Disclaimer: The Great Maker, JMS, and the grand high Mucky Mucks own Babylon 5, I'm just playing in the sandbox for a moment. I am of course making no money from this and no copyright infringement is intended.

Rating: PG, I believe. PG 13 at most for the suggestion of activities behind closed doors.

Timeline: Sortly after John and Delenn go to Minbar at the end of season 5.

Summary: John learns Minbari.

Author's Notes: Yup, yet another ficlit about J&D. What can I say, I'm a sucker for destined lovers. This a re-post since my stories here seem to have gone the way of the Passenger Pigeon. The only changes in text should be in the form of spelling correction and the like.

Time breaks are noted primarily by ellipsisand the first three words in boldface.

Feedback: I love constructive criticism. Thank you to everyone and "minny1" and "Shorty51" for reviewing this story its first post. Hopeful Romantic hands out virtual chocolate to all readers.


Learning Curve

A gentle breeze played with the light curtains and whispered through the darkened bedroom. It brushed over the pair in the bed, caressing skin before it danced away. Crystalline light chased the breeze, reflected from the glimmers of Tuzanor outside the window. The soft light painted gentle curves and shadows upon the entwined pair, embracing them. It also glimmered gently on the tears of the woman's face, as if trying to brush them away.

John held Delenn closer, his heart breaking to hear the soft sounds of his wife crying. She only cried at night, when she thought him asleep, trying to hide it from him. Come morning he knew, Delenn would smile, and laugh, and kiss him, hiding the shadows of her sorrow and fear for her husband. John wished that he could banish these shadows as he had done with the other Shadows of their life, but he did not know how to fight these nighttime shadows.

He sighed inwardly, "I am better at fighting wars then having relationships," he thought. "Twenty years," John silently promised his wife, "I will love you forever, enough in twenty years to last lifetimes."

John held his wife gently as she spent her tears, willing all his love and strength to her. Softly the storm of her sorrow passed, and she finally fell into a quiet slumber.

When he was certain she had left her tears behind for true sleep, he followed her into peaceful somnolence. As he drifted off, he whispered, "I love you, Delenn," and felt her snuggle more deeply into his arms...

"I thought you were going to sleep in," John greeted his wife in the morning.

"I have early meetings," she replied, and walked over to kiss him gently.

"Delenn..." he began, then stopped at his wife's calm look. He smiled and shook his head slightly.

"Would you like breakfast? I promise, no flarn, but still plentiful portions," he grinned.

She matched his grin, "Breakfast sounds lovely, and we have some time I think.."

John finished cleaning away the last of the dishes. "I'm afraid that that may be it for today. I have meetings until well past dinner tonight. I'm sorry. It never ends."

Delenn nodded. "I have meetings as well. With Earth and so many new planets joining the Alliance, we have much to do with the Anla'shok. They want to discuss more training camps and new methods of training if necessary for the other races. It's hard for them, John. Minbari have trained these ways for thousands of years. It is hard to change, even when it may be necessary." She sighed softly.

"Breakfast tomorrow?"

"I don't know, Delenn, with my cooking, it's a little like tempting fate isn't it?" He grinned.

She stepped over to kiss him tenderly. "My fate is bound up with yours now, I cannot help being tempted." She smiled beguilingly and whirled to leave, John chuckling behind her...

John slipped quietly into the darkened bedroom. His meetings had indeed run very late; late enough, that Delenn was already in bed, though he noticed that she was not asleep. So quickly that she thought he didn't see, Delenn brushed quiet tears from her cheeks, and shifted her face slightly from the light.

"I thought that you would be asleep. I'm sorry that everything went so late." John proceeded to prepare for sleep, and slipped into bed next to his wife.

"Things will go more smoothly once we complete the transition. It may take awhile to adjust to being here instead of Babylon 5," she replied.

John nodded.

Delenn studied her husband's face. "I miss it too. I miss the others as well. It was home for both of us."

"In the end, all that matters is that I'm with you; both of you." Gently his fingers traced her still flat abdomen. Delenn lay her hands lightly over his larger ones and looked into John's eyes. "Home is where you are, Delenn." Tenderly he kissed her and settled with her in his arms. "Sleep now, love" And together they slipped into sleep, warm in the shelter of each others arms...

