he never imagined he would.

 “Of course not. She has made a new life for herself here, how can I take that away from her?” John whispered with his face buried in his hands. 

“I think you already have my Crichton, or don’t you remember just killing her boyfriend?” 

#

 It was late in the sleep cycle and Amy felt aggrieved at having been awoken and summoned to Winkler’s office. She stumped heavily into the outer office, barely noticing the two medical technicians waiting there. Without a pause she walked past them. 

“What’s wrong?” Dietz asked as she waddled into the inner office of Arch-Strategos Winkler. 

“Our agent is dead, apparently killed in a fit of jealousy by his girlfriend's ex-lover” Winkler sat behind his desk, immaculately dressed in his gray uniform. Not a crease upon it. It seemed to Amy almost as if he had just donned it. 

“And what of his girlfriend's ex-lover?” she asked suspicion lacing her voice. 

“We don’t know. This Intel comes from a questionable source at best.” Winkler sighed and Amy noticed his attention seemed focused on her swollen belly. She started to feel uneasy about this whole situation. 

“So he might have succeeded before he died.” She offered up, her brow creased in puzzlement as she began to work out just how this might affect the plans that had been so carefully laid out. 

“We can’t afford to presume that. Which means I’m moving up the schedule.” Winkler looked up finally from her belly and met her eyes. What she saw there made her shiver. The cold hardness of the soul they betrayed made even her uneasy as they regarded her. 

“But… you can’t I haven’t given birth yet.” Instinctively she protectively placed her arms over her belly. Confusion running riot in her mind. She knew exactly what the plans called for, just as she knew the one thing they were all waiting for to be set in motion. 

“I have spoken to the doctors, you’re due almost any day. They feel it imposes no undue risk on you or the child if we encourage his early arrival.” Winkler smiled but it never reached his eyes. It was obvious to Amy that though he had allowed her to think she was a player in this game, she was merely a pawn to be moved at his will

“But…” she stuttered trying desperately to think of some reason to delay. She didn’t want to give birth yet. She wasn’t ready. A small voice in the back of her head taunted her. If you're going to play with fire, you're going to get burned. What she found the most disturbing, however, was that the voice sounded exactly like John. 

“Now my dear, no need to get all emotional.” Winkler pressed a button and the two medical attendants that she had passed in the outer office entered. “These gentlemen will escort you to the medical bay.” 

Everywhere Aeryn went, silence seemed to follow her. People would stop talking as soon as they saw her and once they thought she was too far away to overhear they started talking again. But she could hear them clearly. It seemed she and the previous day's events were the major topic of conversation on not only her own ship but the fleet base also. But at least on the fleet base she had anonymity. Which explained why she was now sitting in a quiet corner of a quiet bar, slowly but deliberately getting drunk. One moment seemed to blend into another, as she slowly but steadily sipped her Tequila. She had a bottle sitting on the table in front of her. 

Many males and a few females had approached her but each time she rebuffed their attempts at conversation and intimacy. She was heartsick and doubted she could ever again trust anyone enough to love them. She went over and over her last conversation, argument, with Greg. The more she thought about it the more unreasonable he had appeared. 

She had been happy again and once more Crichton had appeared and shattered it. He had led her from one heart wrenching disaster to another, and it had all started with four simple words, "you can be more."  

Loud laughter disturbed her and she finally took notice of the fact that her quiet bar was no longer hers alone and certainly couldn’t be described as quiet. The bar area as packed with people in uniform but not the right one. Men and woman clad in the gray undress uniform of the Imperial Fleet were joking and drinking with one another. She alone was wearing the dark blue of the Republic. 

She could clearly see officers and ratings chatting and talking, which from all she had heard of the Imperial Navy was far from normal. She also wondered just why it was that none of them had thought to disturb her, because as she looked about she could see all the other tables crowded with people and she was alone at an empty table. That was until she noticed the officer that she had first seen exiting the shuttle that brought Crichton back into her life glance over at her then quickly away when he noticed her watching him. 

For some reason this infuriated her. Obviously Crichton had been telling all about his conquests and this man didn’t want anyone to get into trouble by approaching one of his commander's females. The fact that he might have known the whole story of what happened between Crichton and Greg didn’t even enter her mind. All she knew was that once again Crichton had taken a small measure of freedom from her. 

Suddenly the bar became hushed and through the crowd she saw him enter. She clutched her glass tightly and anger twisted her face as she locked her eyes on to his oblivious features. She watched as he walked through the crowded bar area, laughing and joking with the people he encountered on his way to the bar. Even before he reached it a drink was pressed into his hands and he simply smiled acknowledgement of the service as if it was his expected due. 

