Spoiler Warning: This takes place after The Peacekeeper Wars, so lots of spoilers for the mini.
The chains were cutting into his wrists. He could feel the cold metal digging into the skin--only an arn, and already, his hands were slick with blood. Artificial light flickered through bars in front of him, but he could not see past the bleak empty halls spreading out like spider webs around him. And he could hear the sound of a baby crying echoing off the metal walls.
His child. He did not know where Aeryn had been taken after they were pulled apart, but he was praying with what little faith he still held that they had let her stay with the baby. They had to be safe. Whatever happened to him, he needed for them to make it out of this hell alive.
"Come now, John, did you really believe you could just walk away?"
Hot breath on the back of his neck, leather slipping over coarse skin. He would have liked to show no reaction, but he had no control over the chill that slipped down his spine. He closed his eyes and said nothing.
Behind him, Scorpius smiled.
"I have no need for them, of course. But it was so convenient to take you all at once."
No reaction this time. John grabbed onto the chains, his fingers slipping over the blood soaked metal. He didn't ask what Scorpius could possibly want. It had become quite clear. He wanted everything--wanted to strip him of everything. He didn't know if it was revenge. He didn't know if it was the sick fascination with which Scorpius had always regarded him. He didn't care.
He only cared about Aeryn and his child, but pleading with a monster would not save them.
"Nothing to say?" Scorpius whispered into his ear. "No desperate bravado?"
A gloved hand slid over his back, and evil laughter echoed in his mind. He opened his eyes.
"What will you give me if I let them go?"
The whisper slid over him, Scorpius's hand burning through the back of his leather jacket, and he froze. He hated Scorpius still had this effect. The war was over, it was supposed to be over, but he was starting to think that for Scorpius it never would be--not until they were all dead, not until he was the last one standing.
John gritted his teeth, but didn't give him the satisfaction of pulling away from the touch. He had nowhere to go, anyway. "Anything," he said. "And you know it."
Scorpius smiled and looked at the ceiling of his command carrier. "Yes. Yes, you will."
Scorpius was going to make him ask. John moved his fingers slowly, experimentally, making sure he had not lost all feeling in them. "What do you want, Scorpius?"
"You haven't guessed?" he asked slyly. "I want you to work with us. Develop more of the wormhole weapons. The Scarrens will not hold to their peace long if they do not believe you are on our side."
John laughed bitterly. "Yeah. Sure. I'll give you wormhole weapons."
Scorpius hissed, and spun around him to meet his eyes. "This is not a joke, Crichton."
"Yes it is," John snapped. "My whole life is one big joke. I can't give you what you want. You should know. Or didn't you guess why your little connection with Harvey was cut?"
Scorpius sighed, his anger slipping away with the ease that came from countless years of control. "I had…expected, but could not be sure. I have learned not to underestimate you, and I had entertained the possibility that the Ancients had merely removed my neural clone from your mind."
"Not this time. Harvey packed up and deleted himself, so let them go," John said fiercely. "We can't give you anything."
"I let her go," Scorpius said slowly. "And she will come for you. You may not have the knowledge, but the Scarrens still believe you do, and therefore there may come a time we need them to believe you are working for us."
John met his eyes. "Aeryn is no threat to you. She won't come, because the baby is more important than I am."
Scorpius grinned slyly. "You do not believe that anymore than I do. She would come."
John glared at him. "You still don't understand me. You hurt them, you take away my reason to live--I'm no good to you like that. Suicidal, I won't even make a good pawn. Let them go."
Scorpius watched him intently. "You are very resilient. I believe you would recover. You always do, John. Yet another trait we share."
"Rot in hell, you sadistic son of a bi--"
Scorpius's hand shot out to tighten around John's neck, choking off the words before he could finish. "Cooperate, John. It is all that will save you. And them."
John struggled to take in air through the burning grip on his throat, but it was impossible to do until the black leather clad fingers lessened their hold. As John took a gasping breath, he started laughing.
