Lennier ran. He ran as far and as fast as he could go, until he was far away from Minbar, from Earth, from Centauri Prime. He ran until there were no Rangers and no Alliance. He could not bring himself to run so far that Delenn would never be in the news, but he went far enough that Minbari were rare.
He lost himself in manual labour on a succession of small outposts and colony worlds. He took the hard jobs and the dangerous jobs, and tried not to think.
One night in a bar, as he nursed something sickly green and non-alcoholic and tried to blend in, he ran into a human. The man moved like Marcus. But every human he saw now reminded him of Marcus, unless they reminded him of Sheridan. Marcus was better.
"You look like you have a brain," the man said. "What are you doing out here on the ass-end of nowhere?"
"What are you doing here?" Lennier countered.
"Staying the fuck out of the way of wars," said the man. "You a vet?"
"I was in the Shadow War," said Lennier. It was generic enough an answer.
The man looked at him with new respect. "Heard that was pretty messed up."
"You have no idea."
The man grunted. "What'd you do, then?"
"I was a pilot." It wasn't a lie, really, though somehow he thought this man knew nothing of White Stars.
"Huh," said the man. He called for another drink. "Well, like I said, you look like you got some brains. If you ever want a job, look me up. I run a cargo line between here and some of the Narn colonies. Always need pilots."
Lennier shook his head. "Thank you for the offer. But it is not likely."
The man shrugged. "Suit yourself." He passed Lennier his card. "In case you change your mind."
On the way back to his temporary quarters, Lennier heard singing. It was a haunting, flowing melody, beautiful even in the terrible acoustics of the low-rent sector. He stopped at the edge of the ragged crowd gathered around the singer. The echoes made the words hard to hear, but he thought it was a language he recognized.
Sure enough, the singer turned out to be human. Lennier started to turn away--two people of the same familiar race in one day was too much. But the singer caught his eye and he thought he might at least speak to her about the song, and get something to puzzle over during his long mindless workday tomorrow.
"Will you tell me about your song?" he asked.
The singer wrapped herself in a warm dark coat. She folded away her music. "It's an old Earth hymn by a very famous poet-king."
"What is it about?"
"There was a king thousands of years ago named David who was famous for his music. He was loved by his people and it's said that he was close to his god. But this hymn is about a time he was looking for redemption."
"I see why you would sing it here."
The singer nodded. "See, he killed a man. Well, he wanted this guy's wife, so he slept with her and then he had her husband killed. And then his conscience caught up with him. So in this song, he pleads with his god to forgive him. 'Do not cast me away from your presence,' he says. 'Wash away my sins. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have broken rejoice.'"
Lennier stared at her. "And what happened?"
She shrugged. "I don't know. He had a lot of troubles later in his life. But three thousand years later we remember him for his music."
"Minbari do not have gods," said Lennier. "That does not mean we do not have sins, or that we do not worship."
He could feel the singer's eyes on him as he left for his quarters. The single room was small, and the bed was all wrong. He'd managed to tilt it slightly, but only by jamming his travelling bags under the upper end.
He was restless, and after supper he dug out the small communications unit he kept at the bottom of his travelling case. For a premium, he'd been able to get ISN news recordings and even some written news from Minbar. He had been saving the last data crystal for a few weeks now, waiting for a night like tonight when he couldn't put off the need for connection to home any longer.
He snapped the viewer on.
--by the Martian government. In related news, Interstellar Alliance President John Sheridan and his wife Delenn announced the birth of a son this week, David Jeffrey Sheridan. Mother and child are resting well in the Minbari city of Tuzan--
Lennier froze the feed. No. No, no. He'd known, of course, that she was having a child. But to hear it like this, as if it were all Sheridan's doing, made him clench his hands. Her son ought to have a Minbari name, though why Lennier had ever thought he would was beyond him.
Instead, she'd named him after his father's family. She'd--
She'd named her son David.
Delenn announced the birth of a son this week, David Jeffrey--
Delenn did not do such things by accident. She would have looked up the meaning of her son's name.
Do not cast me from your presence. Let me hear joy and gladness. Wash away my sins.
Lennier put his head in his hands. He realized he was weeping.
Early the next morning he was at the address on the cargo runner's card. "What changed your mind?" the man asked.
"I have decided to stop running," said Lennier.