The gregarious atmosphere soon returned and so did the previous noise level. Now that she had started to pay attention she noticed covert curious looks from those at the tables near hers. That just made her angrier than before. She watched as the officer she first noted worked his way through the crowd towards Crichton and pointed out her presence. He didn’t even have the courtesy to hide what he was doing when he pointed directly at her. She saw Crichton's head turn slightly and met his eyes directly. She felt a small smile form as she noticed a barely perceptible wince from him. 

She watched, as he appeared to reach a decision and started to walk towards her table. It was as if time had slowed for them both while for everyone else it had sped up. When he reached her table he didn’t say a word, he just sat opposite her, picked up the tequila and poured himself a shot. There seemed to be a bubble of silence around them even though nothing else had changed in the bar. The silence between them stretched, until he finally broke it. 

“I think we need to talk Aeryn.” 

“Oh what about exactly? Maybe about how each and every time you enter my life you manage to destroy whatever measure of happiness I had in it? About how you betrayed me?” 

“Aeryn, you have to understand. All I did, every action I took was to protect you if I could.” He struggled to keep his voice even and his body still, when all he truly wanted to was throw himself to his knees and beg her forgiveness. But he couldn’t do that, once maybe, but not now. He wasn’t sure if he remembered how. 

“So what you're saying is that you experimented upon the other prisoners to protect me? That you had to bomb and killed a hundred thousand people, in order to protect me? That you invaded a peaceful world to protect me?” As she spoke her voice rose along with her temper. She couldn’t believe he dared to put the blame for his actions on her. 

“Aeryn, please let me explain.” John pleaded. 

“No. I have no interest in hearing what you have to say. I know that you aren’t my John. You’re some sort of body snatcher, you walk and talk like him but you're not him.” 

“No I’m not the John Crichton you knew. But neither am I the John Crichton I was supposed to be.” He could see a small frown of confusion on her face as she crinkled her forehead in concentration. He glanced again at the bottle of tequila noting just how little was actually left. 

“What’s that supposed to mean? Did you find religion?” she snarled, sarcasm dripping off her every word. 

“No. I have Scorpius to thank for who I am.” John again felt amazement at how much she had grown and changed over the months they had been apart. He felt sad that he had played no part in it, and worse that she had every reason to hate him. 

Scorpius? What’s he got to do with anything?” She felt her mind, still numb from the alcohol, trying to process all she had heard. But the inclusion of Scorpius threw her mental processes completely. 

“He did something to me on his Gammak base. I had been hearing and seeing him for about a monen before we were kidnapped. When they tried to recreate my original neural patterns, I was able to resist, partially. I retained the core of my personality but I gained a whole new set of memories; a whole new past. And those memories have changed me into what I am now.” 

“And what are you now?” 

“Someone who has done terrible things in his past and feels remorse and regret for every single one. Someone who never stopped caring for you.” 

This was the last thing she had expected to hear. His trite explanation and whining that all he had done was for her made her furious beyond anything she had ever felt before. Her limbs trembled with rage as she worked her jaw to loosen the tightness in it. He actually expected her to… what? Forgive him? He hadn’t even mentioned the word forgiveness. Now that she thought about it, he hadn’t actually said or done anything. He’d simply sat there and talked about himself. 

“You frelling bastard.” She shouted leaping to her feet, knocking her chair back. She leaned heavily on the table, pushing her face into his. “What is it you want from me? Forgiveness? Because you’ll never get it. No matter who you say you are your actions speak for themselves. My John could never act like you. He’d kill himself before he became like you.” 

“Aeryn.” John reached up and touched her face. She flinched back violently and swung  hard at his face. With a loud slap, her hand made contact, knocking him from his chair. He fell to the floor dazed, before looking up to find an enraged Sebacean female standing over him staring death down upon him. 

“Never touch or talk to me again or I will kill you.” With that she stalked out of the bar, past the silenced witnesses to her actions. Not one person made any move to stop her. 

“Well that went better than I expected,” John muttered to himself. He froze as he heard an all too familiar voice behind him. 

“Indeed John. After all, you did expect her to kill you. Perhaps your charms worked on her after all.”  

“Oh god. I thought I had lost you for good Harvey.” Slowly John turned to find himself staring at the image of Scorpius

“Oh no John. I have simply been exploring my new home.” Scorpius answered in the same maddeningly even cadence that he always talked used, but this time it was accompanied with a chilling smile.   

 

 

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