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14 April 2007 @ 07:03 pm
Never Trust a Dog to Watch Your Food (Give Me the Chocolate & Nobody Gets Hurt Remix) [Farscape, G]  
Title: Never Trust a Dog to Watch Your Food (Give Me the Chocolate and Nobody Gets Hurt Remix)
Author: simplystars
Summary: Crichton says Disneyland is the happiest place on Earth, but Rygel has found his paradise.
Fandom: Farscape
Characters: Rygel, John Crichton
Rating: G
Disclaimer: They belong to the Jim Henson Company; I'm only playing with them.
Spoilers: through 4.13, Terra Firma
Original story: Midnight Snack, by florastuart
Author's Note: Muchas gracias to kernezelda for beta. ♥






How illegal is this dren?

As usual, the others ignore him or forget about him – for all they noticed or cared, he might as well be thousands of metras above on board Moya rather than sitting on an ugly striped couch in this squalid, what did Crichton call it? Oh yes, flophouse.

The word feels odd in his mouth; he mutters it under his breath as Aeryn chants along with some holographic Earth child on the flickering viewscreen and Chiana pokes around, opening boxes and fingering the contents and scowling at D'Argo's attempts to curtail her acquisitiveness.

Rygel is unsurprised when Chiana rebels not long afterward, the lure of Crichton's homeworld simply too potent for her limited impulse control. D'Argo's anger and Aeryn's impatience are equally predictable; as they argue over which course of action to follow Rygel merely shrugs and turns his attention to the supplies Crichton left behind.

There are fat orange vegetables and a strange-looking cutting tool on the cracked round table. "Make'em scary," Crichton had said with a careless wave of his hand, and "It's a safety knife, Ryge, it's not supposed to be sharp" which really, was the entire species nonsensical? A safety knife.

Oh well. His own decidedly unsafe knife is tucked securely in an unobtrusive compartment under one arm of his thronesled. Crichton's mystical holiday makes little sense to any of them, but Rygel enjoys the feel of a blade in his hands, so he'll carve the pumpkins later.

For now… Rygel casts a narrow-eyed glance over his shoulder, then reaches out and pulls a bright orange bag into his lap, stubby fingers making quick work of the seams. Small round chips spill into his hands, a medley of brown and yellow and orange with the most delectable, creamy scent. He crams a fistful into his mouth, eyes fluttering shut in delight as the pieces melt on his tongue.

Oh.

What sheer bliss.

The gasping shudder that runs through his body, from head to toes, is nearly as satisfying as the pleasurable release he had felt in union with the regrettably traitorous Orrhn. He eyes the table. The candy is far more plentiful, and far less dangerous.

Clutching the bag securely, Rygel leans forward again and with a grunt and some effort, takes possession of the others: Kit-Kat and M&Ms and Pez. Settling back, he breathes deeply and scoops up more Reese's Pieces, while his other hand slowly drifts upward, stroking one flattened earbrow.

No one pays him the slightest attention.


Salt + Crunch = Tasty

The grocery store is much more exciting than any commerce planet they've been to, lately. Rygel can scarcely contain himself, and their Secret Service escort is hard-pressed to manage one Hynerian, one Nebari, and an elderly three-eyed Traskan.

Fairly quickly, however, Chiana discovers the personal grooming aisle and stops in her tracks, mesmerized by hair accessories and lipsticks and nail polishes and similar ridiculous fripperies. Then Noranti starts sniffing like a Colartan bounty hunter and skips down the baking aisle toward the shelves of spices.

The Secret Service agents exchange a look behind dark glasses; the shortest turns on his heel and backtracks to retrieve a hand-basket.

Rygel makes for the bubbling tank in the middle of the meat section.

The grocery store is far superior to a commerce planet in another important way: currency is not required. Crichton's world is eager to welcome them, keen to provide whatever Moya's crew desires. Rygel doubts the hospitality will last – good things rarely do, when Crichton is involved – so he does not hesitate to exploit it when and where he can. Someone has to think of the future, after all.

