Chapter 1: because you can’t go to sleep.
one: because you can’t go to sleep.
(set seventeen years into the future, as per war without end, but spoilers for everything)
Delenn jerks awake with a gasp. It’s the third time in just as many days that she has had this particular nightmare, not to mention all the slightly different variations before that. In this one, though, it’s not David she sees, with a Drakh keeper on his shoulder, but her husband fading right before her eyes, ripped away from her through time and space. Except… not really her husband, not yet—a younger version of him, the man she fell in love with so many years ago.
The past two nights, after waking up, she cleared her mind and meditated until all remnants of the dream were gone, but tonight, nothing seems to be working. All she can see when she closes her eyes is emptiness where John should be. But he’s next to her, she can feel his warmth, and suddenly, the need to also feel his heartbeat is too great to ignore. She tries to be careful, tries not to rouse him from sleep, but maybe she clings too hard to his body, breathes too loudly, or maybe he just knows her well enough to sense even asleep when she is hurting.
He breathes her name against her shoulder.
“I just want it to stop.”
She is far too close to sobbing, so she does the only thing she can think of, and kisses him. His response is more hesitant than ever before, but even in this, he knows her better than she knows herself, slowing them down from the frenzy she had started to something more tender and at the same time just as desperate.
“Let me,” he rasps into her ear and then falls into the familiar rhythms of the passion they create between them. It won’t keep the shadows away forever, but it is enough for the moment, and the moment is all they have.
Chapter 2: make-up sex.
two: make-up sex.
(post-learning curve, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it reference to falling toward apotheosis)
The silence is thick enough to cut, and he doesn’t remember it ever being this way with them before. He’s been angry with her in the past, of course, though he doesn’t like to think about it much anymore, but they’ve never been so close to each other in such a hostile atmosphere and without anything to say.
Sometimes, he’s surprised by how attuned to each other they have already become, just weeks into their marriage. Right now, her breathing tells him she’s not asleep, and the curve of her shoulder radiates tension that he can feel even without any lights on. As tempted as he is to just ignore this, he hates going to bed angry, and they both need the sleep they won’t be getting if they don’t clear this up.
“Delenn?” he whispers into the darkness.
She doesn’t acknowledge him verbally, but her shoulder sags slightly, a sign that it’s safe for him to approach. He rolls over until he’s right behind her and his hand finds its already customary place on her stomach, fingers digging possessively into the skin.
“Delenn, listen. I’m sorry. I was an idiot. I meant to tell you, but after we got married, it didn’t seem right, and then things got so busy and the timing was always off. But that’s not an excuse. I guess I was just… scared. I’m sorry.”
Most of his tirade gets lost in her hair, but she hears the most important parts and finally relaxes a bit against him.
“I don’t want to talk about this any more now.”
He’s not certain that’s a good sign, but he sure as hell won’t force this discussion on her. He just needs her to know…
“I love you. And I’m really sorry. Can you forgive me?”
The last part isn’t planned, but it’s not until he speaks it out loud that he realises how important her forgiveness is to him. For a moment, he is reminded of the day when she asked him the very same question, but that pain is long behind them now.
Her head half turned, she hesitates long enough for him to grow tense next to her, for his fingers to lose their hold on her body.
“Of course I forgive you.”
He can tell from her voice that the discussion is only postponed, not off the table completely. But for now, this is enough, just to be able to hold her like this, to run his hands over her body languidly. Of their own accord, his fingers find the spots that have her writhing against him, and he thinks it’s about damn time he introduces her to the glory of make-up sex.
An hour later, he thinks maybe it wasn’t such a good idea after all, because now they’ll probably want to fight all the time just to have an excuse to do that again.
Chapter 3: break-up sex.
three: break-up sex.
(set during sleeping in light, passing mention of in the beginning and others)
During the years, they’ve had countless firsts, and almost as many lasts, starting from the first moment they ever laid eyes on each other (and the real first time they ever laid eyes on each other), over their first dinner date and first kiss, to their first (and last) child, with many, many other firsts and lasts along the way.
When he makes love to her one final time, they both know it’s another last, another thing they’ll never be able to do again. And tomorrow, he’ll kiss her goodbye (for the last time), and never return. The knowledge changes the way they touch, the way she arches beneath him, his fingers digging into her sides hard enough to bruise, and despair colours their bedroom in darkness. Here, now, at the end of things, it has finally caught up with them, no matter how bright the light they’ve tried to fight it with.
He knows exactly how to manipulate her body after all these years, instinctively touches her in places nobody else ever has (or ever will again), and it’s enough, but she still cries when he holds her afterwards, cries all the tears she has denied herself ever since she found out about his limited lifespan. There’s nothing for him to do but hold her close, so close they both can’t breathe, and rock her gently. If he was younger (if he wasn’t about to stop), he would try to make her feel better again in that way that only he knows how, but she needs this, and when he feels salty wetness on his own face, he realises so does he.
The candles next to the bed burn brightly, as they do every night, and it should be soothing, but they both know there will be no sleep for them tonight.
Chapter 4: your friend told you about a new position.
four: your friend told you about a new position.
Delenn is engrossed in a book when John steps out of the shower and into his bedroom.
“What are you reading?” he asks, towelling his hair dry enough so it won’t drench the bed.
“A book.” No shit. He rolls his eyes, but she elaborates. “That Susan gave me.”
Oh? He’s never seen his second in command read for pleasure, nor does he have any idea what her taste in literature might be, and something about this puts him on edge.
“Is it any good?”
He receives no reply at first, so he calls her name, and she almost startles. Must be some book, he thinks.
“Hmm? Yes, it… It is fascinating.”
Now that’s a loaded word if he’s ever heard one, and her fascination in turn fascinates him. Edging closer, he squints to make out the title in the low light. And when he finally does, the towel drops to the floor right along with his jaw.
“Delenn!” he splutters, his voice an octave higher than normal. “Are you… Are you reading the Kama Sutra?”
Ten seconds pass, twenty, half a minute…
“There is this position that I find intriguing.” Is it hot in here? “We should try it some time.” This is the point where he would start loosening his collar, if he was wearing anything at all. “It has the most peculiar name.” He lets out a little squeak. “Not really a name… It is actually a number.”
She doesn’t seem fazed at all, and he’s still gaping like a fish, eyes glued to the book. Until it hits him that his girlfriend is reading up on sexual positions while lying in their bed. He doesn’t think he’s moved this fast in years.
“John!” she shrieks with laughter when he all but attacks her, takes the book out of her hands, not caring where it falls, and kisses her with all he’s got. Giggles still punctuate the gasps and moans occasionally, but he’s confident that by the time he has shown her he knows exactly how that position works, she won’t be giggling anymore.
Chapter 5: revenge.
Her voice is more groan than moan at this point, and he wonders how much further he can take it, his hands holding her in place while his tongue draws lazy circles along her hip bone.
She bucks up, tries to shake him off, tries to pull him closer. When nothing works, she begs.
There’s something utterly delicious about her squirming like this, and if he didn’t have years and years of military training under his belt, he would have given in half an hour ago. But he’s going to make her pay for what she did to him last night, when she left him on the edge for what felt like an eternity and a half. And he had begged, too. Oh, how he had begged.
He lets his fingers trail along her hip, down her legs, and then back up the inside of her thighs, and that keening noise that’s coming from her mouth is one he hasn’t ever heard before.
One flick of his thumb, one slow but sure stroke of a finger, and that’s all that he allows her before he moves upward again, resting his hands on the soft skin of her belly. Her eyes, once she opens them and raises her head from the pillow, are hard as steel, as is her voice.
That sound now is one he’s familiar with, although it’s not usually directed at him. It is all of her power, all of her fiery strength put into a single word. The voice that commands armies. But not tonight.
“Not yet,” he simply says, and meets her gaze levelly. One beat, two beats, three, and her head falls back with a long sigh. It would be a mistake to assume she’s given up, he knows she’s just biding her time until she can reverse their positions, flip him onto his back and straddle him, or do that wicked thing with her mouth that she really shouldn’t be able to do, so he keeps his grip firm.
And he makes her wait.
Chapter 6: rebound.
The morning after their first night together, he wakes up with the thought that it’s going to take him a while to get used to being with a woman again.
John has been propositioned more than once, both when he was out in space during his marriage and after Anna’s death, and to say he wasn’t sorely tempted a few times would be a lie, if only to forget the pain for a little while. And incredibly flattered, too. But something always kept him back. Maybe the lack of love; he’s always been old-fashioned in these matters. If anyone had ever told him he’d be waking up next to a Minbari one day, he would’ve had them committed. But looking at her soft features now, so peaceful in sleep, nothing has ever felt quite this right.
The rational part of him screams that he should be worried about what the future will bring, how everyone will react, where they will go from here. The rational part of him also reminds him yet again she’s a Minbari, with all the baggage that brings, from cultural differences to biological ones (if there are any still, other than her bone crest and slightly more pronounced eyebrow ridge). And then there should be the question ‘Why her?’. He’s asked himself that so many times already, wondered if he was just using her to finally get over Anna, but in the end, it all boils down to the simple fact that he wants her, has wanted her for a long time, possibly ever since he first laid eyes on her.
He’d dreamt, imagined, fantasised, probably more than was healthy, definitely more than was appropriate, given their respective ranks and histories. But, just like with Anna back when they’d first met and he really hadn’t wanted to fall in love, Delenn had wormed herself into his heart and soul. And now, apparently, his bed, too.
Feeling her stir, he wraps his arm around her possessively, pulls her closer and presses a quick kiss to her forehead. Or what was meant to be a quick kiss, anyway. He draws it out when the taste of her skin reminds him of the previous night, of the way other parts of her taste (and smell and feel). He has thought about Anna long enough; time to put the past away and focus entirely on the present, and the woman in his arms, the slow flutter of her eyelids, and the slow yet enigmatic smile she gives him as she lets her hands start running over his body.
Chapter 7: paratrooping / banging for a roof.
seven: paratrooping / banging for a roof.
(post-objects at rest)
How it takes them almost three years to see more of Minbar than just Tuzanor, he’ll never figure out. But there’s the Alliance that won’t run itself, the other ambassadors that don’t seem to be able to do the smallest damn thing on their own. And there’s little David who keeps them busier than they both imagined in their wildest dreams. After three years of constantly being pushed and pulled, though, he finally puts his foot down and gives them both a week off. And because there’s no way they’ll even get five minutes of peace, let alone five days, he simply has their bags packed and ready one afternoon, David settled with the Minbari equivalent of a babysitter, and doesn’t even give Delenn a choice. (Not that she’d protest; even his ever so patient and hardworking wife has been more tired than ever lately.)
The trip into the southern regions of the planet doesn’t take very long, and she realises quickly where they’re headed, a little gasp of surprise telling him the exact moment she figures it out. And sure enough, the intricate crystal buildings of Yedor come into view soon after. He doubts that many of the buildings she once knew and loved are still standing after the civil war, but with the reconstruction well on its way, he’s certain she will find more than enough spots to show him.
He hasn’t really bothered sorting out any kind of accommodation. He’s the President of the Alliance, and she’s the Entil’zha of the Anla’shok, once people know they’re here, they’ll probably be offered more places to stay than they could ever want. When he tells her that, on the main plateau overlooking the surrounding forests, she just laughs that happy, carefree laugh he hasn’t heard in too long. At that very moment, he vows to himself that he’ll never wait this long again to take her somewhere, to just have a few days to spend with his beautiful wife.
“John, do not worry. I will find a place to stay.”
“For both of us?”
It’s a silly question meant to coax her into rolling her eyes, but suddenly, she grows far too quiet for his liking, as if she’s seriously considering what her answer should be.
And there it is, not the reaction he’s looking for, but a reaction nonetheless, as the corners of her mouth turn up and her eyes hold a gleam that he doesn’t see nearly enough.
“What are you willing to offer in return for a place to sleep?”
It’s her best ambassador voice, the one that he’s heard a million times in negotiations. But she’s not the only one who has had practise in this.
“Are you proposing a trade?”
She nods gravely, but the twitch around her mouth betrays her otherwise solemn expression.
“And what could the President have to offer the Minbari ambassador that would be worth enough to pay for accommodation?”
The smile that can no longer be contained lights up her face, and the glance she gives him is one part teasing and two parts wicked.
“I see,” he replies, tone sombre, then bends down to whisper into her ear, in very colourful detail, exactly what he’s willing to give. He feels more than sees her flush, and when he leans back to get a look at her face, what he sees there makes him swallow hard.
“That would be… acceptable,” she breathes in a husky voice that sounds like they’ll be trying for a new personal record in the coming week—a development that’s most definitely acceptable.
Chapter 8: nothing good on tv.
eight: nothing good on tv.
(set some time after sic transit vir)
“—is the only foolproof way to shield yourself from alien telepaths. The helmet comes in different sizes, so you can get one for your kids, too. Buy two, get one free! For a limited time only at your local—“
“—n’t leave me. You can’t just abandon me like this. Think of all the good times we’ve had, Gabriel. And what about the children? Don’t you love us anymore?”
“Ohhhhh, yes. Oh, harder! Yesss!”
Great, porn… Just what he needs right now.
“—the gokk in its natural environment. On Minbar, they are kept as pets, although they were originally wild animals, much like the big cats on Earth. Those that still live in the wilderness—”
With a sigh, John sinks further into the couch, again cursing his fate.
Ivanova explained to him earlier—in excruciating detail—how much having him around while she did their monthly docking checks annoyed her, and how he hasn’t taken any downtime in basically ever. And then she made him take the day off. With nothing good on the TV unit, and under strict orders (though on how his second in command can give him orders, he isn’t quite clear yet—he prefers not to argue with her on a day like this) not to so much as think about paperwork, he finds himself, for the first time in what must be years, without anything to do. And it’s driving him out of his mind.
He briefly, very briefly, considers ignoring Susan’s warning and going back up to C&C, but she can be very scary when she wants to be, and he’d rather not face her wrath. There is, of course, always the library, or he could hit a few balls. Truth be told, though, neither of those options sound in any way appealing.
No, what he really wants to do is something else entirely. And it involves exactly one other person, a nice, quiet dinner and, for once, no interruptions. Come to think of it, he is hungry, and he hasn’t seen her in far too long. (Okay, so maybe he saw her yesterday, but that was only for trade negotiations, and that almost doesn’t even count.)
It takes him nearly twenty minutes to work up the nerve to call her (But what if she’s busy? Or doesn’t want to have dinner with me again? After the flarn incident, I wouldn’t even blame her… And what if Lennier picks up? Or stands right next to her while I ask her out?), and really, a man of his age and rank should not be behaving like a goddamned teenager.
Much to his relief, it is indeed Delenn who answers the BabCom call, her aide nowhere in sight, and when she tells him she’s free for the evening and would love to have dinner with him, he fights hard not to bump his fist into the air. Instead, he just grins until his cheeks ache, and tells her he’ll pick her up in half an hour.
Dinner goes as well as he could have hoped; so well, in fact, that they’re still making animate conversation on the way back, and suddenly end up first in front of and then inside his quarters. It feels too natural to stop, though, one thing leading to another as they move to the kitchen for some tea, then to the couch for more talks. That is when The Moment happens, the one he’s been waiting for ever since they were interrupted by Susan a few weeks ago, but this time, he has notified everyone and their brother that he is not to be disturbed under any circumstances. This time, he’s going kiss her. And more, if she lets him, but he doesn’t think about that yet (don’t think about that yet, don’tthinkaboutthatyet).
In the end, he almost chickens out and lets The Moment pass, but she fixes things by kissing him, and really, he would’ve been completely fine to just keep kissing her forever, except she seems to have other ideas, ideas that involve much less clothing, and he’s absolutely fine with that, too.
Chapter 9: because you’re in a hotel.
nine: because you’re in a hotel.
