[AC][AL]

Disclaimers: All B5 characters and settings belong to JMS and Warner Brothers and anybody else with legitimate legal claim. Don't want them, not claiming them, just borrowing them. Only one character's mine, but if the Great Maker needs her, or someone similar to her, she's his.

Spoiler warning: *Definitely* contains spoilers up to the current U.S. episodes of Season 5 (as much as I can actually use within the context of this story), as well as Book #9. *Could definitely* contain spoilers through the end of Season 5.

This is my first foray into the mystery genre, so please forgive any really glaring errors.

Big boxes of virtual Godivas to all who helped in the birth of this baby! You guys are the best!

Here it is, the final part!
As with all things B5-related, the last piece is a stand-alone.
Thanks for sticking with me all the way through! Hope you enjoyed it!

Enough of my stalling. After some brief spoiler space for those who may not be up-to-date with the U.S.. . .





















Perpetual dedication:
Dedicated to those of us who think there had to be a better way for Ivanova to realize it.

*****

Epilogue -- August 30, 2263

The clock said it was three in the morning. I wasn't supposed to wake up for two more hours. What in the hell had awakened me so early?
I tried to get back to sleep, but something telepathic brushed against my mind. I may have been tired, but it felt unformed, untrained, just short of fully aware.
The next thing I knew, I was bolt awake.
I realized what it was.
So this was what it felt like.
After two months of speculation, the moment I'd been waiting for had finally arrived.
I shoved my head further into the pillow, deciding to stay awake for the time being and simply enjoy everything that I was feeling, both inside and out.
The regular, soft breathing against my neck told me that Marcus was still fast asleep. The arm that was wrapped around my waist kept him snug against me.
The worry set in. Now I had to figure out how to tell him. There were two possibilities for what he might do when he heard the news. I prayed he would be ecstatic about it, but somehow I didn't think that would happen.
There it was, the black cloud of his shortened lifespan looming large once again. Not since our wedding had things looked quite so dark. We'd managed to make it through the wedding, and we would probably make it through this one, too.
I hoped.
I slid his hand the few inches from my waist to a point where he might feel what had woken me up. With luck, he would sense it for himself.
Of course, then I'd have to deal with why I'd waited two months and still hadn't told him.
"What's the matter, love?"
"Nothing, Marcus. Go back to sleep."
He pulled me back against him, stopping short. "What's that?"
"What's what?"
"Computer, lights, ten percent." He propped himself up, until he was using my shoulder as a chin rest. I could see his eyes taking very careful note of where his hand rested. "Susan, what are you not telling me?"
I slid over onto my back, looking up into those eyes. Even though I could block him out telepathically, he still knew something was up. "What do you think of the name Sophie?"
I could actually watch the process of realization unfold on his face. "You mean?"
"You're picking up something different, aren't you?"
"Yes," he whispered. In the dim light, I could see the tear on his cheek. "Sophie's perfect. When?"
I reached up and brushed away the tear. "About five more months, give or take. Think you can stand the wait?"
"Susan-"
"You'll see her, Marcus. I promise you."
"I know."
I was surprised by how strongly he believed that statement. "What? How?"
He looked at the clock, smiling. "Well, since technically it is your birthday, I suppose I can tell you now. Stephen told me about a test he thinks he's perfected. Something about since Delenn and John decided to set up shop here he's had a chance to work on it. I don't know. Anyway, he says this test can estimate how much time a person who's been -- he called it artificially revived' -- has left." He leaned down and kissed the tip of my nose. "I'll see Sophie. What do you think of the name William Lennier?"
It had to be the hormones. I couldn't help it. I started crying. "I love it. How long did he give you?"
"Somewhere between six and nine years."
My eyes bulged. "Nine years?"
"Or six. Of course, barring accident, injury, or you getting angry."
I wasn't sure if it was my heart or not, but at that moment I was reminded of something Delenn had told me to do. Treasure the moments, no matter how many of them we were given.
"Computer," I said, "time-delayed message for Doctor Stephen Franklin. Deliver with morning messages. Audio only. Message. Six to nine years! Stephen, what are you trying to do, kill me? He's talking about wanting a son now!" I couldn't help but laugh. "Seriously, Stephen. I'm going to hold you to that. Ivanova out."

[FIN]

BABYLON 5 names, characters and all related indicia are the property of J. Michael Straczynski, TNT and Warner Brothers, a division of Time Warner Entertainment Company. All rights reserved.