Scorpius did not seem surprised at the outburst, intimately acquainted with John's descents into madness as he was, and he turned away for a moment, allowing his hand to fall away from his prey's throat.
"Zhaan," John said quietly when Scorpius had moved far enough that the façade had slipped away. "Crais. Jool. D'Argo. You won't be happy until they're all gone, will you? Until I have absolutely nothing left to care about. Until I'm just like you."
Scorpius froze, his eyes on the cell door and his back to him. There was perhaps more truth in that than the half-breed was willing to believe. He turned slightly towards John. "Crais?" he said.
"He was a better man than you," John said. "And I've learned that out here, that's the best I can hope for."
Scorpius smiled slightly and turned back to face him. "You misunderstand me, John, I am not trying to break you."
Chains rattled as John tried to keep his balance, and distantly, he realized his son had stopped crying. He hoped that only meant Aeryn had quieted him.
He met Scorpius's cold eyes, but didn't flinch. He had always hated Scorpius's eyes. The alien was so obviously alien, and it was so easy to put all of his faults into the Scarrens that had made him what he was--but the eyes, they were just like human, and it unnerved him.
He had never hated anyone the way he hated him. He had always wondered, idly, back when he had lived on Earth and a problem for him was a stalled car, how anyone could take another life in anything but self defense. But he thought he might be able to kill Scorpius with his bare hands, even if all he was doing at the time was picking flowers. And that scared him.
Everyone he had lost here, every one of them, the deaths could all be traced back to Scorpius, and to him. Scorpius finding the wormhole knowledge in his head, painting the target on his back.
He'd ruined all of their lives. Chiana, his favorite free spirit, was reserved now, and he didn't think she would ever be the same. She sat around with Dominor Rygel on his newly regained throne, said little, and watched everything around her so intently with those strange new eyes.
Jool, and countless innocent priests, shot away to nothing on the whim of yet another madman. D'Argo, his best friend, gone forever now. He had gone down fighting, then been torn to pieces by the black hole he had created. All for a war he had never wanted to be a part of. All because of the monster that had started it.
Scorpius was beside him again, watching him like he was always watching him. "What are you thinking, John?"
John grinned bitterly, almost without realizing it. "About how much I want to kill you."
Scorpius seemed unfazed by this admission; it was to be expected, after all. "For all that I am your villain, and you the hero, John--consider this." Scorpius leaned forward. "I have never sought your death."
"No, just the deaths of everyone I care about. Consider this, for someone like me, that's the same exact thing. I'm tied to them. You wouldn't understand."
"No, I wouldn't. I don't let sentimentality interfere with the greater good."
John laughed again. "Always the greater good with you. Scorpius isn't evil. Oh no, he's just misunderstood."
"Why do you think you are here, John?" Scorpius asked sharply.
John glanced at him. The sound of blood slapping against stone distracting him, as it began to spill over from the cuffs towards the ground. The liquid burned his skin as thin tendrils slipped inside his sleeves. "You tell me."
"You believed that our association was over now you retain no wormhole technology." Scorpius turned to watch him for a reaction.
"I'm naïve like that," he said, holding back more laughter. He knew, logically, that he shouldn't find any of this funny.
Scorpius moved up behind him, grabbing both of his wrists just beneath the cuffs, and leaned forward. "Our bond is not so easily severed as that."
John shivered involuntarily, tremors running through him as a result of being forced to stand with his arms spread and tied above him for so long--and maybe for more reasons than just that. "Our 'bond' is one sided, Grasshopper, always has been."
Scorpius hissed and pushed away from him. "You should have destroyed the Scarrens when you had the chance," he snapped. "We would all have been better off."
John didn't look at him. "I'd killed enough people already. Besides, Peacekeepers as the dominant power in the universe doesn't seem better to me."
Scorpius moved to the bars, placing the palms of his gloved hands against the metal. "They will eventually break this treaty, when they begin to suspect you are not around to threaten them with your wormholes. When they do, I will have need of you."
Distantly, John could hear someone screaming. It wasn't Aeryn, and that was all that mattered. He felt a pang of guilt that he couldn't bring himself to care about whoever it was, but he thought if he listened hard enough, he could hear the chair spin.
