A walk through Dark places…
A/N: This is just a short fic about sacrifices, evil and children. If you don't like it say so if you do say so, in other words press the button down the bottom and REVIEW!
Rating: PG for death, violence, suggestive stuff and really 'Low level coarse language'
Setting: Four years after season 5.
Sheridan heard the tinkle of the door chime. He looked up from where he was drinking a coffee. "Come in!" he called. A small face framed by curly blonde hair poked around the corner of the door cautiously. He grinned in spite of himself.
"Ah the clown is here!" he said as she took a confident step inside, she brightened at the use of her nickname. He put down his coffee. She smiled at him. He shook his head at the thought of this tiny woman, and barely a woman, child being a Ranger and even more at her being his body guard.
She was barely as tall as Delenn, angelic honey blonde curls surrounded green eyes and rosy cheeks. She stood more formally and modulated her expression as Delenn stepped in from the bathroom off to one side of their room. Delenn's presence always caused that reaction, and why not she looked stunning this morning. Her dress was silver and her hair was curled. Lara stopped smiling, her respect (bordering on hero-worship) of Delenn was endearing. She made her report formally.
"We are about to make the jump to normal space. The shuttle for Babylon 5 will depart in twenty minutes; the party will consist of three rangers, Mister Garibaldi and yourselves. There is report of unrest on the station however," Her formality dropped as she grinned. "We are early, so they may not expect us quite so soon."
Sheridan nodded and looked at Delenn; she was also smiling fondly at the pride in the last statement. Lara was always seeing how far she could push any piece of equipment and the Whitestars' engines were no exception.
"Very well" he said nodding her permission to depart. She bowed and turned to depart. "Lara!" he called after her. She turned. "Will you by piloting?" he asked with mock earnestness. She frwned slightly. "Yes sir" she said.
"Oh" was all he said. She squirmed ever so slightly. "Maybe you should…" He paused as Delenn sat down opposite him. She squirmed even more an expression of dread putting a damper on her face though she kept her head up.
"Show the Babylon 5 pilots some tricks on the way in" he suggested innocently. Delenn's eyes widened. As did Lara's, she smiled wickedly.
"Yes Mr President, Entil'Zha" she said before bowing again and leaving with an almost bouncy quality to her walk as he bottom lip wedged firmly between her teeth. He laughed and turned back to his Coffee. He caught Delenn's disapproving look and shrugged innocently.
"What?" he asked. She smiled at him though still with that disapproving air.
"You know what" she told him, he sighed.
"She's just a kid" he said, "She should still be allowed to play" he offered. Delenn nodded.
"I know how you feel but…"
"No buts!" he interrupted. "If she has to put her life on the line because of us, the least we can do is make it fun for her" he smiled "I mean the idea of someone her size protecting me…" he laughed.
"Size is not what matters John," said Delenn "It is her abilities that make her special." He nodded. "But she lakes discipline" he nodded reluctantly.
"I know…" he said it softly. He smiled and took her hand "And this would of course have nothing to do with the fact that her flying makes you go green…"
He buckled into the co-pilot's seat. He looked over at Lara. She grinned mischievously at him from the Pilot's seat. He leaned over.
"Twenty credits says you don't impress Captain Lochley!" he whispered. She grinned her eyes lighting with a challenge.
"Your on!" she said sticking out her hand. He took it and they shook. The shuttle doors closed. She took the shuttle out nice and slowly. Approaching the entry she had passed just beneath the edge of the station before she linked to Command and Control.
"Babylon 5 this is President Sheridan's shuttle, the Acer, requesting permission to come aboard." She said in a sweet yet formal tone.
"Permission confirmed shuttle Acer…" there was a pause "uhm… Shuttle Acer, the docking bay's behind you." Said Corwin with a slight stutter.
"I know." said Lara. "Acer out." She was now skimming the bottom of the station, she pushed the shuttle's engines, which John had secretly had improved, originally for safety but now he was glad cause it was such fun.
The shuttle shot out from underneath the station and out into space, it artfully ducked around a Narn crsier, past several Drazi ships and suddenly went into a spin'n'flip. They were now facing back the way they'd come. He grinned as the comboard sprung to life, probably people wanting to know what the hell was going on. Gunning the engines she leapt back at the ships, flying so close to them that the proximity sensors would be screaming, if they weren't on silent.