(post-objects at rest, mentions of intersections in real time)
“You don’t have to go with me. I can deal with the negotiations. As the Vice President, I have the necessary authority,” she says.
“No, it’s okay.” (It isn’t.) “I’ll survive.” (He will.) “I did the last time I was there.” (Barely.) His attempts at humour are met with a scowl.
“Really, John, it is alright. Stay here.”
He shakes his head.
“No, you’ll need me there, it’ll make everything go much faster. Besides, I want to see Michael again, see how he’s doing. And we haven’t even seen his little girl yet.”
“Delenn!” he interrupts, more forcefully than necessary. “It’ll be okay. Trust me.”
Between the conversation and the trip, she doesn’t bring the topic up again, but he can always tell when she is thinking about it. And it is difficult at first, but he’d had good times on Mars, too, so he chooses to focus on those instead. (He only wakes up screaming once.)
The negotiations wrapped up, they stay with Michael and Lise for a while, but there’s something that he wants to show Delenn, so they say their goodbyes and check into a hotel for the last two nights before they’re scheduled to return to Minbar.
He finds her in front of the full-body mirror when he returns from the last errand for the Alliance, removing what little make-up she wears during the day. He has always meant to ask her who taught her to use human cosmetics, but she’s so focused and he doesn’t want to make that look go away, so he just watches her instead. She must feel his attention, though, because she smiles slightly into the mirror. He can’t help but smile back, even when she can’t see.
“Have I told you lately how beautiful you are?”
The smile grows now, and she turns to him, a delightful blush colouring her cheeks. Even now, she’s still not used to the compliments he gives her (and secretly, he hopes she’ll never be, if only so he can see that blush again).
She steps towards him, and he only realises he’s still wearing his jacket when she pulls him closer by the lapels. Not that it matters, when she kisses him like that. He gives as good as he gets, though, and soon, he can’t stop himself from tugging at her clothes (far too many for his taste).
“You know,” he says in-between kisses, “on Earth, we have a tradition.”
“Hmm?” she only hums.
“Whenever a couple checks into a hotel, they have to use the bed. For things other than sleeping.”
His hands expertly find the pleasure centres on her body that he first discovered during the shan’fal, and he hears her moan.
“We’re not on Earth, John.”
It’s a weak protest. Actually, it’s not a protest at all, not with the way she’s moving against him.
“Does it matter?” he breathes into her ear, the last piece of clothing falling to the floor.
He chuckles, “Didn’t think so,” and lowers her onto the bed.
Chapter 10: curiosity.
In the first few weeks of their physical relationship, he can barely keep his hands off her. Not that he’s any more insatiable than she is, but he hasn’t done this in such a long time, and most, if not all, of what they’re doing is still so new to her that John sometimes has to remind himself not to be too enthusiastic. Delenn can hold her own against him any day of the week, but he doesn’t just want frenzied encounters, he wants gentleness for her, and more than anything, he wants her to feel loved.
One evening, after a particularly intense hour and a half, Delenn asks him how he got by before her. At first, he laughs at the question and her teasing tone but after a while realises she is actually serious. Here’s a conversation I never thought I’d have…, he thinks with a blush. How exactly does one go about explaining the process of masturbation to a Minbari anyway? He tries to describe it as clinically as possible, both because he doesn’t know any other way, and because he’s not sure if the concept will appal her, if the Minbari have anything similar in their own culture. The answer to both questions, as it turns out, is no, but from the way she’s biting her lip, the fingers of one hand toying restlessly with the bed sheets, he can tell he has roused her curiosity. Among other things.
“Will you show me?” she asks, eyes as dark as a stormy sea. The mere idea of touching himself in front of her, with her watching his every move, excites him visibly, which in turn excites her, too, and her breathing quickens right alongside his.
His hand moves down slowly, almost teasingly, part of him still hoping she’ll take over. Not that this won’t be good either way; if she lets him, he will try to talk her into reciprocating.
“This is a lot more fun if you participate,” he murmurs, but that half-focused, half-dazed look in her eyes tells him all he needs to know, glance fixed on his fingers. He flexes them, pumping up and down in that lazy rhythm he has perfected over the years. It feels different, though. Not only is there no need for some cheap fantasy, some worn-out memory that will make him feel guilty later, not when he’s got the real thing right there next to him, but there is also no embarrassment, surprisingly enough.
The sheets are creased where she is clinging to them now, and the part of his brain still capable of thought suspects she’s this close to joining him, and he hasn’t seen anything like that in so long that the mere image pushes him over the edge, her name a quick shout on his lips.
When he can breathe again, she’s still watching him from eyes that are darker than he has ever seen before, and can’t keep herself from squirming. He takes that as permission to satisfy his own curiosity about a few things, like the question whether the hollows of her knees are ticklish, or what happens when he runs his tongue further down from the spot that always has her arching upwards and pulling his mouth back to hers.
She has had her fun, now it’s his turn to explore.
Chapter 11: it’s raining.
eleven: it’s raining.
(post-objects at rest, with mentions of messages from earth)
From the moment they arrived on Minbar (his first time, breath catching at the sight of the crystal cities) when Delenn had explained to him that it hardly ever rained on her world (their world), something has been lacking. It isn’t hard to figure out what that something is, but in the first few weeks, he was simply too busy running the Alliance, too overwhelmed by all the new adjustments. Weeks turned into months, and that’s how it takes him almost half a year to realise he isn’t sleeping as well as he could.
Sure, a lot of that can be attributed to the fact that he and Delenn haven’t been able to keep their hands off each other. And sure, the titled Minbari bed isn’t helping matters much, either.
It’s only when, in the middle of another night of constant tossing and turning, he suddenly hears thunder in the distance, that he can put his finger on what’s been keeping him awake: The sounds are all wrong.
With the crystal structures that don’t seem to have any corners, there are no nooks and crannies for the wind to catch during the night, making him miss the sound of it during the night. Of course Minbar has birds, except they’re not called ‘birds’, they’re called something he can never remember, something that makes him think more of elephants than of the winged creatures on Earth. Either way, though, the elephant-birds’ songs sound nothing like he’s used to, and he has woken up confused many times.
Tonight, however, something is different. The thunder, for one, and for a second or two, he wonders what happens to the buildings when they’re hit by lightning. He would be worried, but he’s on the Minbari homeworld, and they probably make the crystal energy-absorbent so they can save on electricity, or something equally brilliant.
The storm is far away; he counts almost to twenty between a bright flash and the accompanying thunder. It’s the first thing on this planet that is familiar, so it almost lulls him to sleep, except he still can’t find that inner peace or meditative state or whatever Delenn calls it. Delenn… He turns towards her, eyes raking over her body. She started showing very late, but by now, there’s a considerable bump that he just can’t stop running his hands over, and now is no exception. He should let her rest, but the knowledge that it’s their son growing inside her is too incredible to resist.
A yawn, quickly stifled, and two sleepy eyes tell him he wasn’t careful enough, but she doesn’t seem to mind. He inches closer, presses a kiss to her forehead, then her mouth. For a while, they stay like this in their little bubble, just looking at each other in wonder. The moment breaks when he hears a soft thumping noise, and then another, and another.
“What is that?” he whispers, her voice just as quiet when she replies.
His smile widens. He hasn’t heard rain in years, not since—
“I remember when you made it rain for me.”
The sound coming out of her is close enough to a giggle that he’ll tease her about it tomorrow.
“I didn’t make it rain, John. I do not have the power to influence the weather.”
“Are you sure?” he only half-teases. If anyone could do it, it would be Delenn. She smiles at him.
“I wanted to kiss you that night.” The soft confession surprises her, but the smile stays even when he continues. “I would have, if not for our mission… I think that’s when I knew for sure I was in love with you.”
Her eyes are oddly shiny now, and while he couldn’t kiss her back then, when she made it rain for him, he can now, and he doesn’t waste any time, carefully sliding the straps of her nightgown down her shoulders and following the path with hands and lips.
Three days later, she teaches him how to play the sound of falling rain in their bedroom, and he finally sleeps through a night.
Chapter 12: it’s halftime.
twelve: it’s halftime.
(season five, with a throwback to divided loyalties)
Ridding Earth of Clark has brought with it one unexpected change in their lives: John has regained access to all vid relays from Earth, including the one that seems to be showing recordings of competitive physical activities. When he first mentioned the World Series, she looked it up, but none of the things she found made much sense to her, so she put it with all the other odd things Humans did. Not in a million years would she have expected to have to sit through a whole afternoon of John watching one of these ‘baseball’ games and explaining every detail to her as if it was some elaborate Human ritual.
But that was yesterday, and there are other things she has planned for this evening. Plans that most certainly do not include batting a piece of dead animal skin with a stick, nor watching other people do it. And yet, the door to his quarters not even fully open in front of her yet, she can already hear the cheering and commentary she still remembers from last night coming from his vid unit.
“Yeah, I’m in here, gimme a second!” his reply sounds from behind the sliding doors. When he comes out of his bedroom, it is in clothes she has never seen on him before; a pair of absurdly loose pants, and a grey shirt with a word printed on it she does not know the meaning of.
“That’s better. Can’t watch a game in uniform.”
“So there is more… baseball today?”
“Yes, of course!” His wide grin does nothing to ease her confusion. Does that mean they will be repeating this ritual every day from now on?
With a slight huff that he either doesn’t hear or chooses to ignore, Delenn starts preparing two cups of tea. They do not have nearly enough time together as husband and wife as it is, and now he is going to fill their evenings with this ridiculous game, too? She decides, there and then, not to let that happen. Distracting him from the game should not be too hard a task, and with that thought, she sits down next to him on the couch, snuggling into his easily offered arm with a smile that would probably make him raise one of his eyebrows if he wasn’t so focussed on the game.
The careful move of her left hand onto his leg goes unnoticed, too, and she is not sure whether that is a good or a bad sign. But she runs her hand up and down his thigh once, experimentally, and there is the slight twitch in his muscles that she has been waiting for. His eyes, however, are still fixed on the screen. For now, at least.
It does not take long for him to be sufficiently distracted by the slowly increasing pressure of her hand, and yet this is the least enthusiastic he has been about taking her to bed in all the time they have been intimate. Not one to back down from a challenge, Delenn goes about her mission with renewed vigour, leaning into John under the pretence of simply resting her head on his shoulder when she is really trying to brush along the spot behind his ear that always makes him moan in the back of his throat.
When that still does not spur him into action, she changes her tactic to direct attack, unceremoniously lifting the waistband of his pants and sticking her hand inside. It works smoothly, and she recognises the advantage of the loose pants. (Is that their purpose? She’ll have to ask him later. Later, because he’s groaning now, yet still resisting the urge to close his eyes.)
“Delennnnnnnn! I am trying to watch the game here.”
She looks at the screen for a moment and, as if on cue, the view of the wide field is replaced by what she has learned are advertisements for various Human products.
“This is a break, right?” she asks, but now his eyes really are closed, his hips pushing up into her hand—one of the signs, she has learned, of his impending climax. And surely enough, mere seconds of her fingers on him later, he tenses and shouts her name. There is still an annoying jingle playing in the background, and her hand is sticky, so she gets up, leaving him to recover. Try as she might, though, she simply cannot keep the smug look off her face when she turns back to him.
“See? You did not even miss any part of your game.”
Chapter 13: diet / exercise.
thirteen: diet / exercise.
(post-objects at rest)
Admittedly, it took him some time to get around to most of the Minbari food they’re now eating. And admittedly, once they’d figured out the two or three ingredients that disagreed with his ‘frail human stomach’ (an expression he’d protested against vehemently), he had even taken to really liking the new dishes. Maybe liking them a little too much, if he’s interpreting his wife’s hints correctly.
“Are you saying I’m getting fat??”
A stern look from his right, one he’s all too familiar with (and that he occasionally tries to actively provoke just so he can bask in the feeling of being married to this wonderful creature).
“No, John. I am just saying that the tailors have had to re-fit your uniform twice already.”
“So you’re saying I’m getting fat!”
He doesn’t believe this. Less than a year into their marriage, and she’s already telling him he’s getting fat.
His name drawn out like that is the first sign of annoyance, and usually, he would run his hands over her back and give her a short peck on the cheek to soothe her, but he’s already well on his way to frustrated himself. Mainly because she has a point; his shirts and pants have started to feel a little snug.
“I’m getting fat.”
Hearing the resignation in his voice now, she takes pity on him. A few steps and she’s standing next to him, her arms around his broad shoulders. She looks at him until he looks back, and then some more, until a small smile starts in his eyes—a smile that vanishes immediately upon her next words.
“Maybe you should start… ‘working out’, as you say?”
The growl rising in his throat isn’t unexpected, so she leans up on her tiptoes and kisses him, kisses him until the frown on his forehead softens, until his arms tighten around her, until he picks her up and carries her in the general direction of their bedroom.
He tears his lips away from hers for a moment, his breathing harsh and uneven, but the grin back on his face.
“You know, I think that’s an excellent idea.”
She just smiles and pulls him onto the bed.
Chapter 14: celebrate recent weight loss.
fourteen: celebrate recent weight loss.
(post-objects at rest; or, to be more precise, about eleven months after wheel of fire)
“Maybe we should wait a little longer,” John proposes quietly, and Delenn is again struck by just how much she loves him. That he so clearly wants her and still puts her comfort—her safety—first moves her more than most other things in life. But it has been eight weeks (and two days, five hours, seventeen minutes) since they have last been intimate, and she knows he misses it at least as much as she does.
“John. You heard what Stephen said. It is fine.”
“Are you sure?”
For the first time ever, Delenn has to suppress the urge to roll her eyes at him, a human peculiarity that she only now understands. She has lost count of the number of times she’s heard this particular question from him in the past half hour.
“Yes, John. I am sure. It has been seven weeks since David’s birth, and I have recovered. What I want now is my husband, and nothing else.”
Taking a deep breath, he lets go of his worries, at least temporarily, and replaces the frown on his face with a smile.
“Nothing else, huh? Nothing at all?”
“Well, perhaps this,” she replies, and leans forward and captures his lips with hers. It makes him respond, makes him moan, then makes him pull her closer, hesitating for just long enough to make her break the contact. He is still smiling, though, and she looks at him questioningly.
“It’s nice, not having to navigate around your baby bump anymore.”
“Did you not like my ‘baby bump’?” she teases, her expression as close to a drawn-up eyebrow as possible without actual eyebrows.
“I loved your baby bump. You looked amazing.”
As if to make a point, he runs his hands over her already tautening belly.
“And do I not look amazing now?”
There is no hesitation in his answer now: “Breathtakingly so.”
Together, they resume their explorations of each other, and in a way, it feels like the first time—both profoundly different, as he relearns her body and discovers two new pleasure centres, and yet the same as always before. Just like coming home.
Chapter 15: you finally get the chance to show your childhood bed some action.
fifteen: you finally get the chance to show your childhood bed some action.
(some time after rising star)
His mother and little sister had never really forgiven them for getting married without the whole family present, so when their first Christmas as a married couple rolls around, there is no way he can decline the invitation to spend it on Earth. And no matter how much the ambassadors object to his leaving the station, he hasn’t seen his family in years and he misses them terribly.
Delenn is understandably nervous throughout most of the trip, and although she hides it well from others, he can tell each time she plays with that one particular strand of her hair, or worries at the seam of her new robe, no matter how many times he reassures her his family will love her.
Arriving at the house is more than a little hectic, mostly because Lizzie got there only minutes earlier with her entire family, and before John has time to warn Delenn, she’s smothered in hugs and dragged away by his mother. He gives his father a desperate look, begging him to save his wife from the many nosy questions his mother undoubtedly has in store.
It takes half an hour to sort out who will sleep where. Somehow, the house seemed so much bigger when they were children, but now, with spouses and kids of their own, John and Lizzie have to make sure everybody has a bed-half or at the very least a couch for the night. That’s how, after dinner and long overdue conversations with everyone he’s missed so much, he and Delenn end up in his old bedroom, barely large enough to fit the big four-poster bed and the old desk he used to study at.
