When she arrives on Babylon 5, it's over twenty-four hours before she actually manages to take stock of her new quarters. She expects moderately little in the way of useful supplies, and is not overly shocked to find her cupboards empty.
What does bring her up a step short, however, is the note taped to the inside of one door. Hydroponics plot 3-28-C.
She goes down there at night - there is security, of course, since fresh food is a premium resource out here and torching the oxygenating plants would be a perfect, if original, act of terrorism for anyone so inclined. But she's now second only to the Commander (and Garibaldi - and where Security is concerned, she's fine with that) on this station, so she gets in after fielding only the mildest curiosity from the guards.
Plot 3-28-C is fairly deep into the hydroponics fields. It takes her twenty minutes to find it, narrowing down in a standard search pattern until she hits pay dirt.
The fruit is just beginning to grow and she can just about recognise the species, but what she can mostly recognise is that she knows nothing at all about horticulture. She's obviously going to have to rectify that.
She says nothing to Lennier when she bumps into him in the transport tube the morning after Londo's party, and she's thankful that he's Minbari and doesn't spare her more than a quick glance and a nod of greeting himself. She stares straight ahead at the tube doors and tries not to let any of what she shouldn't be thinking show on her face.
She shouldn't be thinking of the feel of Delenn's hair, damp and slick and sliding through her fingers. She certainly shouldn't be thinking of how easy it is to make the Minbari Ambassador laugh, something she's never considered before and wouldn't have thought possible even if she had. She shouldn't be remembering how Delenn's skin is smooth, silken even in places it has no right to be, cool to the touch and almost flawless because it's all made new, made Human.
Lennier gets out at the Zocalo; Garibaldi gets on two stops later and she's got other things they can talk about. She pretends she's not grateful, mainly because that would mean she's got something to avoid in the first place.
Two years later Delenn will be married to her best friend, will be a good friend in her own right, and Susan will be long over this brief attraction for a hundred different reasons - but in that one elevator it will still be an effort not to think about all of these things.
She never tells John the complete truth. About her mother, yes, and about her childhood, her issues with the Psi Corps, her own telepathy, all of that. About the meeting with Draal, the transmission and how she finds it, she tells him that too, and though it goes unspoken she knows he understands just how she, of all people, managed to pull this off.
But the power of the Great Machine pulsing through her, the feel of Shadows in her mind, whispering her name... those things she can never explain completely, even if she wanted to. Even if she could bear to.
She isn't blind. She knew the last time, from the very beginning, and it took her two years to come around to even being open to the idea, and there isn't a day that goes by she doesn't grieve for it and regret it and wish she had it back.
She knows this time, too. It's easy to see - she doesn't attract subtle people, it seems.
Marcus is sweet, and sometimes funny (sometimes) and earnest, and brave and somehow still innocent, even though she knows - has found out, quietly and without asking - what he's been through, why he joined the Rangers. She knows what they have in common, about the brother he lost, and she saw Ganya's face when she read the Arissa report, she won't deny it.
Yes, she knows. And she is not going to make the same mistake again.
It's easier that she doesn't find him attractive. She's not sure if she never would, or if she's just... not capable, any more. Either way, she wishes she felt glad about it. Instead there's just the feeling of being numb, and there's nothing behind her smile when she brushes him off or changes the subject or just damn straight pretends she doesn't notice him flirting.
She knows when he says it - inflection all wrong, and that smile on his lips - that it's not a greeting in Adronato, and she knows when she repeats it to Delenn, asks for the translation, what she's going to hear. Delenn's touch is gentle and there's sympathy and understanding and shared pain in her eyes as she translates.
No one would expect Delenn to keep a small bottle of vodka, carefully double-sealed and hidden, in the back of her Ambassadorial safe. She does, and Susan's very glad of it, that night.
She has one dream that she always remembers, every single time.
Talia's skin is soft, smooth, shockingly pale, especially her hands. It's like touching oriental porcelain, something fragile and precious and over-protected. (The first time she took Talia's hand in hers, that was the moment, the moment when she knew, she'd gone too far not to keep going - and Talia actually gasped and looked like she wanted to either cry or come or both, and she looked like that every time and oh, god, Susan wanted her so much, damn everything else, that she almost couldn't stand it.)
She threads their fingers together. Talia's breath is soft, shaking. Hot when it mixes with her own. Kissing her is like... there is nothing to compare to it, to the need and relief and desire she tastes in Talia's kiss, or to the giddy, heady feeling of jumping off that cliff and realising she might, with this woman, she just might manage not to fall.
Talia's skin is soft everywhere. Soft and sensitive, and the sounds she makes when Susan touches her...
This is all memory. This is not the dream.
She dreams of waking with Talia sleeping beside her, soft pale skin wrapped in soft pale satin and tangled sheets. She dreams that Talia opens sleepy eyes and smiles and touches her mind, and it's really Talia, her Talia, and every day starts and ends with this.
This is the dream she pretends she never has.