He held on for dear life as she 'skin danced' over several ships, some of whom were moving, and then did the same thing to the station. She shot of the end of the station and dived downwards towards the entry bay she managed to flip and come to a stop right in front of C'n'C. He laughed they were close enough to be able to see the terrified Corwin and Lochley staring out at them.
He raised a hand and waved, just as Corwin waved back, and Lochley was attempting to murder them with her glare. Lara stuck their nose up and dived into the station at what he expected was probably an 'unsafe' speed. She dove at their docking port at way to fast a speed and cut the engines so that they coasted into place. She gently lowered them to the floor.
She smiled over at him, her pale face was flushed and her eyes were bright with amusement. He nodded. Damn he wished she were a pilot. She was too damn good, then again if someone came after them he'd want her in the pilot seat.
They unstrapped themselves and left the cockpit. Delenn was her usual pale green colour and as usual this caused Lara's grin to fade to a sheepish smile. He stepped in front of the door but found Lara stepping in front of him. Garibaldi who also looked slightly green, in fact everyone looked a bit pasty, stepped beside her.
"Safety first" he said shortly. Swallowing and taking deep breaths. Sheridan chuckled.
They proceeded though the bay towards several men in Security uniforms. Sheridan greeted Zack with a smile, he grinned even more when he noted the enigmatic expression on Lara's face. All humor had faded as she became a trained fighter. She suddenly looked a lot older.
He looked back to Zack as he was finally released from Garibaldi's hand shake, and Delenn's hug.
"Zack?" he asked, enquiring if the communiqués that there were protests on Babylon 5 were still in progress.
"We've got the situation under control though I don't think you should go through there" he said. "Humans and alien are at each others thrats." John nodded and headed towards the Zocalo.
"I need to see this." Was all he said. Lara growled something as they headed towards the exit from customs and the entrance to the Zocalo. She positioned her self in front of him. He saw Lochley standing at the entrance, behind a semicircle of Security officers. Lara stopped as Lochley shook her head and used it to indicate a side exit. Lara grabbed his arm and pulled him after her. She was strong enough, she said something, lost in the baying of the crowds.
Garibaldi and the other two rangers escorted Delenn to catch up with them. Lara stopped and grabbed Zack by the arm, "make them think he isn't here yet or that he is still in here!" she said quickly, before leading them down a side corridor. She seemed to have studied the station's layout as she swiftly led them through the station.
Sheridan fumed, so what if there was crowd. Yet he agreed because he knew it would not only put his life in danger, but also the others of the group and the security personnel.
They were going down a corridor, part of the floor had been taken out as well as part of the side wall. The corridor had narrowed down to single file. Lara led, with Sheridan and Delenn behind, Graibaldi and the two rangers.
They were approaching the end of the repairs when they approached a pair of men loitering on a corner. She slowed making them slow, and made a hand movement, the two men were out of place.
She looked at them with a trained eye. She motioned with her hand at Garibaldi and Jason, one of the ranger's, to move forwards behind her. She didn't realise that they hadn't until she looked behind, they were trapped behind Delenn and Sheridan. The corridor had narrowed because of the renovations, delibearate? The question ran through her head. Garibaldi nodded to her, he trusted her enough to know what she was doing.
One of the men saw them and whispered to the other. They started towards the group. She frowned, they were caught out in the middle of no-where, the last cross corridor was by now about thirty meter's back. And the cross corridor the two men had left was a good twenty meter's in front, not good if the men were armed, but she cleared all doubts from her mind.
"Traitors!" growled the first man. He was taller while the other was bulkier.
"Alien scum lovers!" added the second spitting.
"Please move," she asked politely. The two men laughed.
"You gonna' make me little girl?" he grinned nastily.
"You aren't capable of moving a piece of air. Alien lover" the other added.
"I asked nicely" she said with a dangerous tone. " But you wanna play it the hard way" she smiled. "Let's play".
Sheridan watched as she leapt forwards and extended her pike straight into the taller man's stomach and then butted it up into his face. She had leapt for wards enough to allow John and Delenn to get out of Garibaldi and Jason's way. The last Ranger kept his eyes on the corridor behind them.
When John looked back the two men were on the ground and Jason and Garibaldi were grabbing them and hauling them up against the wall so they could be searched. Lara was watching her pike folded up and she stepped past them and waved for Delenn and John to come past the two men.
She was looking back at them when John saw a man step out into the corridor. She must have seen it in his eyes as she spun her head around as he raised a gun and aimed it at John and Delenn. He pulled Delenn behind him with a yell.