She runs her hands over the objects of his childhood almost reverently; the first baseball glove he ever got from his dad, his worn-out book on aeronautics, a photo of himself at his graduation ceremony from the Academy. Truth be told, he’s surprised by how little things have changed. He had expected his parents to turn the room into something else, but everything’s still the way he left it so many years ago. He has the feeling his sister’s room isn’t much different either, and for a painful moment, he tries to imagine what it must be like for his parents, to have both their children living light-years away.
While he’s lost in thought, Delenn, in her quiet efficiency, starts unpacking. He should help her, but there’s something hypnotic about her movements, about her grace in the way she holds herself even when she’s leaning down to store his socks in a drawer. Her robes part slightly at the bottom, and there’s a flash of pale skin that really shouldn’t be as enticing as it is.
“There is this ritual that we have,” he says, coming up behind her, arms automatically wrapping around her body—enough of a distraction from their suitcases, he hopes.
“Oh,” she breathes as his mouth travels down the side of her neck, “a ritual?”
“Well, it’s more like a rule, but an important one… It says that if you get the chance you show your childhood bed some action, you have to take it.”
“And what kind of ‘action’ would that rule be referring to?”
She can feel his smile against her shoulder now, where he has already moved the fabric of her robe aside. His nimble fingers move to the brooch at the front.
“Let me take this off, and I’ll show you.”
For a second, hesitation creeps into her movements and voice, and she turns slowly.
“John. They’ll hear us.”
“Then you’ll just have to be very,” a quick kiss to her ear, “very,” another one to her cheek, “quiet,” arriving finally at her mouth, swallowing the little moan that always signals her willingness to go along with whatever he is planning.
“Well, we would not want to break your very important rule,” she whispers against his smiling lips in-between kisses.
“Oh no, definitely not.”
And then she’s rubbing herself against him, and all coherent thought is gone, except for that last desperate realisation that it’s going to be very hard to stay silent.
Chapter 16: prom night.
sixteen: prom night.
(set about sixteen years after objects at rest)
They had agreed early on that their son would grow up on Minbar—schooling, holidays and all. They could have sent him anywhere once he was old enough to start first grade, but neither John nor Delenn had wanted to be apart from David longer than strictly necessary. Being the very strange man (even for a Human) that John is, though, he tries to incorporate Earth customs into many aspects of his son’s life.
That’s how sixteen-year-old David, just finished with the Minbari equivalent of High School (Delenn had laughed when John had compared the two, and shaken her head with that smile that said she thought he was being particularly ridiculous), gets his very own prom. Of course, it’s not nearly as big a deal as it would be on Earth; a normal human teenager probably wouldn’t even recognise it as a prom, but it’s so much better than the Minbari celebration that marks the end of formal education—yet another dull ritual with much bowing and not nearly enough laughter. Or at least that’s how John tries to sell it to his wife, who looks at him more and more sternly. In the end, they compromise, and both ceremonies take place.
Well into the night after the prom, Delenn is putting away her (very human) dress that she’d picked out for the occasion, when John wraps his arms around her from behind, enjoying the sight and feel of her clad in nothing but (equally human) underwear. It’s a view he doesn’t get nearly enough.
“So, what do you think?”
“It was… nice. Unusual, but nice.”
He smiles against the shoulder his lips are firmly attached to.
“See, I told you, prom is great!”
The bed looks so inviting that he can’t help but fall onto it, pulling her down with him. They can deal with their clothes tomorrow.
“How different was it from your Earth ‘prom’?”
“Eh, close enough,” John shrugs. “There was no alcohol, so that checks out. The music could’ve been better.” He had complained about the Minbari understanding of ‘music’ before, air quotes and everything, and Delenn had just looked at him oddly and left the room. Now, she just sighs. “David would’ve been a year or two older by the time prom came around on Earth. But I don’t think it matters; what counts is that he had fun.”
That they can agree on, and the indulgent smile she gives him makes him want to kiss her all over. He settles for pulling her even closer, and whispering in her ear, voice just suggestive enough to ensure she’ll know exactly what he means.
“And then, of course, there’s what a lot of kids do after the prom.”
The kiss that follows almost distracts him from the little sound she makes in the back of her throat, the one that signals disapproval and lack of understanding at his very human (read: stupid) ways. Almost. But enough is enough.
“I’ll have you know, prom is a very important part of growing up for a human teenager. As is what comes afterwards.”
If he wasn’t lying in bed, he’d put on his best President of the Interstellar Alliance face, solemn expression, hands on hips, the whole nine yards. Not that that would make her reaction any different, he realises with a resigned sigh when she starts giggling.
“I am sure it is, John. Very important.” She’s still teasing, but he has her now, hands creeping up her sides, slowly lowering the straps of her bra.
“I can show you just how important.”
Chapter 17: you’re already at their place and don’t want to have to move your car.
seventeen: you’re already at their place and don’t want to have to move your car.
(set any time after sic transit vir)
Her laughter is like sunshine, and he lets it wash over him until every thought has left his mind, every thought that isn’t of her, of them, right here. He has been in Delenn’s quarters for… He doesn’t even remember how long, but a quick look at his watch tells him it has been hours. She takes his glance, not nearly as subtle as he would’ve liked, as a sign that it’s time to end their evening together, but he can sense the same reluctance in her voice that is also holding him back.
“It is late.”
“Yeah,” he replies with a sigh. “I should go. I’ve kept you long enough.”
“You have not ‘kept me’ from anything. I enjoy spending time with you.”
That gets her a smile, and he knows he must appear completely love-struck, but somehow, he doesn’t mind one bit.
“Always good to hear the feeling’s mutual.”
She gives him a look, then, that tells him how silly she thinks he is for even considering she doesn’t feel the same way about him. There’s something in the air now, a strange, wonderful tension, and he wants so badly to lean over and kiss her, hold her, claim her as his. And he’s pretty sure she wants the same thing; he can tell from the way her eyes keep darting to his mouth, briefly, always shooting back up again straight away, as if she’s scolding herself for letting it happen. It helps him summon the courage to, for once, just go for it, no interruptions.
His body, however, chooses exactly that moment to intervene, a loud growl from his stomach breaking the mood. He almost curses, but she’s laughing once more, and what is there to complain about again?
“It seems I am the one who has been keeping you. Have you eaten anything today?”
Of course he has! There was that… that thing in the mess hall earlier. He could’ve sworn he’d eaten that and not just thrown it away. And then there had been the handful of popcorn Garibaldi had given him. Another grumble interrupts his mental cataloguing, and prompts a snort from her.
“So the answer is ‘no’?”
Face slightly flushed, he shakes his head sheepishly.
”I haven’t really had time, and there’s nothing in my quarters left that’s still edible. But it’s not that important. I’ll just pick something up at the mess later.”
Delenn’s doing a passable imitation of a raised eyebrow, and yeah, of course she’d know the mess hall isn’t even open this time of day. He’s trying to come up with an excuse that would allow him to stay a little longer instead of having to make his way to some Zócalo stall or another to pick up food, when she’s offering to cook for him.
“No, Delenn,” he hastens to stop her already retreating form, “you don’t have to do that.”
“But I want to. Don’t worry, John. I will not make you sit through another ritual dinner. And the meal will not take two days to prepare, either.”
Well, okay, he has to laugh at that, and while he’s laughing, he can’t argue, which he suspects was her plan all along. Knowing full well when an argument is lost, John offers to at least help her, but she quickly shushes him. Watching her go intently about the task is much more appealing anyway. True to her word, not even twenty minutes later, he has a full plate of Minbari… something (he makes a mental note to learn more about Minbari food than just flarn) sitting in front of him, and a seemingly nervous Delenn at his side.
“It is only a simple meal, but I hope—“
“It looks fantastic,” he interrupts her before she has a chance to start babbling like he had when he’d tried to cook for her, “thank you.”
About to dig in, he pauses, fork left in mid-air.
Her laugh is back, and if he could eat nothing ever again, he would still stay alive just so he could hear that once more.
“No rituals. Eat!” she replies resolutely.
So he does.
A half hour later, after finishing his dinner and doing the dishes that he’d insisted on doing, they have relocated back to her couch, still in no hurry to let the evening end. Now that he’s fed, he doesn’t see any reason at all to leave anymore. He has everything he needs and wants right here.
Somehow, his hand has ended up on the backrest of the couch, right behind her, and when she leans her head against it, his fingers tangle in her hair. Ever so slowly, they gravitate towards each other, step by step, until he uses the leverage his hand—now on the back of her neck—gives him to pull her even closer, and finally touches his lips to hers.
Neither of them is in any rush, but eventually, the soft kisses turn more insistent, and before he knows it, she’s in his lap, shifting against him suggestively. Time to move this elsewhere, if she’s willing. One look into her eyes, pupils blown wide, tells him all he needs to know.
“You know, I also don’t have anything in my quarters for breakfast,” he whispers as he helps her up.
“Then I suppose you will have to eat breakfast here as well,” she replies with a perfectly innocent expression on her face. “We cannot have the captain of this station starving in his own quarters.”
He thinks about throwing her own remark about not having come for the food back at her, but she’s kissing him again, and he’s too distracted by that to remember his own name, let alone something as silly as how to speak in full, coherent sentences. There are enough ways to show her exactly what his priorities are.
So he does.
Chapter 18: show off new lingerie.
eighteen: show off new lingerie.
(set in season five)
If there is one thing about Humans that Delenn will never understand, it is their concept of ‘fashion’. She had not given it much thought when she first set foot on Babylon 5 and saw Humans and Centauri, Narn and Drazi, all in clothing traditional to their respective people, nor later, once she figured out the meaning behind certain garments. But then, after her change, her body’s new nature required a change in clothing, too. And the research she’d done had been so extensive that, two hours later, she was more confused about this race—her race now—than ever.
So when John asks her to wear something that he ordered for her, the sudden uneasiness she feels is not entirely unwarranted. Her own attempts at human-style clothing have been met with enthusiasm from John, but she takes one look at the garments he picked and knows this is very, very different. She has never worn anything this revealing, never anything that was made of less fabric (although she supposes ‘less’ would in this case equal ‘none at all’). But he looks so excited, so hopeful, that she cannot bear to disappoint him, so she lets him know how tired she is, and that she’ll try this on some other night. The worry in his eyes overrides any disgruntlement he might have felt, and for a second, she is almost ashamed that she can’t seem to speak the truth when he asks her if she’s alright.
He stays away from the topic for several days, long enough for her to meditate on the idea, and when he takes half a day off from his many duties just to find and buy her a pair of earrings that he thought she would like, she knows it is time she gave him something back.
Finishing her work early and politely putting off a meeting with the Drazi ambassador (who would only want to lament some treaty or another anyway), Delenn makes her way to her own quarters, the grey parcel that contained the human underwear firmly lodged under her arm. If she is going to do this, she wants it to be on her terms, in her quarters where she feels less exposed. Before she even thinks about changing, she sets her com unit to record all incoming calls, and then sits down, the candle in front of her soon forgotten as she sinks into the familiar meditative state.
Once her body and mind are calm enough to proceed, she prepares the bedroom to her liking. A few more candles strategically placed, these with a stronger scent than the ones used for meditation, and the heating adjusted, there is really nothing else to do but undress. She does so calmly, not letting herself think about anything in the future, just focussing on one step at a time. First her outer robe, the brooch that holds it closed undone, placing it on a hanger and into the closest. The inner one next, the fabric soft between her fingers, put away in an equal manner. She already feels naked, but she keeps stripping methodically, and then slowly but surely puts on the different pieces of undergarments. They are so thin she is afraid she’ll rip them, but fifteen minutes later, she is done dressing herself. Or not dressing, as it were, she thinks with a huffed sigh, still resolutely refusing to look at the mirror.
She hears the door to her quarters open, knows John will be looking for her in just a few seconds, so she takes one last, calming breath, and steps out of the bedroom. His back is to her at first, but he must have heard the sliding doors open because he turns, and maybe the look in his eyes—pupils blown wider than when she wore the dress last year, and mouth hanging open almost as much as it did during the shan’fal—is worth every second of discomfort she has endured. Not that she will endure it much longer; she can tell he is already thinking about how to take the clothing off her again, and quickly.
The last thought she has before he scoops her up in his arms and carries her back into the bedroom is that maybe human underwear isn’t such a bad thing. She is always willing to learn, after all.
Chapter 19: celebrate major victory by favourite team or political candidate.
nineteen: celebrate major victory by favourite team or political candidate.
(spoilers for sleeping in light, but set two years before that)
“It was a nice ceremony,” John’s voice rumbles from her right, still fiddling with the collar of his new uniform. The cloak looks good on him, she thinks, and runs her hand over the length of his arm for what must be the fifth or sixth time in the past hour.
“Yes, it was.”
If she’s entirely honest, it was a little too much for her. She understands that her new position requires a certain level of ‘pomp’, as the Humans say, but her Minbari upbringing still puts decorum before splendour.
“But I am glad it is over now,” she adds.
“Is that so?”
Her husband raises his eyebrows, his tone just suggestive enough to make her laugh.
“So am I,” he says, his hands already making quick work of the fasteners on her robe, “very, very glad.”
When she doesn’t reciprocate by removing his own clothes, but instead runs her hands up and down his chest again, toying with the soft fabric, his own fingers still. The sudden glint in his eyes reminds her of a predator ready to attack.
“So, you like this uniform on me, do you?”
“More than the uniform you gave me and the rest of the gang during the war?”
Another nod, but this time, she adds a smile. She still remembers that day so very clearly, when he had told her he loved her, more with his eyes than his words. It had touched her to the very core all the same.
“More than you like it off me?”
She tries to contain the little snort, she really does, but as undignified as it might be, it escapes anyway. It should be enough of a response, and yet John keeps up his little interrogation, which it is really not fair now that he has started stroking her shoulders softly through her inner robe.
“What’s your answer, Madame President?”
The title sounds odd on his tongue when she pushes him backwards to the bed, but it also excites her a little, this new challenge. He’ll repeat it again later, softly, almost reverently, once she has finally freed him from the Entil’zha cloak and sits astride him, his hands manipulating every part of her body he can reach. And when she throws his own new title back at him, his eyes darken in a way they haven’t done since he first accepted the presidency.
Chapter 20: your chance to do it in a specific location.
twenty: your chance to do it in a specific location.
(set vaguely near ship of tears, probably a couple of days or weeks before the episode, but definitely after sic transit vir)
Early on, before the Shadows become public knowledge, before the fighting really starts, the newly installed War Room is still deserted more often than not. John already goes there when he needs peace and quiet to think, not knowing yet how much time he’ll be spending there over the next few months. His office has become too suffocating, too tainted with plans and effort, with strategy and scheming. For now, the War Room is still silent when the rest of the station drowns in noise.
“Captain,” his link chirps. Peace and quiet, my ass…
“Ambassador Delenn is looking for you,” Susan informed him.
Well, things could be worse. At least it’s Delenn requiring his attention, not Stephen or G’Kar or—god help him—Londo.
“Tell her I’ll be in my office in five. Sheridan out.”
With a sigh, he leaves the room, but not before an idea begins to form.
It’s not much later that his cheeks start to ache from smiling so much, but he can’t help it. Whenever she’s in a room with him, he smiles—even more so since his confession by her bedside in Medlab, and then their almost-kiss less than two weeks ago. Which brings him back to his idea.
“Delenn, there’s something I’d like to show you.”
Her nod comes immediately, no hesitation on her face, just curiosity, and a smile that mirrors his own. He guides her out of his office with a hand on the small of her back, keeping it there throughout the short walk. The door slides open on his command, and he can hear her breath catch.