Scorpius turned back around when he realized he had lost his prisoner's attention, and moved to stand in front of him. "You understand why I need you still?" he asked.
John looked up slowly, letting the screams fade away along with the blood. He didn't know what it would take for Scorpius to finally realize, they would never understand anything about each other. "I can't do it anymore, Scorpy, haven't you been listening? No longer…unique."
"You still know more about wormholes than anyone else," Scorpius hissed. "And the fact that they believe you can create the weapons makes you invaluable."
John met his eyes. "Fine. You want me to be a mascot for the Peacekeepers? Go ahead and sign me up. But you let my family go."
Scorpius shook his head, and John knew enough to know the regretful expression was anything but genuine. "She will come for you, John. I cannot risk that. I can not release them and keep you here."
Resignation slipped away from his eyes, and John sprung instantly to life. He pulled at the chains, but Scorpius was far from his reach. "You son of a bitch! I've told you hurting them will get you nowhere--"
Scorpius placed his hands over the cuffs, and with a click, they came undone. His support gone, John fell, stunned, to his knees.
Braca appeared immediately at the bars. John didn't have to look up to know he was there, his eyes were fixed on his wrists, covered in smears of red and black as bruises began to form beneath the blood. He wondered vaguely why it didn't hurt.
Scorpius gazed down at John, watching him. "Arrange transportation for our…guests. They will be leaving us."
Braca's eyes flickered to John Crichton, before returning to Scorpius's back. "Sir?"
Scorpius tilted his head back, and John slowly raised his eyes as the words began to register. "Allow them to leave unimpeded. See they remain unharmed," Scorpius said firmly.
Disbelieving, John watched Scorpius. "You're just going to let us go? Just like that?" Feeling began to return to his hands, pain like needles and pins spreading from his wrists to the palms of his hand.
"Yes." There was something dark in Scorpius eyes, and John knew that even if he did let them go, it was still not the end for him.
John tiredly balanced himself on his knees, and looked up at Scorpius. "You're…toying with me? Has this all been some kind of game? What, you getting off on this, Scorpy Sue? Is that it?"
Scorpius lowered himself beside him, and John watched him warily. He spoke softly. "I do not have need of you yet."
He reached out and grabbed one of John's arms, pulling it towards him and raising the wrist to his mouth. John watched, frozen by revulsion, as Scorpius's tongue flicked out and slid over the skin, staining red with his blood. John blinked and then control came back, and he tried to pull away.
Scorpius smiled and lowered John's wrist, but he did not release his hold. "Do you remember the taste of my blood, Crichton?" he whispered.
John was unconsciously drawing away from him, but Scorpius's hold was tight and did not allow him to go far. "Why are you doing this, Scorpius?" he demanded.
Even as Scorpius began speaking, the smirk could still be seen in his eyes. "I simply wanted to show you, John, who holds the power. I am no longer your prisoner. You have no sway over me now, but you--" Scorpius's eyes flickered to the door, and John followed his gaze.
Aeryn was pushed into the cell, a commando holding a pulse pistol to the back of her head. D'Argo was silently clinging to her frayed black shirt as Aeryn held him to her protectively. "I understand you now," Scorpius continued. "And you are far more easily controlled than I had believed."
John checked them both over, relieved to see they were unharmed. He noticed Aeryn doing the same to him, and saw fire spring up in her eyes as she noticed the blood. John knew that having their son cradled in her arms was the only reason she had not lunged at Scorpius to tear him to pieces--the threat of the pulse pistol alone would never have stopped her.
"When the Scarrens break the treaty…and they will, I will come for you. Wherever you go, John, I will find you," he whispered, his fingers tightening painfully around John's arm. John ignored the pain, the burning in his wrists, and he kept his eyes locked with Aeryn's.
"Do not forget, John." Scorpius leaned forward, his lips brushing against John's ear. John tried again to pull away, but human strength was no match for Scorpius and he was held in place with ease. "I always win."