"Garibaldi!" he yelled. The man was too far away for Lara to be able to reach him. Sheridan watched the gun point at him, heard the power up followed by a shout.
He heard Lara yell "No!" He saw her launch away from the wall. He looked at her in mid-flight in front of him; her back turned to the Gunman…
She was still in the air when the first shot hit her. Her pike dropped from nerveless finger as she landed.
Her legs were shaking and she seemed as though she would fall when a second shot hit her, she stumbled as shots screamed past her, as Garibaldi returned fire.
Sheridan looked at her eyes, they at first seemed wide with wonder, a frown marred her face, she stumbled towards him and then began to fall as her legs gave way. He watched her hit the floor as though in slow motion, he watched her body bounce slightly, saw her head loll to one side and saw her flinch in pain.
He knelt beside her. He felt people rush past him. But he didn't care. He pulled her up into his arms. He carefully propped her head in the crook of his arm. His other hand went around her waist, his hand on her lower back, her lower back was bleeding. He heard someone yell for medic. But all the noises in the corridor seemed to fade.
He looked up at her face. A trickle of blood ran from the corner of her mouth. Her eyes seemed confused. She whispered something. He leaned closer.
"Don't try too talk too much" he said as he cradled her. "Don't worry, it'll be alright." She smiled slightly. He moved his arms as he pulled her onto his lap. A whimper escaped her lips, the first noise out of her mouth since she was hit.
"Sorry!" he apologized over and over in between reassuring her that help was on its way. She raised a hand and covered his mouth with a tiny trembiling hand.
"It.. It's alright." She said softly. "I am ready" a tear fell out of her left eye.
"You can't die" he told her through her fingers. "Your too young too die." he added. She smiled weakly at his attempt at humor.
"I am a Ranger" she told him, he frowned "I walk in the dark places no other will enter, I stand on the-" she grunted as a spasm passed through her body and more blood bubbled past her lips she coughed weakly. He tried to shake his head tell her to stop, but his mouth wouldn't work and his lips were numb as the cold trembling fingers were touched by his tears.
"I stand on the bridge and no one may pass" she finally got past the coughs and blood. Medics ran towards them.
"I live for the one, I die for the one…" she finally whispered. He shook his head. She convulsed again. Hands were pulling her away from his numb arms as others said his name again and again.
He shook off the hands that held his as they strapped her to a gurney. He followed the medics as they wheeled her away on the gurney, they were running now. The doctor was yelling something as they entered a lift. The door shut just behind him as he watched them work on her even in the lift, they had her on her stomach. He looked at the terrible bloody holes in her back, edged in blackened flesh and covered with blood that was pumping even as they tried to staunch the flow. He ran a hand through his hair, mindless of the blood on his hands.
"Shit!" said one of the doctors.
"How is she still alive?" asked one of the others in wonder. More coughs racked her weak body.
He took a tiny hand in his own, it was cold and pale. He squeezed her hand and whispered comfort in the direction of curls that obscured her face. A tiny whisper escaped her lips. Something in Minbari abut the dark.
He watched through the glass, as the doctors worked, Delenn stood nearby. He could see her unhappiness, he should go to her. But he just stood there. It had been four months, well five in a few days, since Garibaldi had told he'd be getting bodyguards. Anla'shok who wouldn't stay hidden in the crowd but who would walk beside him from meeting to meeting, how he wished he had never agreed.
"It's too dangerous, we've already found one plot and stopped it, we won't be able to protect you with the current system." Garibaldi said.
"I don't want Bodyguards!" said Sheridan, angry. "It's so.."
"Ridiculous?" asked Garbaldi as John paced.
"Yeah!" he said.
"Well you are a president" said Garbaldi
"And you may not like it, but I'm afraid unless we do something, someone is gonna try it, an I'd rather we didn't wait till they start taking pot shots at you and Delenn before we do something." John had nodded while looking out at the Minbari city. "Besides I'd rather you didn't die because some idiot 'pro-earth' group wanted to make a point."
Sheridan watched the lines dip towards flat as the Doctor yelled at one of the nurses. The monitors all showed everything taking the inevitable spiral towards death.
"Entil'za?" called a sweet feminine voice. John stuck his head out of the kitchen. His eyes stung from the smoke that flowed around him. Lara he identified the voice.