“It is wonderful, John,” Delenn says after a while of him explaining various consoles to her. He’s pretty sure his smile has turned into an embarrassing grin by now.
“We’re going to win this war,” he announces with conviction, and maybe he overdoes it a little, because next thing he knows, she’s laughing. He is powerless to do anything but join in, and when she looks up at him with shiny, sparkling eyes, he bridges the distance between them and kisses her. It feels like he’s been waiting for this moment forever, and from her little sighs against his mouth, it seems she hasn’t fared much better.
Hands start wandering, fingers exploring through clothing body parts that were so far off-limits, and he couldn’t stop kissing her even if he wanted to, already addicted to the feel of her soft lips on his, of her tongue’s teasing strokes against the roof of his mouth.
Somewhere in the back of his mind, John thinks that the War Room will probably never see this much action again, and breaks the kiss just long enough to chuckle and allow Delenn to take a breath. But that’s not all she does, he realises, collar suddenly tightening even while she unbuttons his uniform. With a groan, he captures her lips again and lifts her onto one of the consoles. Looks like the room will see some more action, after all.
Chapter 21: to prove you’re not in a rut.
twenty-one: to prove you’re not in a rut.
(set a few years after objects at rest)
When John sighs for the third time in five minutes, Delenn decides she has had enough.
“You have been in a bad mood ever since Michael left. What is going on?”
Her husband only sighs again and shakes his head, turning onto his back. Puzzled though she is, she won’t let him sulk the whole night. She tries to remember what exactly happened earlier…
The dinner is a quiet affair, with Michael telling them how Lise and their newborn daughter are doing, and John trying not to talk about work too much. It ends, as things often do when somebody is visiting, in nostalgia and reminiscence of a place they no longer call home. But then Michael breaks the solemn atmosphere with a joke, and it feels like they’re all back on the station.
“I’ll be up in a bit,” John calls after her when she excuses herself eventually.
With a nod and a smile, she leaves the men to their own devices. Stepping into the foyer, she still vaguely hears their voices before they drift away entirely.
“So, now that you’ve been married a while, I see you’ve gotten past the stage where you can’t keep your hands off each other. Are we in a bit of a rut, Mister President?”
“What did Michael mean,” Delenn asks her still pouting husband, “when he said ‘in a rut’?”
She can tell from the way his jaw tightens that this is precisely what is bothering him.
“It means,” he finally says with yet another sigh, “that we are no longer… exciting. Or passionate. That we’ve gotten used to each other.”
“And this is why you have been behaving so oddly? Because Michael commented on something he cannot possibly know?”
John only grunts.
“Do you agree with him?” she keeps prodding, her head now resting on her hand, elbow digging into the mattress.
“Of course not. But that’s not the point!”
He is already on his way to sulking again, and that will not do. Not tonight. Not when they haven’t had the house to themselves in months. She makes a decision, and leans down to kiss him.
“Does this help?”
“A little bit,” he mumbles once he has caught his breath.
“How about this?” she asks, straddling him in one fluid movement. His stifled moan is answer enough, and she lets herself slowly slide down his body, kissing every bit of skin on the way.
She is kneeling in front of him now, making quick work of his shorts, and if the sounds he’s making are any indication, he did not expect her to stay right where she was. But there are things they don’t do often enough, and this is one of them.
“What were you saying, earlier?”
It’s a horrible moment to ask him anything, with her breath spreading dampness all over his stomach and then lower, but before she touches him, tastes him, she will wait for an answer.
“I don’t remember,” he pants out, hips already straining forward.
With a resolute “Good!” she leans in.
Chapter 22: stress relief.
twenty-two: stress relief.
(early season three-ish)
Something feels wrong. Well, perhaps not wrong, more like… off. Certainly not the way things are supposed to feel when he’s in bed with his girlfriend, her nearly naked body curled around his. But instead of evening out into the soft rhythms of sleep, her breathing has taken on a strained quality, as if something inside her is threatening to break out. He separates them enough to get a good look at her; her eyes are, expectedly, open and focused on a spot on the ceiling, and he could swear her entire body is thrumming with tension.
Delenn has been so keyed up these past few weeks, between Shadow attacks and diplomatic crises. So tense that he only has to let his lips trail down her neck to her chest, and she’s already keening and urging him on with trembling hands. For a moment, he considers slowing down, taking his time, but that’s for another time, for a time when she isn’t quite so desperate.
Between them, it’s always about what they need, not what they want. They never ask that question.
“Like this?” His fingers dance across her body, shifting aside undergarments and pushing inside her body rhythmically.
“No,” she rasps out, hips jerking up, “John… I need…”
She doesn’t finish her sentence, doesn’t have to, he can see it in her eyes, knows exactly what she needs (wants) tonight. His own shorts are quickly done away with and dropped to the floor, and then he rises above her, eyes never leaving hers as he pushes in slowly, carefully, until she has adjusted enough for a quicker pace. Tonight, though, she doesn’t let herself stretch as much as she should, urges him into moving faster, harder, before she’s entirely ready. But she needs that, too, tonight, that edge of pain, and it doesn’t take long at all for her to moan out his name, dragging him right down the abyss with her.
Five minutes later, she’s fast asleep.
Chapter 23: just shaved legs.
twenty-three: just shaved legs.
(set whenever, most likely season four-ish, with mentions of a race through dark places)
The dress is exceptional. He’ll always have a particular fondness for the first human dress he ever saw her in, back on their first date (though neither had called it a date at the time—in fact, she hadn’t even known the term ‘date’ until their fifth or sixth), but this one is more revealing than any other dress she’s ever worn, more revealing even than most of her nightgowns. He doesn’t get to see her legs often enough. That’s not it, though.
Her hair is pulled back and pinned up, a few stray curls escaping on the sides; eyes are shining with laughter at the lame joke he just made. The earrings he gave her last month, after she’d confessed she had gotten her ears pierced just for that first dinner, they’re refracting the candle light, leaving rainbow patterns on her skin whenever she moves. But that’s not it, either.
Something is different, and he can’t figure it out.
“So, what did you do today?”
Smooth, Johnny… He’s pretty sure Delenn won’t just go and tell him what about her looks different, and why. Women really are the same even three galaxies over.
It doesn’t take him long to stop paying attention to what she’s saying, not because he’s not interested, no. She’s just too pretty for him to focus on anything but the tilt of her head, the way her tongue keeps flicking out to wet her lips, or her graceful fingers toying with the fork on the table. At the mention of his second in command’s name, however, he pricks up his ears.
“Ivanova was here?”
He is inexplicably suspicious. But who can blame him, really, after that time that Susan reprogrammed his automatic shower settings to ice-cold…
“You didn’t let her into your bathroom, did you?”
Delenn’s little snort somehow makes him suspect Susan couldn’t help but brag about the stunt she pulled.
“Do not worry. She knows better than to change my shower preferences.”
“Hmm. So what did you two get up to together?”
“Susan ‘did my hair’, as you say.” If there has ever been a moment where his eyes come close to just popping out of his head—it would be this one. “Don’t look so surprised,” Delenn scolds gently. “Who did you think helped me before our first dinner?”
It’s not that Susan doesn’t have lovely hair, or that he doesn’t think she and Delenn can be friends—John just has the hardest time imagining Ivanova with tiny hairpins and rollers and whatever else women use these days.
Maybe it is the hair, after all. But no, it’s got to be something else.
Half an hour later (and still none the wiser, on John’s part), they’ve relocated to the couch, Delenn straddling him and moving on top of him in all the right ways. John lets his hands run along down her dress and along her legs, and before he has the chance to finish the thought that a move to the bedroom would be appropriate at this point, his fingers encounter perfectly smooth (and perfectly hairless) skin. That is definitely new. Not just new, also a story that’s probably well worth hearing (and then teasing Susan with, for sure). But then she’s unzipping his pants, and all coherent thought disappears.
Eh. He’ll ask her about it later.
Chapter 24: forgot to buy a birthday present.
twenty-four: forgot to buy a birthday present.
(set any time after a race through dark places)
Humans have very odd rituals. It’s a conclusion she drew months ago, but ever since then, she has seen and heard things that only made her more certain in her assessment. When she one afternoon receives an invitation to a ‘friendly get-together’ from the Captain, she shakes her head in confusion. But of course she’ll attend, she sends Lennier back with the reply. It is the addendum, however, that puzzles her the most, scribbled at the very bottom of the card in messy handwriting.
‘PS. Susan is making me do this. Back when we were stationed on Io and I refused to celebrate, she organised a surprise party and invited the whole base, and she’s threatening to do the same now. You don’t have to come if you don’t want to, but I’d love to see you again. —John’
Susan is making him do what? It doesn’t make sense, none of it does. A formal invitation to an informal event? A celebration that he does not want but that Susan insists on? Delenn wants to throw up her hands in frustration like she has seen Michael do it many times, but she catches herself in time, instead directing her mind towards work.
By the time she goes to bed, she has succeeded in forcing all thoughts of the invitation aside, and yet, she awakens the next morning with a sense of foreboding.
As the day progresses, it seems the Captain crosses her path more than usual. She first sees him in the Council Chambers, then again just an hour later in one of the transport tubes, and twice more in Green sector. And every time they meet, he’s first talking to, and then receiving little wrapped parcels from various people. When eventually her curiosity becomes too great to ignore, she approaches Garibaldi, who only has time to tell her it’s the Captain’s birthday before he is called away.
‘Birthday, the day that is exactly a year or number of years after a person was born, celebrated in many cultures with festivities and gifts.’
The database entry only adds to her confusion. Festivities she understands. While Minbari do not celebrate ‘birthdays’, they have other important milestones that come with ceremonies. But gifts… Why would somebody receive a present for turning a year older? The question occupies her well into the afternoon, and it’s not until she is already on her way to the Captain’s quarters that she wonders, suddenly, if she might be expected to bring a gift as well. For a moment, she almost considers simply returning to her quarters and sending Lennier with a message that she is not feeling well. But before she can even finish the thought, Susan crosses her path and joins her for the rest of the way.
As it turns out, she is not the only one without a gift, and there is nothing in Captain Sheridan’s greeting that indicates reservation, or even surprise. She cannot, however, shake the uneasiness at having shown up empty-handed, not even when she mingles with the other guests (though making a point to stay away from Londo Mollari). Eventually, the crowd thins out, but now that she’s here, she finds herself reluctant to leave, which is how she ends up alone with Sheridan.
“So, how did you like the party?” he asks with that smile she likes so much. (And how can she already have all his smiles memorised and categorised?)
“It was wonderful.”
It’s the truth, for the most part. Except for this…
“I am sorry I did not have a gift to give you.”
He’s already shaking his head and waving one of his hands.
“No! No, no. It’s fine. Just having you here is the best present you could’ve given me.”
She feels warmth rising in her cheeks and looks down, a strange emotion spreading through her body. He must experience the same, she thinks, because he clears his throat and takes a step back. It should not disappoint her so, to no longer have him close, and she only barely stops herself from reaching out to grasp his arm. Being alone with him is making her unusually bold.
“So, this is what Humans celebrate? Birthdays?” she asks a little awkwardly.
“Hmm? Oh, yes! You don’t?”
“There are different occasions we celebrate,” Delenn explains with a shake of her head, “especially when we are younger.”
“You’ll have to tell me about them some time!”
It seems she’s not the only one fascinated by other cultures, and she takes a second to thank the universe again for sending this man to replace Jeffrey Sinclair.
“I would like that, Captain.”
“Please, call me John.”
The smile is still there, but there’s something in his eyes now beside merriment. Something that makes the breath catch in her throat, makes her heart beat a little faster. All those feelings that have been threatening to overwhelm her ever since she first laid eyes on him, they are so new to her that she spends hours meditating on them, but they’re good feelings, and for now, she lets them wash over her like the tide on Minbar’s northern shores.
“It is late,” she whispers, “I should go.”
The Captain—John—nods in understanding, but his words say the opposite.
“Or you could stay a little while longer?”
She shouldn’t. She should return to her quarters, should finish her proposals for tomorrow’s Council session, should meditate and then sleep. So naturally, she does the exact opposite and lets herself be led to the couch. Later, she won’t remember anything they talk about. What she will recall with startling clarity is the way his eyes light up at every word out of her mouth; the touch of his hand on her arm, her shoulder, even brushing through her hair once; the spikes of heat that shoot through her whenever he moves closer.
Despite her claims of not knowing much about being human, she has done substantial research, and is fairly certain what these signs mean—his interest in her goes beyond their respective positions on this station, even beyond a casual friendship. And yet, she still feels brazen when she reciprocates by letting her fingers stray to the side of his face. The flash in his eyes is unmistakable, so she does exactly what she has wanted to do all evening, since their dinner together, even, or perhaps since she first saw him: She kisses him on the lips, and for a moment, he seems shocked, but then he’s reaching for her, and she has to close her eyes because there is a look in his that overwhelms her, a look that says she might be the most miraculous gift he has ever been given.
Chapter 25: ‘let’s get it on’ by marvin gaye is playing on the radio.
twenty-five: ‘let’s get it on’ by marvin gaye is playing on the radio.
One evening a week off really isn’t enough. Not when there is a beautiful woman he is supposed to be having dinner with. But John can’t exactly be picky about when to work and when not to, so he makes the most of what he’s given. Today, he has something special planned, a whole three-course meal, some genius blend of Minbari and Human food the Fresh Air came up with. Candle light, some soft, old music in the background, and his link conveniently forgotten in his office. (He told Ivanova that under no circumstances was he to be disturbed tonight, but on this station, you never know.)
The evening passes in a blur, which he attributes to the hair style she has chosen, and that dress, a new one that makes simple tasks like swallowing and breathing almost impossible, while kicking his imagination into high gear. But he has a plan, and he’ll be damned if he lets an opportunity to dance with her (and in that dress) slip away from him.
He has been teaching Delenn how to dance for a while, usually to more modern tunes, but this will work just fine, he thinks. And really, they don’t so much dance as sway, fused together from head to toe. This, right here, is what he’s needed all day.
The first tunes of the next song are unfamiliar to him, until the lyrics start, and then he has to keep himself from chucking. He doesn’t quite succeed, because next thing he knows, Delenn has moved away a bit and looks at him from curious eyes. How to explain that one…
“Listen to the song,” he says, pulling her back against him. He spares a thought to the possibility that she might not understand what ‘to get it on’ means, but she’s been around him (and other Humans) long enough to know pretty much everything out of their mouths can in some way be related to sex.
And yes, there it is—her body tensing against his for half a second, her head jerking back to give him an incredulous look, and then the smile he’s been waiting for.
“You know, back on Earth, this song has clear implications of what happens next…”
She laughs that little laugh of hers then, in the back of her throat, that says I know that you are making up at least half of all of these ‘Earth rituals’, and god, he doesn’t think he has ever loved her more than at this moment.
Her eyes are bright and happy, so he thinks to hell with rituals, and kisses her until the blood rushing through his body tunes out the notes of the song. For the next dance he has in mind, they won’t need any music.
Chapter 26: celebrating the joy of life after a near-death experience.
twenty-six: celebrating the joy of life after a near-death experience.
(post-comes the inquisitor, with a dash of confessions and lamentations)
In the twenty-four hour period after they officially “pass” the test Sebastian set up for them, John refuses to leave Delenn’s side even once. Something in his eyes tells her not to argue, just like the determination in her voice made him give up immediately on trying to convince her of an extended medlab stay. Somehow, he thinks if he lets her out of his sight for just a minute, she might collapse, that the torment will finally take its toll on her thin frame, so he stays with her. Somehow, he thinks she doesn’t mind that part at all.
