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Burial Rights

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Neroon never asked her once why she had done it. He told her she had no right; he hated her for using her authority to deny his own right to grieve, and the warrior caste's. Not a year later, he paid her back by replacing her in the Grey Council and taking the mantle of her old arrogance on him at the same time. Two years after that, they were allies desperately trying to save their people, and still he did not ask. It remained unuttered when he died the death she had chosen as her own atonement for splitting their people in two.

Unasked, the question never left Delenn, in the way the other unasked questions haunted her, more than the ones anyone had actually asked. "What did you do in the war?" was John's silent question, and she never even knew whether he was aware that she saw it flickering in his eyes now and then. "Do you love me?" was the question Lennier never would pose, had not asked even when they had both believed death to be imminent. For Neroon, the question was about Brammer.

"You see," she told Neroon after his death, meditating in silence, "it had been my fault. He led our forces. He killed the humans, thousands of them, and he would have been the one to carry out our order to destroy Earth. I did that to him, for he would have never converted to your caste if not for our Holy War, and he would never, ever have been in the position to taste the death of millions if I had not called for that death to begin with. He was a man of peace, and I did this to him."

"Delenn," said the Neroon in her mind, who sometimes could be as surprising as the real one had been, "once more, you presume too much. He made his own choices, as did I. He did not leave the religious caste because of you, nor I the warrior caste. We both did it for our people."

"I took his death from you," she mused. "You took my death from me. But why did you never ask me?"

"I asked you each time we met," Neroon's voice told her and then fell silent, leaving her imagination bereft of anything else to say. He was dead, and no matter how often she pondered the past, she would not be able to change it. She had felt his ashes in her hand, as she had felt Brammer's, and they had left her fingers to mingle with the air and earth of Minbar.

The fate of her own body did not concern Delenn much; still, now and then she wondered whether she would finally be permitted to dissolve into ashes as well, or whether some ill-advised being, human or Minbari, would find other uses for what would be left of her once her soul was free to seek rebirth.

But then, that was her own unasked question.