Eternity in a Moment
Warnings: AU, character death, romance
Summary: AU to The Fall of Centauri Prime. What if the Centauri ships hadn't arrived?
Disclaimer: Belongs to JMS, who'd better not be reading this.
Note: Re-watching that scene, it struck me very much how neither character seemed particularly bothered by the thought of impending death.
The White Star was broken. The last shots were fired, and there was nothing left to try. Delenn watched in the window as hyperspace surrounded them, the currents taking them away.
Lennier still had the controls in his hands. He was manipulating them, twisting them in every direction, knowing it was futile. There was no way back. The currents of hyperspace had swallowed them, and would never set them free.
Delenn stood for a long time, watching the emptiness and the ships that never came. Finally she turned back to Lennier. "It is not so bad," she said, "to die."
Lennier could not look up. He had been taught in Temple, every moment of life is an eternity. Even in these last moments he could disgrace himself, could speak the utter, shameful truth of his existence.
"We have done so much," Delenn said. "The Universe can allow us to rest."
"We?" Lennier asked, more harshly than he had intended. He felt so young, and so unready to die.
Delenn fixed her gaze on him until he found himself meeting it. "There is nothing good that I have ever done in my life that I have done without you," she said, simply. Then, with an odd gesture, as if throwing something away, she crossed the ship to where Lennier sat, huddled and broken. She took the controls from his hands, and wordlessly pressed her body against his. Her head came to rest on his shoulder. The skin of her arm was cool where it fell against his right hand, but her breath was warm on his neck. He let his left arm rise to encircle her gently.
"I am tired, Lennier," she said, and he knew it was true. He had felt her exhaustion, almost from the first weeks after her marriage, the tiredness of one who had completed a life's work and knew it to be done. He tightened his embrace, pulling her closer.
"Rest," he whispered, and added "my love," in words so faint he could imagine she did not hear them. He could feel the temperature drop, and the air become thin. He pressed his face in her hair, and moved his other arm around her. If this was to be the last act of his life, to keep Delenn warm in her last moments, then it would be enough.
He could not say how long he held her, or when it was that she released the last sigh from her breath and her head began to turn, slowly, in the most natural of motions, as she lifted her lips to his. They kissed quietly, as if it were obvious, as if they had kissed so many times that they had almost forgotten how. He breathed into her, giving her the breath from his body. She took his breath, and his warmth, and when she finally released his lips she lay her head on his shoulder and smiled gently.
"You know that I have always loved you," she said.
"Of course," he said, and he did know it, and he had always known it, and all the pain from trying to believe that he did not know it began to fade, and even the throbbing of his broken leg did not matter, and no pain would ever matter, ever again.
And it was not sad. After all, he was tired as well. He had stood by Delenn's side as she had changed the Universe. Now she would rest, and he would rest, and they would rest together.
Delenn smiled faintly, relaxed in his arms. "How much longer do we have?" she asked, as if the question were not important.
He touched his lips to hers, and felt her hair on his face as he pulled her closer. How strange, at the very end, to find such joy.
"Forever," he said.