Lennier tries to reason with her, with them both, and they know he means well, but when after the better part of an hour, he still hasn’t left them in peace, Delenn grabs a few files she had been meaning to sift through for several days now, and asks him to take care of those for her while at the same time gently guiding him towards the door. When that closes behind him and they’re finally, finally alone, they each let out a long sigh. With no one else around, there is no need to keep up the guard, to hide the turmoil of feelings. They both know what happened in the chamber. But knowing is a far cry from understanding, and sitting quietly next to each other on her couch, everything comes rushing back.
John’s arm finds its way around her body by reflex, pulling her closer when her breathing starts to crack. She doesn’t sob, doesn’t even cry more than a tear or two that he wipes away with his thumb, but there’s a darkness in her eyes that almost scares him.
“You could have died,” she says after a while, and puts her hand on his cheek in a way that reminds him painfully of that time she had come to tell him about her decision to go into the Markab isolation zone—the time she’d come to say goodbye. He has almost lost her twice already.
“So could you.”
It’s as simple as that, when it comes right down to it, and because even nodding would be too much of an acknowledgement, he remains still.
She sags against him and he draws her closer, until there’s no space at all between them, and suddenly, something shifts. Her hand lands on his chest, his goes under her chin and tilts it up until she’s looking at him again, and the despair is not as pronounced anymore now that at least part of it has been replaced by that simple curiosity he has come to know and love in her. They are alive. They could have died, but they’re alive, and her lips are so, so soft under his.
By the time she has finished unbuttoning his shirt, all thoughts of Sebastian are long gone.
Chapter 27: your one chance with a celebrity.
twenty-seven: your one chance with a celebrity.
The inauguration finally out of the way, John is more than happy to let everyone celebrate down in the Zócalo while he drags Delenn to his (their) quarters for some celebrating of their own.
She seems to have had the same idea, and starts undressing the minute the door slides shut behind them. Once her clothes are mostly gone (on the couch, over the chair, and he thinks he even spies a lone sock lying on the floor), she makes short work of his, too, and he can’t help but grin at her enthusiasm.
“Seducing the President, are we?” he asks with an arched eyebrow.
“Are you complaining?”
“Never,” his reply comes immediately. “But don’t let the other ambassadors find out. They’ll think you’re just sleeping with me because I’m the most powerful man in the universe.”
She gives him that look then, the one that tells him he’s in trouble. Very, very much in trouble.
“What makes you think that that is not the case?”
“I knew it, I knew all al—“
Her lips on his are a very effective method of shutting him up. Part of him already plans on talking a lot in the next few months, just so she will have to shut him up more often.
“You knew what, John?” she asks after breaking the kiss, and it’s really not fair that she can look and sound so unfazed when he’s almost drooling and babbling incoherently.
“Hmm?” It takes him a moment to remember what they were talking about. “Oh, right. I knew all along that you only wanted to marry me for my title.”
“Is that not what Humans do?”
The Look is back, then, but before he can even begin to come up with a counter-question, let alone a reply, she’s kissing him again, and hey, if she wanted to sleep with him only because he’s the President, he wouldn’t even complain.
Chapter 28: to time an egg.
twenty-eight: to time an egg.
(set in early season five, with a reference to sic transit vir)
“Joooohn. I am attempting to cook this… ‘egg’ properly,” she scolds, trying to push off the arms that have slung around her from behind. Ever since the wedding, she has been making an effort to learn more about human food, including how to prepare some of it on her own. And after the incident with the flarn, she no longer trusts him around the kitchen, let alone to teach her anything.
“You’re doing just fine. It takes a while.”
“Only eight minutes. No, seven now,” a quick glance to the clock confirms.
He moves her hair to the side to get better access to her left shoulder, murmuring into her ear while he pushes down her robe, “I can be quick.” Delenn’s eyes narrow.
“Not that quick.”
She is on the verge of asking him what a bet has to do with their current argument, but then he swirls his tongue up her neck just so, and by the time he reaches her earlobe, she has forgotten all about the egg she is supposed to be cooking. And to be fair, he knows her pleasure centres well enough already to be very fast.
Of course the same is true for her knowledge of his body, she thinks with a grin.
Chapter 29: to avoid cleaning, studying, or doing work of any kind.
twenty-nine: to avoid cleaning, studying, or doing work of any kind.
(set some time after objects at rest)
Two hours and thirty-six minutes (not that he’s been counting) into this week’s pile of leftover paperwork, John decides he’s had enough, and drops the pen with a clatter. Delenn one desk over doesn’t so much as flinch, her eyes never leaving the file in front of her. Not even when he sighs loudly. Must be one hell of a report to hold her attention like that, John thinks. He watches her for a while. The way her chest rises and falls with each breath. Her eyelids fluttering, mouth set in a thin line with concentration. The paper in her hands is a little wrinkled, which isn’t something he sees often. She’s usually so careful with these things.
“Why are you staring at me?” she suddenly interrupts his wandering thoughts.
That cheeky little thing! She’s probably known all along that he has been watching her.
It’s not really an answer to her question, but the corners of her mouth twitch. He counts that as a win. (Not that he has any illusions this one victory will mean anything in the long run; no matter how many battles he has the upper hand in, she always, always wins the war.)
She doesn’t dignify that with a reply, still focussed on the papers. But he’s had her once, and he’s sure he can score another few minor victories.
”You know what would be much more fun than this stupid paperwork?”
Normally, Delenn would just ignore him, but with her armour already chipped, he’s sure he’ll get some sort of response. And there it is, a reluctant, but affirmative hum. That’s when he starts keeping score (John: 2—Paperwork: 0). Time for the next phase of his cunning plan.
His chair scrapes over the floor as he pushes it backwards, and then it’s only three long strides to where she’s sitting.
“You’re so pretty,” he repeats, leaning down to whisper in her ear. “And sexy, too.”
Another twitch of her mouth, another win. And when he finally takes the pen from her and loosens her grip on the files that he is sure land on the desk somewhere (not that it matters, not now anyway, not until she scolds him later for not being more careful).
“I can show you just how sexy. And I promise it’ll be a much better use of your time than reading over diplomatic negotiation transcripts.”
Delenn turns to him, something eerily like a smirk on her face. It makes him stop, makes the breath catch in his throat. Oh, she’s so going to win this one, but by god, he’ll enjoy every second.
Chapter 30: she wants to.
thirty: she wants to.
There’s really nothing in the universe that can put a candle to waking up with a stark naked woman straddling you, breathing more than a little uneven, and already well on her way to full arousal.
They don’t indulge in early morning sex often; usually, John will be woken up by some emergency and will have to rush even through a quick shower, or Delenn will already be up (and sometimes even out) by the time he’s finished rubbing the remnants of sleep out of his eyes.
Time is relative in space, even more so than everywhere else. They never seem to have enough of it. And it’s not like anyone knows what weekends really are, on Babylon 5. Today, though, their first meeting isn’t until ten, which should give them more than ample time together—a rare treat they’ll be damned to not make the most out of.
As it is, Delenn is already making the most out of their situation, and by god, he doesn’t know whether to just lie back and let her do all the work, watching her every move, or to join in. She looks almost ethereal in the half-light, her professional demeanour still at least an hour away from resurfacing. He thinks about telling her how beautiful she is, how much he loves her (more than life, more than everything), but he can see in her eyes that she already knows it all, knows every facet of him, every detail, and loves him all the more for it.
John’s control gives out then, but before he can so much as touch her, she’s pushing his hands back onto the bed, pinning them over his head in the same motion that buries him deep inside her. He wouldn’t complain even if he had any coherent thought left. There’s something about her taking charge like this, something dark and electric he can’t quite put his finger on.
She stills almost completely, as she always does. The first time, he’d been so surprised he had asked her if he’d hurt her, if everything was okay, but by now, he knows not to say anything. This is her moment, the one she loves the most. And when it passes, her eyes are nearly black; her mouth opens on a gasp. Delenn lets her head fall back, long strands of her hair tickling his thighs. The pace she sets is excruciatingly slow, but John knows this is just the beginning.
Like everything else between them (allies, partners, friends, lovers), this, too, is a slow-building wave that rolls inland and eventually crests, swallowing them whole.
Chapter 31: it’s cold outside.
thirty-one: it’s cold outside.
(post-ceremonies of light and dark)
From a rational point of view, Delenn knows it is always cold in space. She knows that, if she were to be sucked out an airlock this very minute, she would not only suffocate, but also freeze to death at the same time.
None of that explains, however, why she can’t seem to get warm. She is inside a space station, in her quarters that she now keeps at a temperature high enough to have even driven away Lennier, and she is wearing her thickest set of robes. And yet, the chill that has been gnawing away at her ever since she took the knife in her back remains.
The knife… She remembers each second of the incident with a stubborn clarity when she would so much rather just forget it ever happened. The sudden flash of silver, the split-second she had to make up her mind, even though there really hadn’t been anything to think about at all, the anguish in John’s voice when he caught her, but above all else, the stabbing cold that seemed to spread from the pain in her back throughout her entire body. And while Dr. Franklin had repaired all the damage, leaving only a very faint scar behind, two weeks later, she’s still unable to find warmth anywhere. She should be able to control this, through a combination of meditation and the herbal teas she grew up with, but nothing seems to help.
Lennier has made sure to re-schedule all of her appointments this afternoon and take on the remaining paperwork, which leaves her by herself, wrapped in a blanket, and still shaking, when her door chimes. For a second, she considers not answering. Knowing her luck, it will probably be even more paperwork, or yet another ambassador clamouring for attention. But simply being cold is not a reason for her to neglect her duties, so she asks who it is. The answer that comes surprises her, and she is again torn between the wish to be alone, and the desire to be near him.
John is in her quarters and in front of her before she can so much as blink, and she absurdly wonders if the persisting chill is affecting her brain now as well.
It is only then, when he asks that question, so much worry in his eyes, that she realises how she must look, sitting in her quarters in the middle of the day, with a blanket slung around her shoulders. But then she remembers the way he held her hand, his confession during the ritual, his careful words and the way they made her feel, and with that, something inside her breaks. Her pride, perhaps, or just that part of her that has been alone so long she doesn’t remember anymore what it’s like not to be alone.
“I’m so cold.”
That’s all he needs. He sits down next to her, pulls her close, and gently rubs his hands up and down her covered arms. The friction, at first foreign and strange, quickly turns pleasant, and when he smiles at her, bends down to capture her lips with his for the first time, a slow warmth begins to spread, finally, from her head to the rest of her body. Sweet kisses turn into passionate ones, and a while after her lungs start burning, he pulls back. She can sense his reluctance to even move an inch away from her, so when he stands up from the couch all of a sudden, she feels bereft.
He runs a hand through his hair, in a gesture she has come to know well, and even practise herself. A gesture of anxiety.
“I…” he starts, and breaks off, “We shouldn’t be rushing into this. I’m sorry.”
Despite her apprehension, a smile tugs at the corners of her mouth. He is not pushing her away, he is just concerned for her. He has probably guessed at the differences between Human and Minbari courting rituals, and if she were any longer truly Minbari, she would have to put a stop to this immediately, to retreat and meditate on this new development. But if the recent events have proven anything, it is that she’s no longer Minbari in body, and perhaps not even in spirit. It doesn’t take her long at all to come to a decision.
She carefully takes his hand and pulls him back down, next to her, then onto her, and finally into her, and she feels warmer than she has in months.
Chapter 32: cheer somebody up.
thirty-two: cheer somebody up.
(post-a distant star)
“We are star-stuff. We are the universe made manifest, trying to figure itself out.”
Even two weeks later, he still can’t get her little speech out of his head. Nor her smile, or the curl of her eyelashes, or the soft glow in her eyes at the words that had instantly made him feel better.
So when he sees her next, and the smile and the glow are gone, her eyes barely meeting his, he pauses for a minute, utterly confused. Then his patented Sheridan charm kicks in, and half an hour later, he has ushered her into his quarters, two steaming cups of tea in front of them, and tries his best to get to the root of the problem.
Now, for all her sympathy for others, Delenn isn’t really the forthcoming type where her own problems are concerned, and it takes him the better part of the evening to figure out her change isn’t as accepted as it should be. Not that he’s at all surprised; not even the almighty Minbari are above prejudice within their own race.
He is, however, at a loss as to how to cheer her up. If only he had a beautiful speech to pull out of his hat like she had done it, some universal wisdom that would forever change her views. As far as universal wisdom goes, though, he’s not the guy to ask, but there are other ways to make people feel better, ways he’s far more versed in.
A hand on her arm, slowly running up and down, warm fingers first gentle disentangling her cold ones, then finding the fasteners in the folds of her robe, his breath hot and damp against her cheek, her ear, her lips. When she takes control eventually, as he knew she would all along, he finds himself pushed back into the sofa cushions, with her moving above him like she was never meant to be anywhere else. He supports her with hands on her hips, and the smile that spreads on her face as she nears the edge is brighter than any star he’s ever seen.
Chapter 33: keeping up with the neighbours.
thirty-three: keeping up with the neighbours.
“Alright, that’s enough!” John bellows. “This is the third time this week. And it’s only Thursday!”
He has half a mind to just walk over there and tell the… lovebirds to please just shut up and go someplace else. A sigh from his left lets him know how silly he’s being, but really, he can only listen to Londo’s sexual escapades so many times, and this one is the final straw.
“How have you been living with this for four years?”
“Meditation,” Delenn deadpans.
“Of course,” he growls under his breath.
“John. We can go to your quarters if you wish.”
It’s tempting, but they decided to keep the time divided more or less equally between their two places, and goddamnit, it’s a matter of principle. He shakes his head.
“Then do something that will distract you from the noise.”
He considers it, he really does, but he can’t concentrate enough to read, not when it’s that loud, and there’s nothing good on any of the network channels anyway. So, other options… Looking around the room, he sees a bunch of crystals (Delenn’s), some scrolls in Adronato (also Delenn’s), the candles that always seem to be everywhere she is (definitely Delenn’s). It’s all Delenn’s in here, and eventually, his eyes land on the woman herself. Well, there’s a distraction if he’s ever seen one. The best kind.
The object of his fascination is deeply engrossed in her paperwork, but he can see her heart’s not in it from the way she keeps flipping back and forth in the pages, sneaking more glances than usual at the treaties on the side to check figures. That means step one: diversion has taken care of itself, and he can move right on to step two: interruption.
Six steps later, buried deep inside her, the only thing he hears is the blood rushing through his body, and her little moans and gasps that crest in a piercing yell, the kind that makes him lose his mind just a little bit more, and he can’t contain his own startled scream.
“Well,” he pants in-between shaky breaths, “guess we showed Londo how it’s done.”
The loud yelp that follow is one of pain as her elbow makes contact with his ribs.
Chapter 34: your roommate is out of town and you can do it on the couch.
thirty-four: your roommate is out of town and you can do it on the couch.
The fact that she and John will have some undisturbed time to themselves in her quarters when Lennier is off-station is not the first thing Delenn thinks of, watching her aide’s retreating back. Nor the second. But perhaps the third. And that is something she is glad she will never have to admit to anyone but herself.
There was an incident, a few days ago, where Lennier almost walked into her quarters while they were already half-undressed—and if she’s entirely honest, it was far from the only time he almost caught them. From tomorrow on, they will have to be more careful. Tonight, however…
She is so absorbed in running through her schedule for the day that, rounding a corner, she runs straight into somebody’s chest. Before she can apologise, strong arms surround her, and the smell of aftershave is unmistakable. Deaf and blind, she would recognise him anywhere.
“Captain. Thank you,” she says demurely, conveying through a glance the words they cannot speak in public.
“Ambassador,” he replies with a twinkle in his eyes. “And where are you headed in such a rush?”
A quick look around ensures that nobody is in direct proximity.
“I was coming to find you, actually. Lennier just left for Minbar; he will not be back for two weeks.”
The two simple sentences would mean nothing to anyone else, when John knows exactly what she is trying to tell him, she can see it in his eyes the second the news sink in. For a moment, his hands tighten on her arms, and she thinks he will drag her back to either of their quarters immediately, but then he suppresses the urge with a clench of his jaw. Pity…
“When’s your last meeting later?”