For all that Crichton grouses about preservatives and artificial flavors, when pressed he reluctantly admits that Twinkies have a shelf-life of fourteen cycles; and simple experimentation has shown Rygel that popcorn is nearly as tasty in the kernel as when cooked. So he fills his cart with popcorn, cheese curls, Funyuns, and CrackerJack. He picks crunchy and smooth peanut butter, and one kind with purple jelly stripes.

The store manager is less sanguine about two dozen lobsters, banded claws waving as they clamber over each other in a futile bid for freedom, and twenty pounds of jumbo prawns; but there is little to say as Rygel selects another, biting its head in one deft crunch and sucking, slurping, consuming it whole.

"Quite as tasty as trelkez brains," Rygel sighs with a complimentary belch.


Yo

Crichton's sister takes them on a different kind of shopping trip, to the local mall. It is midday and the stores are not crowded, even less so when their escort clears the way for leisurely perusal of various kinds of merchandise.

Rygel has no interest in clothing, and quickly becomes bored with lingerie and jeans and shoes and fitting rooms. He wanders back onto the main concourse, glancing idly at the smaller booths scattered along the walkways. One kiosk catches his eye, the bright glitter of gold and jewels proving that Crichton's world has something of value, after all.

He is quite vexed when the vendor looks up, alerted by the novel sound of a whirring thronesled, and quickly fumbles a "closed" sign into place above the register.

The store opposite features yet more clothing, this time displayed on a male statue. The pants and shirt are voluminous, roomy and comfortable-looking, and Rygel briefly wonders if something in his size might be found until he is distracted by something shiny.

Crichton does not wear jewelry such as this; the thick silver chain and hanging pendant (Aeryn would probably know the significance of the letter, but Rygel doesn't care) would not suit him at all. But Rygel is a Dominar, and carries himself with the appropriate bearing.

He wants the necklace.

As he hovers before the window, thronesled humming softly, an elbow jostles him. "See something you like, Pops?"

Rygel looks up indignantly, huffs in a breath to express his displeasure, then stops himself. The flash of white teeth against dark skin is evidence that the Human's intentions are friendly, and in another glance Rygel senses a kindred spirit. The young man wears two necklaces and several rings; the edges of his eyewear are crusted in tiny clear crystals.

Rygel smiles. "Does this establishment have a fitting room?"

*

Later, Rygel follows his new-found friend's directions and arrives at the food court. Chinese food, Mexican, pizza, Italian, sandwiches, cookies, pretzels, ice cream – Crichton says Disneyland is the happiest place on Earth, but Rygel has found his paradise. He ignores the stares, confident in his new look – backwards red ball cap and bling – and reflects that since his exile, this has been one of the best days ever.


Mesquite-smoked angst

Crichton and his father stand in front of the barbecue grill, staring down at the burgers and hot dogs without speaking. Aeryn and Olivia and Caroline Wallace go in and out of the house, carrying platters and plates and salads and condiments from the kitchen. Rygel eats a cheeseburger and observes.

He watches Aeryn and Crichton watch each other, sidelong and from the corner of an eye and while the other is turned away, distracted. He watches Olivia glance back and forth between them, a worry line furrowed into her brow; she bites her lip and says nothing.

Jack Crichton stands stiff and straight, spatula in hand though he does not use it. He stares down into the flames as if, should he look long and hard enough, some mystery or secret will reveal itself.

Not speaking seems to be something they are good at. Rygel would never have predicted it, given Crichton's interminable babble aboard Moya. Though, he reflects while chewing, things have been quite different lately. Ever since Aeryn came back – bringing Scorpius.

The simple pleasures of this unexpected trip to Earth are slowly fading as government pressures exert themselves on Crichton – and he takes it out on everyone else. Nothing new there. Rygel has seen him in huddled conference with D'Argo, exchanging a few brief and obviously unhappy words with Aeryn. Noranti and Chiana have been too self-absorbed to notice, and nobody has bothered to talk to Rygel… but he knows.

