"No, Captain, I am far from finished with him -- he is hiding something and I will find out what it is..." Scorpius answered, studying Crais carefully. "Tell me, why are you so obsessed with Crichton?"
Crais frowned at him, something in his tone vaguely unsettling. "He -- was responsible for my brother's death, and he aided in the theft of the Leviathan; you already know that, Scorpius. What are you after?"
"What are you planning to do with him when you have him, Crais?" Scorpius asked, studying the changes in his energy signature. "Have you made any plans? There are some memories of his that involve the two of you fighting at the instigation of a creature named Maldis. Crichton's will to live is amazingly strong for a lesser species..." He walked closer, feeling the flare of heat from the Sebacean. "Tell me, Captain, does the thought of closing your hands around his throat and squeezing the life out of him excite you?"
Crais' eyes narrowed as Scorpius' tone changed, becoming quieter, conspiratorial. Scorpius leaned in closer still and said, "You don't want to kill him, Captain; you want to own him..."
"Get out of here, Scorpius," Crais threatened, fury flaring at the suggestion that he could possibly be interested in a lesser species in that way. And yet, Human seemed to be nearly Sebacean -- on the surface, at least, there were no apparent differences...
"He needs to rest for a while, but I can have him brought to you for a short visit once he has recovered..." Scorpius offered, savouring the conflict within Crais.
"Get out!" Crais repeated, using his best command tone. Scorpius smiled and sketched a mocking bow, then left the room. Once he was certain he was alone Crais walked to his chair and sat, trying to make sense of the whirling maelstrom of thoughts and emotions Scorpius had stirred up.
Just the mere mention of Maldis had reawakened what Crais considered primitive urges -- he did want to feel his hands closing around Crichton's throat, squeezing the life from him. But he couldn't kill Crichton -- the alien's fate seemed to be intertwined with his now, and killing him would leave a void that would be hard to fill. At one point, Tauvo had filled that place, until Crichton killed him. Now...
He shook his head, memories of Maldis' challenge rising unbidden. Crichton had tried to bargain for his life -- had tried to explain and evade, and away from Maldis' influence, what he had said made sense. It had been an accident and he was just lashing out to make himself feel better... But he could never admit something like that to Crichton -- pride just wouldn't allow it.
But the image of Crichton in his mind's eye wasn't fighting or running, the blue gaze meeting his and pleading for his understanding; the tall, fit body backing into the wall as Crais advanced on him... Lips parting slightly as he gasped when Crais pinned him against that wall with his own body; soft whimper when Crais kissed him roughly...
Crais gasped and opened his eyes, self-consciously looking around his office to make certain he was still alone. As much as he loathed to admit it, Scorpius was evidently right: he did want to own Crichton... He stood and began pacing, trying to clear his mind of thoughts of Crichton and finding himself unable to. This will never do! he thought, trying to will his body to obey him and finding his own subconscious aiding in its rebellion. What have you done to me, Crichton?! he thought, furious at his lack of control.
He found himself at the door, reaching up to key in a lock code. He hesitated then, his eyes narrowing as he looked around the room. This was Scorpius' base, and for all he knew, the half-breed could monitor every inch of it. The only way he would find true privacy was to take Crichton to his ship, and that would most likely be impossible -- he needed to find and disable the monitoring devices before Scorpius brought Crichton to him...
"Crichton? Crichton, wake up..." The voice gradually filtered through the fog in his mind and he latched onto it, clawing his way to the surface; struggling to open his eyes and blink up at the face watching him.
"Stark?" he croaked, squinting in an attempt to focus. "How...how long?"
"They brought you back here about ten arns ago -- you've been unconscious since then. Their drugs seem to work a little too well on you; I've been making sure you keep breathing..." Stark answered, gently rubbing Crichton's forehead.
"Ten...arns? That can't be good," Crichton murmured, struggling to sit up and finally succeeding with Stark's help. "Anyone been in to check on me?"
"The doctors were here about two arns ago, but they were the only ones," Stark answered uncomfortably, well aware of what they had been checking on. "How do you feel?"
"I've been better..." Crichton answered, seeing the concern in his cellmate's eye. "Not too keen on Scorpy's idea of post-torture recreation..."
"Are you in pain?" Stark asked quietly, wishing he could do something more to help -- to keep Crichton safe from the sadistic scientist. He wanted to encircle the human in a protective embrace, wanted to chase away the memories he could see were trying to intrude -- but he was concerned, too, that he might do something to frighten his cellmate. "If there's anything I can do..."