“I have no more meetings after the Council session this afternoon.”
“Great!” he says with a smile. “I need to take care of something with Ivanova after that, so I can’t walk you to your quarters, but that shouldn’t take more than half an hour. I can drop by after that, if you want?”
As if there has ever been a time when she didn’t want that! He responds to her nod with another brilliant grin, and marches off, urgently hailing Medlab on his link. Delenn’s frown at that turns back into a smile when she hears his voice around the corner: “Stephen, something has come up; I need to postpone my physical until tomorrow.”
The Council session finally over, Delenn hurries back to her quarters. Maybe, if she lights the candles quickly enough, she will even have a few more minutes to meditate before John arrives. The prospect of what exactly they would be doing soon had kept her focus as far away from the negotiations as they could be, especially once Londo started his daily tirade, during which she had made the mistake of looking over at John. It had been so plain to see—his eyes distant, his lips slightly parted—and Valen, she still hopes nobody else has any idea what that particular look on his face means. She doesn’t know whether to scold him for fantasising about her during a meeting, or to reveal that she’d had the very same daydreams.
Her door chime rings ten minutes before she expects it to, and she can no longer keep the smile of her face. After all, she is no less eager than he is.
“Hi,” he greets her, and waits until her door has closed to pull her into a kiss, walking her back to the couch without ever taking his mouth off hers.
“Hi,” she eventually echoes, the human greeting still foreign on her tongue, but it always makes him laugh. “Did you really cancel your examination with Stephen today?”
She is trying for a reproachful tone, and obviously failing, because he’s still smiling.
“I didn’t cancel it, I just postponed it. Franklin can poke and prod me some other time. Besides, I figured you can examine me much more thoroughly.”
Humans… she thinks, but tugs his head back down to hers.
In no time at all, John is more than ready to ‘move this to the bedroom’, as he likes to whisper into her ear, but tonight, there is another location, one that is much more convenient than the bed simply by being right underneath them. And with no chance that Lennier will suddenly barge in, there is no reason for them to move at all.
Chapter 35: some very protected sex to celebrate the fact you’re not pregnant.
thirty-five: some very protected sex to celebrate the fact you’re not pregnant.
(post-objects at rest, heavy references to wheel of fire)
David’s birth had almost cost Delenn’s life when she wouldn’t stop bleeding, and the Minbari doctors informed them later that her unique physiology would probably make another pregnancy lethal, if it was possible at all, so when she misses her period twice, they both grow anxious.
Anxious is perhaps not the right word, John thinks, pacing furiously in their living room while he’s waiting for her to return from the examination. Worried sick is more like it. He remembers telling Stephen he’d pick her life over their baby’s, and he remembers how horrified she’d been at the idea, trying to make him promise never to make that choice. He had flat out refused, and it had almost ended in her death anyway, because she had been right and he’d been wrong. But she had survived, and their son had been healthy, and now maybe all that is over, if she’s pregnant again. He knows that an abortion is not an option, and they’ve been so careful, even if it meant earning some very odd looks from the Minbari physicians when Franklin had told them via vid relay how to administer human contraceptives.
And now she might be expecting another child. He should be elated, he should be out of his mind with joy, not worry, at the prospect of giving his son a little brother or sister. Instead, it takes all his strength not to run into the bathroom and throw up.
When she finally, finally walks into the door, he’s in front of her immediately, hands holding on to her arms as if somehow that could keep her with him forever. He sees the dark circles around her eyes; she has been just as worried as him.
“What did they say?”
A part of him wants her to never answer his question, wants her to stay silent, wants this moment to pause and never to go on, just so he doesn’t have to hear her likely death sentence.
“I’m not pregnant,” she replies on a breath that rushes out of her, and as soon as her words sink in, he crushes her to him so hard he’s probably hurting her, but she’s holding on just as tightly, which means he has no reason to let go.
He trusts her to tell him if anything else is wrong, and when he starts kissing her, he doesn’t really have any air left in his lungs to ask questions anyway. There’s an edge of despair to their touches, and by god if that doesn’t make them even better. She’s not pregnant, she’s not going to die, and he loves her so much he thinks his heart will burst with it any second.
To want her now is possibly not the appropriate reaction to finding out they’re not going to have another child, but he does, and she’s tugging and his clothes, too, and who is he to deny her this, or deny himself the same? He’ll still make use of the condoms Franklin sent along, even though he knows she’ll protest, saying she wants to feel all of him, saying that they’re safe, have always been safe. This time, he needs to be sure. He needs to lose himself in her, and he’s not taking any chances.
Chapter 36: practice.
You’d think after three years of build-up and a night of nothing but foreplay, they’d be in a hurry to get down to business. But if the shan’fal has taught John one thing, it is patience in moments he would have rushed through before. And this is one of them.
The ceremony was a simple one, and yet no less beautiful than the bigger wedding he and Anna had had. All things considered—and all necessary compromises aside—it was a beautiful blend of Minbari and Human traditions, a completely new celebration of a completely new (and yet not unexpected, judging from the faces of all the people present) union. And now, all that remains is the wedding night.
Delenn is in the tiny bathroom stall, getting ready for the last of the fifty rituals, and John… John can’t help but be a little worried. Sure, he knows his way around a woman’s body just fine, and Delenn didn’t have any complaints during the shan’fal, but, while pleasurable, that was light-years away from what he has in mind for tonight.
Tonight is for more than just exploration. He’s going to show her a world she has yet to discover, introduce her to every sensation imaginable. And if he’s entirely honest, he wouldn’t be surprised if she had a few tricks of her own up her sleeve. Or not sleeve, as it were; the door opens and she stands before him in nothing but a thin, sleeveless gown. A thin, mostly transparent gown. If these were his quarters, John would be sitting down on the bed to compensate for the blood rushing from his head to certain other body parts; here, though, he is reduced to stumbling backwards a step and a half before he catches himself.
Later, he’ll wish he remembered more, but his ability to commit details to memory goes out the metaphorical window with the first step Delenn takes towards him. He’ll remember his fingers tingling, though, tingling with restraint, with want, and the way her eyes shine in the low light, the candles giving her skin a golden glow. He’ll remember going through the same steps they’d begun the shan’fal with, except where there had been meditation during that ritual, there is none now, and she’s rolling him on top of her body before he can so much as blink.
He has already explained to her it might hurt her, he might hurt her—concern she brushed off without giving it a second thought—and he’s infinitely glad now that she was right. There’s no pain on her face or in her eyes, so he lets his movements become more natural, more passionate, urged on by her own body clenching in a way that threatens to undo him long before he’s ready to stop.
Eventually, his relentless assault on Delenn’s senses (his mouth on hers, his teeth against her throat, his tongue around her earlobe, a hand on her breast, fingers drawing maddening circles on her inner thigh) makes her gasp, makes her moan, makes her lose control. She pulls him along over the edge.
Regular breathing isn’t something that comes to them quickly, but John doesn’t mind a bit, not when his wife (his wife) is pressed against him from head to toe. This is the kind of exercise he will never complain about, even if it leaves him utterly spent.
Delenn turns unto her side, propping her head up on an elbow to watch him. For a fleeting second, he considers asking her if she’s alright, but there’s no need; he can tell from the sparkle in her eyes that everything’s okay. More than okay, even.
“So, what are we to do this week?” she asks with a smile.
They do have all week to themselves—no station, no treaties, no distractions. Well, some distractions, he thinks as he follows the line of her collarbone with his eyes. His face breaks into a grin he knows is just devilish enough that he doesn’t need to speak in words. Actions, on the other hand? Oh, he’ll definitely speak in those.
His fingers creep up her legs until she gasps again and her eyes slip shut, hair falling back onto the pillows. If he gets his way, they won’t be doing anything but this for the remainder of their honeymoon. And something tells him Delenn won’t complain a bit.
Chapter 37: they have air-conditioning and you don’t.
thirty-seven: they have air-conditioning and you don’t.
(timeframe’s probably between messages from earth and severed dreams, but with spoilers for neither)
His insistence to personally check out the problem in Green 2 is absolutely in no way related to the fact that a certain ambassador’s quarters are located on that floor of the diplomatic sector. When he resolutely tells Susan exactly that, she just rolls her eyes and says she’ll take over in C&C while he deals with it.
Sure enough, when he arrives in the ambassadorial wing, he can tell straight away something’s wrong, and not just from the sudden rush of warmth. Most of the ambassadors living on the floor are outside their quarters, some complaining quietly, other yelling loudly enough for the entire station to hear. Among the latter is, of course, Londo Mollari, who customarily tries to garner John’s attention. Not that John’s in any way interested in obliging him, no. He has a particular set of quarters in mind, even more so when he doesn’t see her outside in the hallway. After a quick chat with one of the technicians that are already trying to fix the faulty air-recycling and heating units, he rings her door chime and is immediately allowed entry. And there she is, and as always these days, his breath catches a little at the sight of her, poised gracefully on a chair, staring intently at the papers in front of her for another second, before she turns her head to meet his eyes.
Leave it to Delenn to keep working when everybody else is wandering the halls, trying to find somebody to complain to. If the corridor outside were warm, her quarters are sweltering, and judging from the light sheen of sweat on her neck, she must be more than a little uncomfortable in her thick robes, but if she is, she doesn’t show it.
There’s the smile he has already gotten so used to that he’d be alarmed if she didn’t flash it at him whenever they met. He can’t help but grin back, and the moment stretches until he feels like it’s gone on too long, and he should say something now, or she’d think him completely insane. Not that he’s far away from it, with her looking at him like that.
“Umm, the heating unit…” he clears his throat, “the heating unit and the air recycling system seem to be broken.”
“Yes, that seems to be the case,” she deadpans. Is she teasing him?
“And well, it’s going to take a while to get fixed, so you’ll have to relocate, I’m afraid. But the thing is, the same goes for half of Green sector, because the problem’s not just on this level.”
“I see,” she says, that teasing note from a moment ago gone from her voice, and now he fervently wishes it was back.
“We’ve already found accommodations for some of the ambassadors, but a lot of that is in Brown sector, and you really don’t want to live in Brown sector, not even for a day, let alone a week or more, and the only alternative is Blue sector, and that’s too small to hold half of Green sector—,” and when had he started babbling so much? He makes himself stop, take a deep breath, and wait for her answer. It’s not until she looks at him questioningly that he realises he hasn’t even asked her yet.
“So what do you propose?” she gets out before he has a chance to continue his rant.
“Staywithme?” It comes out in a rush, so quickly that he’s sure she can’t have understood him, but from the way her eyes widen, she has, and why did he think this was a good idea again? It’s a bad idea, a very, very bad idea.
Sure, they’d grown closer lately, very close, in fact, but to think she’d take him up on his offer is too presumptuous even for him. But then she smiles again and starts talking, and he’s not listening to a single word. Is she actually saying yes? He scolds himself inwardly for not paying attention, and then offers to escort her to his quarters.
Several hours later, once he’s finally done with his shift that he eventually couldn’t find a reason not to get back to, he arrives in front of his quarters, but instead of going inside, he pauses. Should he just walk in, or should he ring? Announce himself? In his own home? It’s ridiculous, he tells himself, and swipes his identicard.
Not surprisingly, she’s still going over a file or twelve, only this time, she’s on his couch, and there is something about the scene that makes his heart spill over with… With what, Johnny? Come on, say it. Admit to yourself, finally, that you’re in love with her. There, that wasn’t so hard, was it? The thought makes him grin again, and he joins her on the sofa.
“How’s your day been? Find everything you need?”
“Yes, thank you. I am still unsure about this arrangement. Are you certain I will not be in your way?”
They’d talked about this earlier; he had done his best to reassure her that he genuinely wanted her there, and she hadn’t argued much, except for the part where she’d insisted on sleeping on the couch.
“Delenn, it’s fine. Don’t worry about it.”
Polite conversation fills the room for a while, with her occasionally glancing at the paperwork until the hour is too late to pretend any more work will get done tonight, and then, they just talk, talk like they haven’t talked in months. It’s only when they both fail to suppress yet another yawn that John reluctantly calls it a night. Delenn had a blanket delivered from her own quarters, he knows that much, but she still needs a proper pillow, and somewhere in between getting that from his bedroom and helping her set up the couch, the discussion starts again about who should sleep where. Except this time, she’s even more adamant, and he’s really just trying to be a gentleman here, but then it happens, the one sentence he’s been trying to avoid ever since he offered her his quarters in the first place:
“We could share?”
Why? Why did you just say that? She’s the Minbari ambassador, for god’s sake, she probably knows ten different ways to kill you without batting an eyelash for propositioning her like that. And now she’s going to leave, or…
His inner monologue goes on for a while, but then she’s nodding, and he isn’t sure which part she’s agreeing with, the part where he should be castrated or the one where she’s going to slap him and never speak to him again, until it occurs to him that he has never actually spoken any of those aloud. Which only leaves…
It takes every ounce of his willpower not to faint, while he’s simultaneously trying to convince himself she doesn’t mean it that way, that she just wants to sleep (next to him, not with him), and that she probably doesn’t even know the double meaning of what he just suggested, bless her innocent little Minbari soul.
So they move the pillow and blanket back to his room, and he manages not to make a fool out of himself when he offers to step outside for a minute to let her change, and then she’s under her blanket and he is under his, and there’s only a few inches of space between them.
That part of is brain that isn’t completely addled informs him that the situation has a high potential for awkwardness, but the other part, the one that still can’t believe this is actually happening, ignores it and makes him flash her his patented smile, and she’s smiling back, gratitude and something else in her eyes, something he can’t identify. Whatever it is, though, it puts him at ease, until she sits up and leans over, and that’s just too much for any part of his brain to process. But then she’s kissing him, and he’s not sure how or why, and maybe she knew what this was all about the entire time, because suddenly, she doesn’t seem so innocent anymore. No, not innocent at all, is his last coherent thought when she pulls off his boxer shorts.
Chapter 38: because they are from one of the countries you haven’t had sex with a person from.
thirty-eight: because they are from one of the countries you haven’t had sex with a person from.
(set whenever, with a throwback reference to soul mates)
Delenn’s body, he has discovered, is more or less entirely human. Of course, there’s what remains of her bone crest, she doesn’t have eyebrows, and she’s still much stronger than she looks, but those are the only outward remnants of her former self. The rest of her is equal parts wonderfully familiar and frighteningly new.
One major difference, though, doesn’t become apparent until very late in their evolving relationship. He has been careful not to move too quickly, knows she doesn’t have much experience under her belt; and he’s in no rush either way, enjoying every minute spent in her presence. But eventually, in that inevitable sort of way, they end up discovering each other, and with that comes the realisation that she tastes unlike any other woman he has ever known.
He swirls his tongue across her skin, from her ears down her lovely neck, along her collarbone and between her breasts, with a quick detour to nip at either side. Then over the smooth skin of her belly, lapping up a light sheen of sweat. She told him once that she never used to sweat, yet another example in the myriad of ways Humans and Minbari are different. When he moves lower, his goal finally in sight, and blows cool air over her, she arches upward, encouraging, tempting him. It’s another thing he has learned over the past few weeks: to resist that temptation until she’s ready to beg, the wait only making it better for both of them.
If, just a year or even a few months ago, anyone had told him he would fall in love with a Minbari, he would have laughed, and had them committed. He’s not laughing now, his focus is on her and her alone, and any question about obstacles and difficulties were thrown overboard the second her lips touched his, first hesitantly, then with growing confidence when he made it clear to her how much he wanted her, too. Their first kiss led them to a moment just like this, with her dangling on the edge of a precipice she wasn’t sure she wanted to jump over until she did, until he caught her and vowed to himself never to let her go again.
