For Selena, who suggested it forever ago.

Ficlet: Serpent in the Garden

Characters: Morden, Shadows

Warnings: Genderbending. I'd give a warning for crossover, but since the B5 universe shares our mythology I think I don't have to. Might not be AU to B5, except (maybe) to Cavelos. Possibly AU to the book of Genesis, depending on how you read it.

Spoilers: none past season 1, or Genesis 2.

In the beginning, she remembered the man-creature above her, moving in ways that sometimes felt good but mostly felt strange. He explained that it made sense that he was above her, since that was the natural order of things: the man looks at the earth from which he was created, the woman looks at the place of the rib from which she was created. Adam spoke to the sky, and heard voices, but she wandered the garden, looking for something she could understand.

The beings were dark, and long-legged. It was hard to hear them speak, but no stranger than the voice of the tiger. "What do you want?" they asked.

The question thrilled her, made her shake inside like none of Adam's touches or words.

"I want you to ask me that question again," she said.

They did, and she laughed and laughed until she could hear her laughter echoed from every corner of the garden. Then she laughed some more, in different ways, just to see how it would sound. By the time she gave her second answer, it was so obvious it almost did not need to be spoken aloud.

"I want to be with you," she said, "and not with him."

They took her in, and she touched them, each spindly leg and dark eye-ridge. "Does this mean you are now my husband?" she asked them.

"We do not marry," they answered, and there was a contempt in ther speaking of the word that she enjoyed. "You are our associate." She liked the word, and repeated it to the trees and to the tigers.

When humans multiplied, sometimes she walked among them. Lilith, they called her, night-woman, woman of shadows. She would go to men at night and ask them what they wanted, and mock their desires that were so obvious and so easily fulfiled. Sometimes she would take their children and bring them to her associates, who would train them to guide star-ships among the stars. Watching children in cradles, she sometimes regretted her empty womb, and the life she left with her human mate. But she loved her question, loved to ask it and watch the changes it brought. Her being wanted this question; it was her child, and her soul.

In time, she learned new ways to ask her question. Sometimes she would walk as a man during the day and ask her question, and some men gave her a different answer, although some did not. Other times she would walk as an elderly woman and ask it. Oddly, it was only then that she was thought wise.

This time she was a man, an archaeologist. Her associates brought her back to their planet, where she reveled in the chaos of the twisted land. Then they sent her back, to bring her question to a new place.

The garden on Bablylon 5 was structured, ordered, nothing like Zha'ha'dum. They had built a hedge-maze, with only one correct answer. She was going to set something in motion that would tear the maze down and break the order into chaos. The thought thrilled her, as it always did, as she waited in the garden to ask Londo a question.

Notes:

The story of Lilith is based on a traditional Jewish legend. Lilith was Adam's first wife, who ran off because she didn't want to have sex in the missionary position (yes, really) and then had a couple-thousand year career of causing wet dreams and snatching babies. There are numerous contemporary feminist reclaimations of the Lilith legend, including some lovely Lilith/Eve slash.