"I -- uh..." Crichton paused, swallowing hard and shifting his weight uneasily, "No -- not in pain, surprisingly. Their doctors must be pretty good..." Feeling sluggish and weak, he allowed himself to lean against Stark, although he couldn't make himself relax as much as he really wanted to. "Stark, I can't take this -- I'd rather be in the Chair over and over than go through that again..."
"Shh," Stark soothed, carefully reaching up to massage Crichton's neck. Gradually Crichton relaxed against him, and after a while Stark could feel him drift back to sleep. Once he was certain Crichton was asleep, Stark carefully laid him down again, this time lying down beside him and wrapping him gently in his arms. He could sense how badly Crichton had been shaken, and wanted desperately to make him feel safe. He knew he couldn't really protect him, but he had to give Crichton some of his confidence back or he would never survive what Stark was sure would be coming when he was healthy again...
The next time he awoke, Crichton realized there was a warm, comforting presence at his back, protective arm wrapped around him. After a moment of confusion, he realized it was Stark and that the alien was still asleep. As memories of recent events resurfaced, he was filled with the urge to jump up, put as much room between himself and his cellmate as possible, adrenaline thundering through his body and sending his pulse racing.
No, he thought, keeping himself from responding to the impulse by sheer force of will. He's just trying to keep you safe, you idiot! he chided himself, closing his eyes and trying to relax again. With his eyes closed, however, he could see Scorpius' leering face, could feel the unwanted touch. "No!" he gasped, opening his eyes again and shuddering violently.
The sudden movement woke Stark, whose first thought was that he had done something to frighten the human. He opened his embrace and backed away slightly, giving Crichton the chance to escape if that was what he wanted. Instead, Crichton sagged back against him and choked back a sob. Carefully, Stark hugged him close and whispered, "It's all right -- he's not here. You're safe..."
"I -- I was trying to relax and I saw him..." Crichton murmured, "I--" He paused, shuddering and scrubbing a hand over his face to wipe tears away, "I could feel him...can't get it out of my mind..."
Stark smoothed his hair and whispered, "Don't let him control you like this, Crichton -- we may not be able to fight him in person, but he's not here now. I know you're a fighter -- don't let him win."
"Easy to say," Crichton said quietly, rolling onto his back and staring up at the dingy ceiling. "Not quite so easy to do...I don't know how to stop thinking about it -- it's not the kind of thing that just goes away, you know?" He turned his head to the side to look at Stark, thinking, not for the first time, that it was a little on the strange side to be lying in his arms. "But you already know that, don't you...You've been here for two cycles -- I can imagine what they've done to you in that time..."
Stark swallowed hard and nodded, then whispered, "Sometimes it's been rough... Believe me, I understand." He reached up to stroke Crichton's face -- and jumped when the door opened.
"Ah, isn't this cozy," Scorpius said, looking down at the two of them and smiling darkly.
"Oh frell..." Crichton growled, scrambling to his feet and backing away. Stark sat up more slowly, putting on his crazy act until he realized he may as well not even be in the room -- Scorpius' attention was focused entirely on Crichton.
"Do not worry, Crichton -- this time I'm not the one you're going to be talking to." He turned back to the door and said, "Guards, bring the human."
Seeing Scorpius turn his back on them while still standing in the cell, fury flared in Crichton. He roared and launched himself at the scientist, tackling him and bringing him down before the half-breed had time to react. "I'm gonna kill you, you bastard!" he growled, raising his fists to slam them down into Scorpius' head. Before he could, however, the guards closed on him and grabbed his arms, hauled him off the alien and out of the cell.
Scorpius stood and straightened his uniform, then glowered down at Stark. "You can tell him, when he comes back, that he will pay for that..." Then he stalked out and shut the door, making certain it was locked before he joined the guards and Crichton. Stopping right in front of Crichton, Scorpius grabbed his chin and forced him to meet his gaze. "I look forward to punishing you for that, Crichton...For now, however, you are going to visit Captain Crais. I will deal with you at my leisure, later..."
"I can hardly wait..." Crichton spat, trying to turn away.
"I'm sure," Scorpius purred, stroking his cheek and then releasing him. He smiled and sighed softly as Crichton shuddered at his touch. "Take him to Crais' office and wait outside the door until I call for him," he ordered, appreciating the view as the guards led Crichton away.