Disclaimer: I don't own anything, I'm just borrowing things for a while and I promise I'll put everything back exactly how I found it when I've finished. Well, almost exactly how I found it. ;)
Delenn is worried. Sheridan tells her she's over reacting. Says there's nothing to be concerned about. Says nothing's going on, and even if it is, it's their business. They're both adults, they can take care of themselves. Delenn knows he is right in many ways, but wrong in many others. But to tell him this wouldn't do any good. He would listen, of course, he always listens, but he does not hear. Delenn thinks so much time spent with Kosh would have cured Sheridan of that, but obviously not.
One of the people she is concerned about passes her in the corridor. Gives her a smile that doesn't reach his eyes. Nods in greeting. Says hello. Carries on. Normally he would have stopped, chatted for a while. Tried to teach her some new obscure human thing. Would have noticed the worry in her eyes. Asked her what was wrong. After all, it's his job to notice things, to see what others don't. Delenn knows that normally, nothing would get passed him.
But things haven't been normal for some time now. Delenn can see it. She's sure she isn't the only one. Perhaps G'Kar has noticed something amiss, but then again, perhaps not. Franklin would have, but Delenn suspects he has his own problems which are blinding him to the plight of his friends. And Sheridan…. Delenn cares for the man a great deal, but being honest with herself, she knows Sheridan wouldn't notice if the planet beneath them exploded. He is so focussed, so determined, on what he is doing, on what has to be done, that he fails to see what is right in front of him. Delenn knows no amount of talking will change that either. She knows because she has already tried.
Yet Sheridan isn't as blind as Delenn believes. He has seen what she has seen. He understands what is causing her concern. But through his eyes, the situation looks a little differently. Yes, he has noticed how different the two officers are when they're together, and how they act when no one is looking. He knows what drew them together, but he doesn't quite understand what is keeping them from separating. He supposes he should. He understands loss better than most. But there's something odd about the way his friends are conducting themselves. It's not the relationship, if that's what it's called, that bothers Sheridan. It's the change in the colleagues themselves. They look no happier, no less lost, than they did before. Some days seem worse than others. He doesn't quite know when it all started. He does know it's been quite a while, yet they still don't seem to have figured out what they're doing.
The other contributor to Delenn's cause for concern nods curtly to Sheridan as he enters the observation dome. Greets him by his rank. No change there. Gives him an updated report on what has been happening. No change there either. Then nods again, turns on her heel, and walks straight out. Not lingering for any idle chitchat. Not looking for an excuse to stay because she is a workaholic. Just gone. That is a big change, and Sheridan frowns. Wonders what to do about the problem which has just suddenly become a problem. Comes up with the same answer as before. Not much he can do. They're both adults. They can take care of themselves.
Ivanova saw the look in Sheridan's eyes. Saw the question that burned there. The question that always seemed to burn there, but was never voiced. She wanted to tell him not to worry, that she did know what she was doing. That they both did. But the words never made it past her lips. The doubt was always there. *Did* they really know what they were doing? Or were they both just clinging to something because it was better than being alone? She knew how it had started, knew why she had been drawn to him, and him to her. They had shared many things during their short acquaintance, but nothing as strong as their feelings for one woman.
Garibaldi had noticed the expression on Delenn's face. Had noticed the worry etched into every line on her smooth face. Knew it was over him as well. Him and Ivanova. Hell, he had even seen the same expression on Sheridan's face, although he doubted Delenn knew that. Everyone thought Sheridan was blind. Everyone thought Delenn saw all. Only Garibaldi knew that neither statement was true. It was just a shame that those two didn't know it. He knew they thought what was happening was wrong in some way. Thought that two damaged souls had clung to each other, compounding the problem. Sometimes he knew Ivanova thought that too. Thought he was using her as a substitute for someone else. But only Garibaldi seemed to know the truth.
It had started innocently. Talia's change - he shied away from the word 'deception' as none of it was her fault - had shocked them all to a greater or lesser degree. Sheridan, Franklin took the lesser. Garibaldi and Ivanova had shared the greater. Ivanova had been in the casino, drinking alone. Garibaldi had sat near her, not joining her. She needed space, he could see, so he gave it to her. Wasn't prepared for the conversation that followed. Wasn't prepared for the admission from her, though when he thought back, he knew he shouldn't have been surprised. Wasn't prepared for the admission from himself either. Didn't know what to expect, but certainly didn't expect what happened. Ended up in her quarters. Ended up in bed. Woke up the morning, dismissed it as a mistake, and didn't speak about it.
Until a few days later. Same thing happened again. Met in the casino. Talked. Went back to his quarters this time. Ended up in bed. It became a holding pattern for them. Ivanova had loved Talia. Garibaldi had loved Talia. Now she was gone, but they still had each other. Was it possible that their love for the same woman could make them love each other? They were already friends. Had already shared a lot. Already knew they liked each other as friends. Was that enough to start a relationship on?
Delenn obviously didn't think so, but Garibaldi wondered if she truly understood what was going on. Sheridan didn't think so. Garibaldi knew he might understand if it was explained to him. If he could be persuaded to listen for more than a minute. And Ivanova…. Garibaldi didn't know what she thought.
Ivanova takes her jacket off and throws it on the couch. Puts her hand on the back of her neck. Notices the ugly knot of tense muscle there. Wonders if Michael will give her a massage when he arrives. Stops. Freezes, in fact. Michael. Not Garibaldi. Not *him.* Michael. Ivanova is silent for a moment, then starts to laugh. After all, there's nothing else for it. The question that has been running around her head for months now, the question that has demanded an answer for as long, has just answered itself. She wondered what they had been doing. Wondered what Michael thought about it all. Didn't give a damn what the rest thought. Lately Ivanova had started to think that there was more to what they were doing that finding simple comfort after they had both lost Talia. Lately, she *had started to believe.* And for Ivanova, that was nothing short of a miracle.
Turns when she hears the chimes to the door. Tells whoever it is to enter. Smile is genuine when she sees who it is. Doesn't even wait for the door to close before she closes the distance, pulls his head down, and kisses him. So many things are said in that kiss. When they part, words aren't really necessary. Ivanova watches Garibaldi's face as the emotions flit one after another across it. Like watching a conga line. Remembers him telling her about the chorus line of purple wombats. Laughs a little. Has no way of actually putting into words her decision. Stares into his eyes and realises she doesn't have to. Takes his face in her hands with infinite tenderness. Almost cries when he does the same to her. In that moment, both understand. It's not about comfort any more. It's not about Talia, or filling any sort of void. It's about them two. About a new beginning, and maybe a chance for happiness.
Garibaldi takes the link off his hand, then removes Ivanova's. Throws them on the table. Grins and drags her towards the bedroom. Some time later, both here their links going off. Both hear Sheridan's exasperated and frustrated summons. Both ignore him. They know he'll get over it.