He feels like that now, too, kissing and nibbling, and his favourite part is when he manages to tease not only his name out of her, but also words in her language, words that signal she’s beyond caring about anything other than raw sensation. One day, he’ll learn more Adronato than just the customary greeting, but for now, he’s more than happy to listen to her voice—familiar and yet not, all rounded vowels and rolling R’s. The last word from her lips is always, always his name, though, and he’ll be damned if that doesn’t make his own arousal pick up a notch.
The slide into her body was first so slow, ever mindful of what might happen if he went too fast, but practice has eased the motion, and Delenn meets him halfway in the rhythm they’ve discovered for themselves, from the slow build-up to the thundering crescendo, and when he kisses her again afterwards, she still tastes unlike anyone he’s ever kissed. Sweeter, somehow, and so perfect that he knows he was meant for her and she for him, no matter what obstacles life might throw at them.
Because for all their differences, at least the biology is the same, and the rest… the rest, they’ll figure out in time.
Chapter 39: ‘damn, your calves look good in those cargo shorts’ sex.
thirty-nine: ‘damn, your calves look good in those cargo shorts’ sex.
(set some time after racing mars)
Ritual thirty-seven (or is it thirty-eight? are they already in the forties? he really should start making a list…) apparently involves the female giving the male a piece of clothing. He’s been suspicious ever since she first told him that, envisioning himself in a lace thong with leopard print while Delenn doubles over with laughter. If it really is only Delenn there. The thought makes him gulp; he doesn’t think he could live with the humiliation if he had to wear a lace thong with leopard print in front of a whole group of Minbari, including Lennier. Quickly, he tries to figure out the distance between Delenn’s quarters and the nearest airlock, and whether he can make that run without being seen by half his crew.
Finally in front of her door, he takes one last calming breath, and rings. To his immense relief, there’s nobody in the living room, nobody at all. Nobody at all?
He just heard her order the door open, she has to be around.
“In here, John!” her soft voice drifts through the sliding doors. “Your robe is on the table.”
And sure enough, he sees the little parcel, wrapped in soft yellow paper, even with a little green bow on top. A robe, huh. That doesn’t sound so bad, at least. Taking her words as a sign to put on the garment, he starts taking off his uniform, and slips into the flimsy robe. It’s shorter than his own robes are, barely touching his knees, and made from a material that feels a lot like silk, but looks more like cotton. Slowly, he lets himself get used to the feeling of it on his skin. The apprehension is still there, but it’s not as bad as it was a few minutes ago. Besides, he trusts her. And after the shan’fal, there’s really not much that can shock him anymore.
Walking into her bedroom, he is, yet again, proven wrong. In the back of his mind, he vaguely notices the candles burning everywhere, the soft scene of them in his nose, the way the entire room seems to glow. What he’s really focusing on, though, is her. In all her wonderful, nude glory, spread out on the bed, looking at him from wanton eyes. His first instinct is to crawl all over her, with body, fingers and tongue, and make her forget her own name, but something tells him that that’s not all there is to this ritual, so he remains rooted to the spot, and lets his eyes do the exploring for him.
Her own eyes seem to be fixed to his legs, though it takes him a long time to even notice it, and longer still to figure out why. She’s seen him in shorts before, of course, but never for long, except for that one time during the shan’fal. Maybe his legs have the same effect on her that hers have on him, and her collarbones, her navel, her knees, her breasts… His eyes are darting from one spot to the other now, hands flexing at his side with the effort to keep from touching her, and he can see how much of an effect her own observation of him has. Maybe this is the point of ritual number whatever-it-was. Restraint, appreciation, patience. More like torture, his mind very unhelpfully supplies.
But from the way her entire body seems to be heaving whenever she takes a breath, he’s pretty sure the torture’s about to end. And then he’s going to teach her some restraint of her own.
Chapter 40: called the wrong person but they were into it anyway.
forty: called the wrong person but they were into it anyway.
(set during season five)
She’s still getting ready when he arrives at her quarters, but he doesn’t mind waiting, especially not when it involves watching her put the last touches on her make-up (that she doesn’t need; he’s seen her without it more and more often recently, and the thought still makes him break into his widest grin).
The various utensils eventually discarded, she turns to him, allowing him to appreciate her in all her beauty. Her hair is pinned up, the style reminding him of their first date (he didn’t dare call it a date at the time, but now he thinks the word proudly), and the dress she’s wearing is somewhere between dark red and burgundy. Her cheeks, when he finally looks at her face again, are tinged pink, and his hands clench into fists for a second with the strength it takes him not to reach out to her. She notices, of course she does, and gives him a smile entirely too wicked.
“I, uh,” he clears his throat, “I have a date with the Ambassador.”
“Is that so, Mister President?” She steps closer, deliberately putting his hands on her hips.
“Uh huh.” So soft under his fingers… He would never have thought that fabric could be so distracting. And the way she smells, fresh and clean with that undercurrent of something he has yet to define, that smell that is uniquely hers.
“I am afraid the Ambassador is not here.”
He’s confused for a moment, until he spots her usual robes on a hanger in the open wardrobe, and he pulls her closer, matching the teasing tone in her voice.
“Oh really?” A quick smile shared, he amends his question: “How about my wife? Is she here?”
“Maybe. It depends on what you wish to do with her.”
He leans down slowly, heightening the anticipation, but a split-second before their lips meet, he turns his head and whispers into her ear instead:
“Or what I want to do to her.”
To make his point, he draws her further in, hands on the small of her back, and a suggestive tilt of his hips against hers enough to make her breath catch.
“John, we will be late for dinner.”
It’s a weak admonishment, but he can’t really argue with it. He also can’t resist leaving her with a little something else to think about, though, so he flicks his tongue against her earlobe once.
“I’m the luckiest guy in the world. Any world.”
The faint blush on her cheeks is as adorable now as it was the first time he saw it, and he can’t stop himself from kissing her until they’re both out of breath.
“And maybe I’m getting even luckier tonight.”
Face still flushed, lips red and swollen, she looks so desirable that his head starts to spin, and if they don’t get out of the room this very minute, there will be no stopping him. But they do have a dinner reservation, and he’ll be damned if he’s going to miss out on an opportunity to show off his beautiful wife.
“Maybe we both are,” she replies when he reluctantly lets her go, the double meaning not lost on either of them.
Oh, it will be worth every excruciating second of waiting.
because she looks like your super-hot cousin and this is the closest it’ll ever get to being okay. because a ritual demands it
(set during racing mars, with a spoiler for learning curve | wildcard to replace the original prompt)
This is so not part of the plan. The plan that included spending some time alone with her, perhaps watching a vid, and then, later, both of them wearing no clothes at all, discovering each other’s ‘centres of pleasure’. It certainly did not involve having half her clan around to listen. Pray. Whatever it was they did.
John’s still furious when Delenn pulls him into her bedroom. Seeing her bed doesn’t help matters either. He hasn’t forgotten the way Minbari sleep, but in an effort not to fantasise too much about her when lascivious thoughts were most likely not allowed yet, he had pushed any and all contemplations of what her bedroom might look like to the very back of his mind.
She’s already talking about the ritual and what exactly it entails, and he figures he should start paying attention or else there’s no chance in hell he’ll get laid tonight. Or not so much laid as half standing up, as it were.
For the first time since his arrival, he hears a hint of fear in her voice, as if she doubts his wanting to be there with her. He curses himself inwardly for being an asshole and steals a kiss, quickly, before she’s prepared to ward him off and make him sit through an extra half hour of meditation.
John manages to sufficiently distract her for a few minutes, but then she’s all business, talking him through the ritual as if she’s done it countless times already. (It’s only when they get to the more intimate parts that she actually blushes, which tells him she hasn’t been through any of this before.)
Surprisingly, the meditation is kept to a minimum, or maybe he had just expected to spend more time staring at a candle than staring at her. Not that he’s complaining. No, not when he gets to undress her, and certainly not when she finds the first five pleasure centres on his body. After that, everything turns into a blur of sensations that are so overwhelming it makes him forget completely about her clan members outside. He hasn’t felt this level of intimacy ever, not with Anna, certainly not with Elizabeth. Maybe the Minbari really do have a point with their rituals.
Either way, here’s one of the fifty he will never complain about again.
...yeahhhh. There was simply no way I could make that original prompt work. a) It's John. And b) It's Delenn. Nuff said.
Chapter 42: breaking in a new apartment.
forty-two: breaking in a new apartment.
(set right after the final scene in objects at rest)
When she told him, five minutes ago, to ‘get some sleep’, he’s pretty sure she was still convinced they’d actually be, well, sleeping. But it’s their first night on Minbar, their first night in their new home, and while he hasn’t yet officially introduced her to the human custom of christening every room after moving into a new house, he plans on starting tonight. Right here on this bed—tilted, firm mattress and all.
Her robe lies discarded over the back of a chair, and he throws his hastily on top so he can join her under the thin covers. Minbar is a cold planet, and even though the room is warm enough to sleep without covers at all, he likes the feeling of lying under the soft fabric, especially when he’s got his beautiful wife so close.
Running his hands over the smooth skin of her legs—such a contrast to the sheets—, he’s glad he doesn’t need an excuse to touch her. Not that he’s ever needed one, not even before they got married, not even before they first kissed, when he’d still fumbled inside his own head to find a reason not to.
His mouth finds hers, and her response is immediate. Seems she wasn’t interested in sleep either, belying her earlier words. Their clothes fall to the floor as he moves above her with a single-minded purpose, and she keeps her eyes open as long as she can, until they droop and she gives up all effort to look at him. He can’t stop touching her legs, and draws up her knees until they wrap firmly around his waist.
All things considered, it’s the best first night he’s ever had in a new place.
Chapter 43: because they say they love you and you’re not ready to say it back.
forty-three: because they say they love you and you’re not ready to say it back.
(set shortly before confessions and lamentations)
Delenn had told him she had come by to invite him to dinner, some ritual affair between him, herself, and Lennier, and he had of course accepted, and then she’d asked him how he was holding up, and somehow, things had spiralled out of control from there.
Yes, he’s still annoyed at her and Kosh for keeping him in the dark about Anna for such a long time, but he also knows why they did it, logically speaking, and maybe this was the last piece he needed to finally put the memory of Anna to rest. Which still doesn’t explain how he’s now in bed with Delenn, breathing only very slowly returning to normal, but there hasn’t been a moment of this whole evening that hasn’t felt completely right.
He runs his hand up and down her back while she snuggles closer, seeming completely at peace with what happened between them, and when she sighs contentedly, he’s suddenly sure every chance of either of them regretting this is shot out the window. They stay like that for a long time, not ready to go to sleep and yet unwilling to talk about this whole thing, until she breaks the silence in the most unexpected way.
“I love you,” she whispers against his chest, and he swears his heart does a little jump. But there’s also the ache that still reminds him of the last time somebody told him that, the subtle pain that will always be there when he thinks of Anna. She was the last woman he loved, the only woman he ever really loved, before he met Delenn. Delenn, the woman he loves now, and he knows it, and she knows it, too, had probably known it before he first admitted it to himself, but when he tries to open his mouth to respond, no words are forthcoming. He wants to tell her how much she means to him, wants to desperately, but only a few weeks after finding out what really happened to Anna, his emotions are still too raw to say it back. There are other ways of letting her know, though, and he shows her instead, with his mouth and hands and body, leaving no doubt whatsoever in her mind.
Chapter 44: wingman diving on the best friend grenade.
forty-four: wingman diving on the best friend grenade.
“Here, drink this. It’ll numb the pain,” Susan says in that dry tone of hers, and shoves a glass of something clear and clearly alcoholic into his hands.
How he has ended up here, exactly, he isn’t quite sure of. It had all started a few days earlier, with something Susan said. Come to think of it, she’s the reason he’s here now. She made him dress up, and come to this ridiculous place to have drinks with her. And Marcus. As if that wasn’t weird enough, the music in the background makes his hair stand on end.
But then everything grows quiet, almost as though an inner silence has fallen on him, and he sees her making her way cautiously through the throng of people towards their little table. Before he has a chance to ask, Susan murmurs: “Oh, yeah, and I invited Delenn.”
Suddenly, he has the nagging feeling that this is a set-up, maybe even a double-date of some kind. He’s seen the way Marcus looks at Susan; he just didn’t think she was interested. Apparently, he was wrong. But why would she invite Delenn of all people?
Two drinks and thirty awkward minutes later, Marcus is almost hanging on Susan’s arm, his face reminding John of a lost puppy that just wants to impress its master. Susan is no longer as oblivious as she usually likes to make herself appear, the vodka she’s been throwing down without a blink weakening her defences a little. And Delenn… She’s nursing what must still be her first glass of… something. Definitely something non-alcoholic, but it doesn’t smell like juice, at least not from where he’s sitting. Not that he’s been trying to stealthily scoot closer to her or anything.
How he has managed to capture and keep her attention for this long simply by talking, he’ll never figure out, but she’s still listening to him go on and on about that incident where he had accidentally pushed a five-year old Lizzie so hard on the swings in their garden that she had fallen off, but instead of crying, she had jumped back up and shouted at him to do it again. Delenn’s laughing now, and it’s such a beautiful sound that it makes him want to make her laugh forever. Even if it means making a fool out of himself in front of her. Somehow, he doesn’t think he’d mind a bit.
The music gets more obnoxious after the clock strikes ten, and John has the stupid urge to press his luck. He leans over and whispers into Delenn’s ear.
“Let’s get out of here.”
She looks like she wants to say yes, but her eyes flicker towards Susan. It takes him a minute to understand, but meeting Susan’s eyes, he can tell she won’t complain if they make their exit now.
“It’s okay, Delenn. Ivanova won’t mind. She’s busy. Look.”
He tilts his head and she follows his gaze, finding Susan and Marcus already all over each other. If they don’t leave soon, he’ll have to bring his second in command up on charges of public indecency. Next to him, Delenn nods almost imperceptibly, so he grabs her hand and guides her out of the bar.
In the brightly lit hallway, he gets the first good look at her face all evening, and her cheeks are flushed, a fact that intrigues him far more than it should. Her eyes are darker than usual, too, and suddenly, he knows exactly what she’s thinking about, and he can’t suppress the desire to kiss her any longer. Thank god his quarters are only a short walk away.
He’d started the evening cursing Ivanova for dragging him along. Tomorrow, he thinks as he pulls off Delenn’s robes, he’ll have to give her a promotion.
Chapter 45: your condoms are about to expire.
forty-five: your condoms are about to expire.
(set in season five)
Moving in with her, just like getting married to her, has brought about many a revelation. He hasn’t shared his life this intimately with anyone in years, and she has never before experienced the pleasures—and drawbacks—of living together. Keeping their belongings separate for the time being has helped avoid the inevitable conflict that comes with settling into a place together, although sometimes he thinks he wouldn’t mind throwing out all his old stuff to have her by his side and in his bed every day and every night. Soon.
They have enough to do during the day that they rarely end up in each other’s quarters alone, and when they’re at her place, he doesn’t really spend much time looking at the decor. He suspects the same to be true for her and his own furniture, and while he gave her a blanket permission to consider his quarters her own, including all of the things inside it, she has never pried into his belongings.
Which is why finding her staring at his old wooden chest from the bed one evening is one of the more surprising moments of his life. She’s fingering something synthetic that crunches slightly in her hands, and her eyes are fixed on the box at the foot of his bed.
He gives her a peck on the cheek, letting his eyes wander appreciatively over her form clad only in a nightgown, and quickly changes out of his suit. Slipping under the covers, he notices she’s still not looking at him, a frown on her face.
“Delenn, are you okay?”
She nods, but doesn’t reply, doesn’t take her fingers off the little plastic squares. Little black plastic squares… that he hasn’t seen in a long, long time.
Later, he’ll swear it wasn’t a squeak, but it sure sounded like one just now.
“I found these when I was looking for a towel earlier.”