"Here!" he yelled. The tiny young woman who led the Rangers who guarded him approached him her face was calm though her green eyes were laughing at him, in what he felt was rather annoying way, then again her eyes were always laughing at everything.
"Are you alright?" she asked, a smile pulling at the corners of her mouth.
"Fine, Thanks" he said with more anger then he meant. She raised an eye brow "It was just…"he began "Well…" he waved his arms at the kitchen. She was now smiling rather then grinning. He smiled back. "It was the food," he said sheepishly. She was grinning.
"I see" she said. "Would you like me too-" she motioned towards the kitchen. He nodded with a grimace.
"Please" he waved her inside, thinking she would just maybe help him clean up. Once the smoke was gone and they had cleaned up they stood on either side of the breakfast bench looking at the Flarn he had been attempting to cook. Black and stuck to the bottom of the pot. He looked at her, she was resting her chin in her hand while he leant down and peered at the food
"Well I guess that's the end of that," he said with a sigh. "I'm a terrible cook, I don't know what possessed Me." she smiled over at him in sympathy. He chuckled and then they both laughed.
"Do you want me too-" she asked motioning towards the freezer unit and cupboard.
"Would you?" he asked straightening in surprise. She smiled, and rubbed her hands together. "You see I told Delenn…." He trailed off and she winced.
"Come on!" she said motioning to the cupboard and freezer unit again.
They had been like two children, or maybe father and daughter. They had even at one stage thrown food at each other.
She had left before Delenn had arrived desperate to escape and get changed before Delenn saw he spoiled Uniform. She had returned after dinner. He had mouthed 'thank you' to her and she had blinked in acknowledgement and smiled.
She answered the door while he hid.
"Ah Pres-" the Centauri voice cut off in mid-sentence.
"Ambassador Balori, what can I do for you" he could her the amusement in her voice. This was the Ambassador's third visit today and the twenty something one this week. Anytime Delenn wasn't around the ambassador was trying to invite Sheridan to dinner. Garibaldi had taken great delight in informing him he had a rather lovely daughter and the Ambassador wanted her as his… Well mistress. He focused on the conversation in the next room.
"…been hoping to speak to Prisident Sheridan, is he around?" He heard the ambassador say.
"No Ambassador I'm afraid he's not here right now, however I would be delighted to inform the President that you visited, and the Purpose of your visit…" he could hear her amusement. After some grumbling the Ambassador left.
"Mister President?" she sang out at him. "Come out come out where ever you are!" she added. He cursed something and moved towards the door. He stood and walked into the lounge with as much dignity as he could muster.
She stood in the center of the room, laughing. Not utlud but with her eyes.
"Never thought I'd see the head of the alliance on his knees before the Centauri ambassador" she joked. He rolled his eyes.
"Don't start with me" he said pointing at her. She gave him and innocent look.
"Start with what Mister President?" he looked at her and laughed. She was fluttering her eyelashes.
"You're a clown, you know that?" she laughed.
"What does the ambassador want anyway?" she called as he went into the little kitchen.
"He…" he started and stopped. He ducked his head back out. "How old are you?" he asked. She frowned
"Twenty… why?" she asked.
"Oh okay" he ducked back inside.
"What does the Centauri Ambassador want…" he said as he poured out coffee. "The Ambassador wants to go to dinner to 'discuss' some 'mutually acceptable' agreements." He explained as he went to the lounge and handed her a Coffee.
"Thank you" she said, taking a sip. "What does all that mean?" He looked at her eyes and found them laughing, again. He sighed.
"He brought his lovely daughter with him…" he added. She frowned and then her mouth started to open. Then it closed and she pulled back. She opened her mouth to speak and stopped. She did it again.
Finally she found her voice. "You mean…" she made a movement with her hand.
"That's exactly what I mean" he growled. She nodded, and looked intently at her coffee. She continued to study it intently. She then looked up at him.
"So why don't you take Entil'za Delenn with you?" she sugested. Then burst out laughing. He watched her laugh for several minutes.
"That's right you're real funny, an absolute clown, hilarious…" he shook his head when tears ran down her face. "Yeah well screw you!" he told her, she laughed even harder. And he found himself smiling.
Dr. Hobbs motioned with her hand. John went into the room. She lay on the bed still as death as the worked on her. Hobbs called to him. "She keeps saying 'Derini zha'dromi' What does that mean?" Asked Hobbs. He walked closer.
"Friend, light my dark…" said Sheridan, walking closer.