Their time here is rapidly drawing to an end.

His surveillance is interrupted by Crichton's nephew. "Hey Rygel, have you tried pickles yet?"

Rygel accepts the crinkly-cut rounds, stacking them neatly atop the melted cheese and replacing the bun. He takes a bite, mouth puckering at the sweet-sour taste.


With a cherry on top

A sound outside gives him pause, but the bug-song continues unabated. Rygel continues the fruitless search as stealthily as he can; Aeryn won't be gone long. He checks cupboards and drawers and the pantry and is pondering the wisdom of trying the door to the garage when again some barely-heard noise draws him up short.

He waits in silence for one microt; two. Nothing.

Thoughtless tralk. It's not his fault Chiana had some unpleasant experience; she'd probably brought it on herself, despite Crichton's best efforts to acclimate his world to his friends and vice-versa.

She didn't have to steal his candy. All of his candy – the chocolate, the Pez, the Blow-Pops which she knew were his most recent favorite. She's hidden it and won't say where, and Rygel is suffering from serious sugar withdrawal. It's been hours and hours and all he's found to stave off the worst of the cravings is the rest of Bobby's Frosted Flakes cereal. He'll hear about that in the morning, no doubt.

Rygel drums his fingers on the arm of his thronesled, thinking furiously. Where else to look? Hmm.

The only place he hasn't checked is the refrigerator. Hope leaps when he spies a shadow in one of the drawers, but it's only a bag of leftover Chinese food. He maneuvers carefully, reaching for the freezer door, when Crichton's voice breaks the silence. "Aeryn?"

Rygel slams the freezer door by reflex, zipping backwards and nearly careening with Crichton, who pokes his head around the corner. "Crichton!... Shouldn't you be sleeping?" He keeps his eyes wide and guileless even as Crichton's narrow, flicking quickly around the room before focusing again on Rygel.

"What're you doing up, Buckwheat?" His voice is grim, tired. Rygel blinks, remembering the futility of trying to reason with Crichton in this mood. He certainly hadn't listened to sense on the dying Leviathan.

Oh, Crichton... For once, listen. When a woman - whether she's your wife, your lover, or a slave you purchased to be your wife or lover - leaves you, repeatedly, take the hint.

Well, that was the plan. But… you know how my plans go.


Here, on Crichton's homeworld, it should be simple. Aeryn is here, home is here. But Crichton's home has changed, and he is as much a stranger to it as to Aeryn.

Rygel resolutely refuses to think of what it might be like to return to Hyneria, re-establish his rule, and find that it is no longer enough, and not what he wants, after all. Here, at least, on Earth and on Moya, he has a role to play - familiar, if underestimated.

"I'm not doing anything," Rygel retorts, puffing himself up.

Crichton rolls his eyes at that, gaze pausing on the empty Frosted Flakes box on the countertop. "I thought you'd eaten all the sugar in this house already."

"Not all of it," Rygel mutters. "I was saving some for later, but now Chiana's hidden it."

Crichton is quiet, rubbing the back of his neck with one hand, staring out the window at the star-filled night sky as if he can sense Aeryn's presence nearby. Finally he sighs and drops his hand to briefly rub the top of Rygel's head before moving away, tugging open the freezer door. "Cheer up, Sparky," he murmurs. "I got something here you'll like. Ice cream."

Rygel swallows his surprise, looks from the carton to Crichton, and says, "I know where the bowls and spoons are."

 
 
 
Selena: OTP - Kernezeldaselenak on April 22nd, 2007 05:15 pm (UTC)
Perfect Rygel!
Stars: banjosimplystars on April 30th, 2007 02:07 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad it seemed in character; I haven't written him for aaages. :)
Stars: moon bassetsimplystars on April 30th, 2007 02:08 am (UTC)
Oh, and also, thank you for the rec! It made my day. :)
Judith Proctorwatervole on April 22nd, 2007 08:36 pm (UTC)
I can just imagine him eating and loving all that lot!
Stars: brown cowsimplystars on April 30th, 2007 02:10 am (UTC)
He's very easy to please about some things, isn't he? :) I'm glad you enjoyed it!
hossgalhossgal on April 22nd, 2007 09:00 pm (UTC)
Froggie!