Momentarily distracted, he replies:
“Oh, sorry. I only have one.” Yet another thing he’ll have to get used to. “I’ll get another one for you tomorrow.”
“Thank you.” A brief smile, but behind it, he can see just how curious she is.
“Okay, out with it,” he finally faces the discussion he really didn’t think he’d ever have. At least not after the first time, when his father had taken him aside and explained to him all about the birds and the bees. “How much do you know?”
To assume she’d found them and not done any research on her own would be as foolish as thinking she’d give up before getting every tiny bit of information out of him.
“I searched the database for these ‘condoms’,” hearing her wrap her tongue around the unfamiliar word really shouldn’t be so adorable, “and I read that they are used to prevent pregnancy among your people.”
He nods, “Among other things, yes. Actually, they’re a very old method of contraception, and they’re definitely not the safest one there is. Today, there’s a lot of stuff that women can have implanted, or they can get regular shots, and that is much more reliable than condoms. But they do have one benefit that none of the chemical contraceptives have: They also don’t let any diseases through. You’d think they would’ve come up with something better in all those centuries, but it still seems to be the most effective way to prevent infection.”
She has been listening intently, but the frown is still on her face, and he can guess why.
“Franklin always hands them out during physicals, to everyone. I guess I threw them in there,” he points toward the old chest, “the last time he did. Completely forgot about them. They might be expired already, let me see.”
Stealing one from her, he peers at the date stamp. Still good, but barely.
The skin on her forehead finally softens, but when she looks at him again after another glance at the plastic squares in front of her, there’s something new in her eyes, something dark and predatory and entirely too wicked. The question she asks then doesn’t surprise him in the slightest, but he still has to swallow around the sudden lump in his throat.
“And how are they used?”
“Well… The man puts them on right before… right before he makes love to his beautiful wife.”
If her inquisitive nature so far has been endearing, the look on her face now makes him shiver all over, and he can’t not kiss her. He has somehow known from the second he realised what she was holding in her hands that she’d want to try them out, even if they don’t need them, even if only to satisfy her curiosity. He’s not usually a fan of condoms (who ever really is?), but he’s more than willing to oblige her. Especially if she keeps doing that with her teeth somewhere between his ear and neck, he thinks with a groan. And once he teaches her how to roll it on him, her hand squeezing and releasing slowly while his breath catches audibly, all negative feelings he’d ever had towards that little piece of rubber are forgotten.
Chapter 46: it’s getting a little hard.
Okay, for this one, I have to say that my beta, the wonderful Shannon, said I should get rid of the italics, but I couldn’t find a way to make it work without them, so if you find them weird, mea culpa.
forty-six: it’s getting a little hard.
John had only come to her quarters to discuss… what had it been? Some problem of minor importance that she no longer remembers. And now… Now he is lying on her couch. Which would not be too much of a problem, if she was not also lying on her couch. On top of him, as it were.
“Come in,” she greets him. “Would you like some tea, Captain?”
The smile lights up his face, makes the skin around his eyes crinkle adorably, and if her only purpose in life could be to make him smile like this, she would be alright with that.
She hasn’t actually heard him speak, has been too distracted, but she assumes he said yes and ushers him away from the papers on the table to the couch. Surely, being comfortable would help them think more clearly. And if they happen to sit a little more closely together than necessary, neither of them makes a mention of it.
Fifteen minutes later, the tea sits untouched on the table, growing cold in their cups, but she doesn’t mind. He’s telling her a story, something from his childhood that she’ll ask him to tell her again later. Because she’s not paying attention to anything but his eyes now, and his hands, his mouth. She knows what they all feel like now, focused on her, running along her side, moving over her lips, and she’s read about what the Humans call ‘addiction’. It’s a little like that, she thinks, and laughs with him at what must be the end of his story. Then she leans in, no pretence, and chases his mouth with hers. He is easily caught.
They have been here before, at this precipice. A week ago, he was getting ready to go back to his quarters after walking her home, and he kissed her until they both were out of breath. She almost asked him to stay then, only just caught herself in time. Three days later, they had been in his quarters, kissing only for a little while, when his hands found their way into the folds of her robe and hers under his shirt. They were interrupted by the insistent beeping of John’s link before they went any further, but he still shot her a look that made her toes curl before moving her off his lap.
Now, they’re at the same crossroads; their only choices to end this now, or continue. And the truth is that it is getting harder and harder to stop. He feels the same way, she thinks when he drags his mouth away from hers and carefully pushes her away a little until he can look at her face. She shouldn’t do this, she knows, there is an order to observe, rituals to go through, but she’s half Human now and her body won’t often listen to reason. And her heart… Her heart is surer of this than of everything else, and there really isn’t a choice to be made. The new resolve must show on her face, because she can feel him suck in a breath, and then she’s kissing him again.
“Are you sure?” he gasps against her lips when she starts unbuttoning his shirt.
“Do you want to stop?” she teases, prompting a breathless laugh.
“Hell no! I’m not sure I even could.”
She rids him of his shirt easily, but the pants are much more difficult, mostly because she doesn’t want to move away from him. Not when she can kiss him like this, arms around his neck, fingers tracing circles on his upper back. Not when she can feel him against her, all of him, thick and hard even through the layers, and instinct tells her to grind down. A strangled sound escapes his throat; he pushes her off him and onto her back, and for a moment she thinks she did something wrong, but his hands are making quick work of the fasteners on her robe. She finds herself thinking a little guiltily that maybe Humans have a point with their lack of fanfare and ritual, and then, when he runs his tongue along her collarbone and down, down, everything else ceases to matter.
Chapter 47: miscommunication.
I am sure this has been done, but gdi I couldn’t come up with another good ‘miscommunication’ that would’ve worked. Innuendo is not my forte, apparently.
(early-ish to mid-season five)
When John, after a long day of President-ing, comes home to his quarters, the only thing he wants is to snuggle up in bed with his wife. Well, and perhaps some flarn before that, if they have any left. Even a hot bath sounds heavenly right about now, and he’s always been a shower person. Anything after the day he’s had. But really, if he only gets to snuggle up with Delenn, he won’t even need anything else.
It’s late, and he expects her to be in bed already, vaguely hoping she’s not yet asleep. The last thing he expects is finding her on his couch, still in her pink-and-purple set of robes—the ones that he likes so much that she sometimes wears them just for him—, even still wearing one shoe. The other one must have dropped to the ground when she unceremoniously fell asleep over what he’s sure is absolutely riveting paperwork.
Delenn looks paler than usual; she’s been working too hard. He makes a mental note to subtly suggest to her to take a day or two off next week. Maybe he can even sneak away early from a meeting or two and keep her company. First things first, though, he picks her up, carries her into the bedroom. It’s a good thing she wakes up, no matter how careful he is, because she really should get out of those robes.
“Shh, I’m here. You fell asleep.”
She looks up at him from tired eyes, but the smile’s there, the one that she reserves only for him, and he’s again overcome by how much he truly loves her.
“Come on, let’s get you out of that,” he says, already unclasping her outer robe, when she stops him.
“I will do it. You go change as well.”
Well, he is tired, but then again, he’ll never willingly miss out on an opportunity to undress Delenn. She shoos him away eventually, and he makes quick work of his own suit. She has finished changing by the time he comes out of the bathroom, and the disappointed frown on his face makes her laugh.
They’re both no longer as exhausted as they were five minutes ago. Sometimes, he still marvels at that effect they have on each other—and oftentimes, he still marvels at how lucky he really is.
“Go on,” he points vaguely toward the bed. “Time to call it a night.”
But she’s not getting in, not sliding underneath the covers; she still stands, looking distracted. Something isn’t right.
“I have kinks.”
In all fairness, most of the time, he gets what she’s talking about. But he’s tired, dammit, and she caught him completely off-guard, so when the words reach his brain, it takes him a while longer than usual to sort through them. At least he didn’t splutter, or swallow his own tongue from sheer excitement—which he may very well have done had he been fully awake.
“Uhhhh. Uh.” He sure hopes this loss of all brain function isn’t permanent. “Okay. Do you… Do you want to talk about this now?”
“Yes, now.” Her own forehead is furrowed now, probably a passable imitation of his, minus the eyebrows. “Should I not ask you to help me with this?”
“Well, I sure as hell hope you don’t ask anyone else!” he replies, a bit too forcefully perhaps, because the frown deepens.
“I have kinks, John,” she says again, more slowly this time, and he’ll be damned if the images suddenly bombarding his brain don’t make breathing next to impossible.
“In my back. They are quite painful.”
A tiny part of him is disappointed. It’s not like they need kinks to make things more interesting, not at all, but there are a couple he can think of that he wouldn’t mind trying out.
Delenn’s looking up at him expectantly, and he remembers he’s supposed to help her with her… kinks. John can’t help the little laugh that escapes. She wants to ask him what that was about, he can tell, but because kinks are something he doesn’t want to explain to her right now, he turns her around and lays her down on the bed.
The shoulder straps of her nightgown are no obstacle at all, and the rest of the fabric gets shoved down as his fingers start digging into her skin. John can feel the muscles loosening, the knots turning softer and softer and then disappear on slightly breathy moans from Delenn. Once he thinks he got them all and Delenn is completely relaxed beneath him, he runs his hands up and down her back a few times, no longer massaging, just feeling the warmth of her body.
John leans down and murmurs into her ear: “Kinks, huh?”
As if in reply, she turns and catches his mouth with hers. Maybe he’s not that tired, after all.
Chapter 48: to reinforce good behaviour.
forty-eight: to reinforce good behaviour.
(set early in season five, though let’s just pretend they’ve been sleeping together a while longer, okay?)
The week is already shaping up to be one of the more taxing weeks of their lives, Delenn thinks. And it is only Tuesday. Both John’s schedule and hers are filled with meetings for the next four days, mostly administrative matters that inevitably occur with the creation of something as big and as meaningful as the Alliance. She is proud of what they have accomplished, of course, but that does not mean she has to like the meetings. She knows John doesn’t, but she also knows she hides it far better than he does.
She can see it, right now. Can see how bored he is, how close to calling for a break just so he can put himself together again, and… yes, there it is, the yawn, quickly stifled, but she has seen it on him more often than she can count—long before they were married, even before she first admitted to herself she had come to care for him as more than a friend. Back then, it almost made her laugh silently to herself, amused that he couldn’t hide his obvious disinterest. He caught her watching him with that smile still on her face once or twice, and something passed between them then, a feeling of companionship, of not being alone on this crazy and wonderful station.
It is different now, though. They are no longer just representatives of their respective governments; they are the government, and John as their leader must not look bored in what is only the second of six meetings today. She has already spoken to him about this, but he was distracted then, as he often tends to be when she brings up matters of this nature. Clearly, she has to find another way to impress on him the importance of his position and what exactly it entails.
Ten minutes later, she sees his attention drift yet again, and decides to call for a break herself. He doesn’t even look up at her in concern, and that tells her all she needs to know.
The delegates leave the conference room rather quickly, making it obvious that she and John are not the only ones who find these meetings tedious. She waits until they have all left.
“What is wrong?”
“Ah, I didn’t sleep well last night,” he admits, running a hand over his face.
“Why did you not wake me up?”
“So both of us would be tired today?”
That is not the point, and they both know it. They both sometimes have trouble sleeping; they
have demons to fight, together and individually. But even if there is something they cannot share, they have always helped each other as best as they could. Delenn tries not to feel hurt that he will not let her help with this. But she decides now is not the time for an admonishment.
“Tonight, if you are unable to sleep, wake me. I will think of something.”
For a moment, he looks like he wants to protest, probably expecting to be taught a meditation technique to help him sleep, so she looks at him, lets him see the twinkle in her eyes, and recognise it for what it means. No, meditation is not what she has in mind at all.
“And if you manage to get through this meeting without offending anyone by looking as uninterested in their opinions as you did just now,” she adds, seizing the opportunity, and bends down to whisper the rest of the sentence into his ear. He goes rigid for a moment, sucking in a breath, and then exhales loudly.
“You’ll do that?” he asks with the kind of broad grin she hasn’t seen on him in far too long. “Really?”
“Yes,” she can’t help but smile back, but quickly schools her face into a more neutral expression again. “Are you ready to continue the meeting?”
John does not give it a moment’s thought: “Hell yeah. Let’s start! The sooner we get this over with, the sooner we can get back to our quarters.”
Her suggestion seems to have lifted his spirits, as the humans say, and Delenn silently thanks the universe for giving her a chance to cheer up her husband. Not that she is not also looking forward to the end of the day, now more so than ever.
Chapter 49: to change the subject.
forty-nine: to change the subject.
(set more or less directly after atonement)
“Delenn. Are you ever gonna tell me why you went to Minbar?”
It is the third time John has asked her that question since she got back. During the first, she simply pretended not to hear, and then distracted him with questions of her own, about the station and what had happened in her absence. The second was not as easily averted, but she managed, if only with Lennier’s arrival at a very convenient moment. She is quickly running out of excuses, though, and she knows that once John has set his mind to something, he will not give up.
Delenn considers ignoring him again, but the set of his jaw reminds her of the many late nights spent in the War Room, bent over star charts and attack plans. She remembers being incapable of distracting him often, back then. But she also did not have the same resources then that she has now. She turns to take off her outer robe, delaying the inevitable for a few precious seconds. There is much to consider, but her clan has already sanctioned their union, and while they will still need to complete all the rituals, nobody would dare oppose them anymore, not in this.
The excuse is a fairly weak one and would not hold long even under her own scrutiny, but for once in her life, she gives no thought to duty and honour.
Decision made, she turns to him, takes his hand, and leads him to the bedroom. The time for questions is over. Tomorrow, he will ask again, and she will have to tell him. But tonight, they’ll have the reunion she has been dreaming off ever since she left Minbar.
Chapter 50: for love.
fifty: for love.
(set mid-season five, with a spoiler for wheel of fire)
John really shouldn’t have trouble remembering the last time they had peace and quiet enough to just enjoy each other on such a basic, physical level. It has been too long. (It’s always too long—five weeks, five days, or five hours.) But between this wretched telepath business and running the Alliance, he counts himself lucky whenever he manages to get home a few minutes before Delenn is fast asleep in the evening.
He almost missed the window today, too; only just made it into his quarters before Lochley’s shift ended and she undoubtedly would have cornered him with yet another emergency. If things keep going like this, he’ll have to put his foot down.
But why is he still thinking about that now? He’s got his wife right here, arching her back deliciously underneath him, a moan escaping on each slow thrust. Delenn’s upper body is covered with a light sheen of sweat (probably more his than hers), skin glistening in the candle light, and he runs his hand all the way from her neck down to where they are joined.
If anyone had told him just two years ago he’d ever be this happy again, he wouldn’t have believed it. And yet, somehow, in the space of these two years, he has fallen in love with the most beautiful, miraculous woman on either side of the rim. A flush is spreading over her body, he can feel the heat from every pore. It won’t be long now.
When he shifts his hips a mere fraction of an inch, her eyes fall close and she moans his name, a sound he’ll never tire of as long as he lives. Quiet urgency quickens their movements, and the sight of her tumbling over the edge is worth every second of every day they’ve had to wait for this.
“I love you,” he mumbles into her ear, waiting for her eyes to open again and to meet his, waiting until she’s completely and utterly spent, and only then allows himself the release he’s been working so hard to hold off.
In the afterglow, Delenn holds him so tightly with arms and legs slung around him he thinks she’ll never let go again—now there’s an idea he could definitely get behind. He hasn’t been this content in years, if ever, so he repeats the earlier sentiment, his tone more serious now, less driven by lust and more by love.
“I love you, too,” she replies, still a little out of breath, and pulls him impossibly closer. They won’t fall asleep like that, but they’re in no rush to separate their bodies either.
Meanwhile, unbeknownst to them, a new life has been sown, proof of the love between them and of the universe’s infinite power.