They had entered the lounge and sat. He had made her Coffee, Delenn was still stuck in a meeting. They had been talking. The lights flickered, and then disappeared. Plunging them into darkness. He heard a gasp and her breathing as they both sat still, after a moment the power came back. He sighed, not an assassination attempt after all.
He looked over about to make a joke when he saw her. She was shivering. Her face white.
"Are you alright?" he asked. She nodded.
"I hate the dark." She said in voice that shook ever so slightly. He frowned.
"Why?" he asked, he'd never seen anything like it.
"The dark…" she started. "The night, alone with a man… Memories." She smiled slightly. "Things I'd rather forget." The words were harsh. A series of links started to be made in his mind. She had nearly punched him when he woke her once, she had dozed on the couch and he had brushed her shoulder t wake her. She had had her pike at his throat a second later, a fear and hate lighting her eyes.
He looked over at her. She was drinking her coffee with a haunted face, and dead eyes. No humor, no life. Just fear, fear of the dark.
He looked at her, the machines read almost no brain activity, almost no pulse and only minimal breathing. They were trying to get her on life support but it wasn't working. He felt tears on his face and wiped at them, he saw his hand, it was red. He looked at the blood covering his hands and soaking his lower arms.
He stared at them. This could not be happening. Then as though with great effort she whispered hoarsly. "Derini zha'dromi, ver'en dolath ro'"
'Light my dark, don't let it find me, friend.'
John looked down at her. Her face was white, her eyes were closed and she was surrounded by pale pink roses and white baby's breath. There where flower's of every kind, possibly from every planet that had beautiful flowers, star- laces, glowing white and pure, Dramya, with their pungent smell and dark blood red colour. He shivered, many other kinds of flowers surrounded her.
He looked past her at those gathered below and took a deep breath. There where Rangers, Ambassadors, Minbari, Narn, Drazi, Humans, Centauri, Pak'ma'rah… Every race in the alliance was there and many had obviously known her. He thought back to the day she told him she was twenty, he hadn't believed her, and he wouldn't have believed that all those in front of him had known her, but many had.
"We are here today not to celebrate her, or to say goodbye to her, but instead to remember her" he began softly. "We are here to remember a young woman, who at seventeen became the youngest Ranger on active duty and who would today have celebrated her twenty-first birthday." He felt a tear course down his cheek. "She was brave, strong but more than that she was young.
"No seventeen year-old should have to become a Ranger, No seventeen year-old should have to know death and destruction and no one that young should give their life to save another's. None of these choices should be forced upon them. They should not have to hide in fear, or walk into dark places and never should they be called upon to die." He cleared his throat, as it constricted.
"These choices, we should have protected her form, these cares and worries should not have been hers, yet they made her who she was. I hope that never again will a child see war, I hope that no other child will ever be trained so young as a warrior, and I hope that not other child should ever be called upon to sacrifice their life no matter the cause." The applause was thundering but all he heard were snatches of things she'd said, jokes she'd made…
Hours later he just sat beside her dead body as it lay amongst the roses; their sweet smell enveloped him and chased away the scents of burned flesh and blood that had followed him since the attack. He looked down. She seemed so at peace. Yet her life such as it had been had not been gentle.
He held back tears as he considered her sacrifice. He had had others die to protect him. Whole ships had sacrificed themselves for him in the Shadow war. And the Rangers had died gathering information for him.
But never had he watched someone he considered a friend leap knowingly into the path of deadly fire just for him. She had done it with full knowledge. She had died for him. Delenn placed a hand on his shoulder.
"I-" his voice cracked.
"I know." Was all she said, squeezing his shoulder. "I understand John, her passing is hard to accept, as are the deaths of any innocent."
"She shouldn't have died, Delenn, I should have…"
"She would not have allowed you to be harmed John, not while she still drew breath…" Delenn leaned down. "Come away John…" he shook his head.
"She… She was afraid of the dark Delenn. I don't want to leave her alone in the dark.As he sat beside her, her words echoed through his head.
"I am a Ranger. I walk in the dark places no other will enter. I stand on the bridge and no one may pass. I live for the One, I die for the One…"
"But you shouldn't have had to…" he whispered. Delenn stood beside him as they waited with her. He didn't want to leave her alone. Not alone in the dark places she had had to walk through.
"Mith rall zha'ver'en dolath reinj, doren'erini" he whispered.
'I am here, the dark won't find you, dear friend.'
PS yes I made up the Minbari, Don't shoot me.