Froggie with the food for the win!

I liked this one, and the way Rygel remains true to what he is, but still sharply observant of everyone else. Nicely done, stands well on its own without the original.

- hg
Stars: whee!simplystars on April 30th, 2007 02:11 am (UTC)
*basks in your approval*

That is all. YAY! and thank you!
Christine: Farscapeneuralclone on April 23rd, 2007 01:09 am (UTC)
Rygel-fic! Thank you! I love the way you've portrayed this sadly underappreciated character. There should be more Rygel fic!
Stars: cool bassetsimplystars on April 30th, 2007 02:12 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you liked it! And bwah, who'd have thought this year would have *two* Rygel fics? :)
eve11eve11 on April 23rd, 2007 02:15 am (UTC)
I love Rygel here -- shrewd, unnoticed, lonely, but you feel for him, too. And I love the image of Rygel in bling. OMFG you rock for that alone! The rest is icing. Or should I say ice cream? very well done, thanks for sharing this!
Stars: pretty bassetsimplystars on April 30th, 2007 02:13 am (UTC)
Thank you, Eve - and for the rec too! *squees*

I can't really take credit for the bling, though - it was inspired by sdwolfpup's icon from the blooper reel. :D
lastscorpion on April 24th, 2007 09:46 pm (UTC)
What a cool story! I loved the way you did Rygel -- so self-involved and yet so observant.
Stars: geek bassetsimplystars on April 30th, 2007 02:13 am (UTC)
Thank you very much! I'm so glad you enjoyed it, and felt Rygel was in-character. :)
Floraflorastuart on April 24th, 2007 11:27 pm (UTC)
*squee!!!* Rygel! Oh, I love this! You write him so wonderfully - his looking out for himself, his love of sugar and new possessions (bling! hee!) - but also the way he's *smart*, and observant, and more than a little lonely. Rygel needs more love!

Thank you so much!!!!
Stars: pk aerynsimplystars on April 30th, 2007 02:15 am (UTC)
Heh. Maybe Rygel and Teeg... no, not going there. *snicker*

I'm so happy and relieved you liked it, Flora. The original was so lovely and angsty and John-and-Aeryn, and you know I am all *over* that. But it was a nice change to write something a bit lighter. Kind of. :D

You are so, so very welcome. *hugs*
Kernezelda: TF John Rygelkernezelda on April 27th, 2007 01:32 am (UTC)
I love Rygel in this, and that's not something I often feel about the little guy.
Stars: goofysimplystars on April 30th, 2007 02:18 am (UTC)
*snerk* If you say so. :-P
eclipsegigerisgod on April 29th, 2007 04:28 am (UTC)
I love this oh, so much. Man, I'm kind of weepy about it, like this has touched something perfectly.

The 'Yo' section, backwards baseball cap and the bling really had me smiling.
Stars: squee!simplystars on April 30th, 2007 02:17 am (UTC)
Wow. Thank you so much! *glees*

I knew I had to write the bling section, even though it wasn't really food-centric, when I saw the icon sdwolfpup made from the blooper reel. :D
Lynda: fs-john-goldenpdxscaper on April 29th, 2007 06:00 pm (UTC)
Lol. This is a great look at Rygel...perfectly shows his love of all things shiny and sweet!
Stars: falling star bassetsimplystars on April 30th, 2007 02:18 am (UTC)
Yay! I'm so happy you liked it. :) Rygel's not a head I'm used to getting into much, you know? *g*
Ms Cranky Pants of the Depresso Blogbofoddity on February 16th, 2008 12:19 pm (UTC)
Found this during a fic search. This is a wonderful take on Rygel. He doesn't get written much, but when he does, results tend to be great. This was no exception. Well done!