"Mr. President... Mr. President..." When the Head of Covert Intelligence was certain that she had the president's attention once more she spoke. "I'm not boring you am I, Mr. President?" Theresa asked dryly.

"What... oh, I'm sorry Ms. Halloran. Please continue." John said, embarrassed to have been caught drifting. The report really was very important. Important enough, that his Head of covert Intelligence had come to Minbar from her latest stay at Babylon 5.

"As I was saying, there have been some reports coming from Mars about rouge telepath activities. I don't think that they are directly related to Lyta Alexander, but they seem to have been inspired by her activities. War's coming, Mr. President... Mr. President."

Theresa loudly closed the folder on the desk in front of her.

John looked calmly to the woman before him. "I understand. Clearly, we are not going to solve these problems this afternoon. I'll meet you tomorrow and we'll go over this further. Thank you, Ms. Halloran."

Theresa looked over to John, a sardonic look on her face.

His military training taking over, John rose, and answered her look," Dismissed."

"Yes sir," she said, and turned to leave the office.

"And Ms. Halloran."

The woman turned to face him again.

"I will hear your full report tomorrow." John smiled wryly.

"Yes, sir."Theresa replied with a bit more warmth in her dry voice.

John settled back behind his desk. This would never do. He needed to solve this thing with Delenn. It was killing them both, a tear at a time. Somehow, he had to show her that he understood her fears and sorrows; that he shared them. The thought of leaving Delenn haunted him in his darkest moments. He had crawled back from death to be with her, and the thought of being without her brought an ache deep in his soul. But more than that, John felt that he had to show Delenn that they had to fight these shadows too. He had to show her that together, they were stronger than any shadow.

"Well," he thought, "Maybe it's time I got better at relationships."

"Computer," he said, and the screen behind his desk came to life. "Show me Minbari language files." Lists of languages and dictionaries scrolled across the screen. "Computer, stop there." On the screen was a translation program for Adronato, the language of the religious caste.

John sighed, "Well," he thought, "Hopefully it can't be any harder than coming back from Za'hu'dum." A crooked grin formed on his face as he set to work...

"Entil'za Delenn... Entil'za Delenn..." the elder Minbari paused, waiting for Delenn to return to the conversation.

"Apologies Se'k Tranell, please continue." Delenn forced herself to focus her attention to the elder Anla'shok.

"Perhaps this is not the time Entil'za. We could continue tomorrow if you are in need of rest," he replied kindly and gently. "Valen said that all things come to fulfillment in their own time. And there is nothing that I have to report that would not benefit from the wisdom of a day."

Delenn smiled quietly to the Ranger Instructor before her. "Thank you Se'k Tranell. I will consider all that you have said today, and we will meet tomorrow to further discuss the matter of new training camps on Alliance worlds." Delenn rose and bowed to the Ranger.

Tranell rose and bowed as well."Entil'za Delenn," he said in way of parting, and exited the room.

Delenn sighed softly, and made her way to the balcony. She drank in the sight of her beautiful city, Tuzanor. The afternoon sunlight glimmered among the spires of temples and buildings. It glowed in the distance, turning the mountains into a warm purple vision. Delenn closed her eyes and soaked in the sunshine. As she did so, she pressed her hands lightly to her stomach. "David," she thought, a smile coming to her lips. Then slowly they began to frown as she thought about how his father would never see his son come into his own. Delenn felt the tears threaten to fall as her mind turned to shadowed thoughts.

"Enough," she thought. "Enjoy the moments, savor them, they will never come again. We deserve that, all of us, John, David, myself. If twenty years is all we have, then they should be happy years, full of love and laughter." Moment passed, Delenn nodded quietly to herself, and got back to the tasks at hand...

Candlelight glowed softly from the two white candles set on the small dinner table. It sent soft waves and flickers of light over the dark wood. The tenderlight caressed Delenn's face, curving over a gentle cheek and glimmering in her warm eyes. John watched his wife with pleasure, drinking in the beautiful sight of her. "I'm flying," he thought happily to himself, remembering something his father had once said.

A traditional Minbari dinner was set, and John and Delenn talked comfortably as they ate. "I think Mars may be a good place to set up a Ranger training camp. Their presence may help show Earth that the Alliance recognizes the Mars Provisional government. And the Anla'shok would benefit from adapting their training techniques to a world so different from Minbar," she spoke quietly.

"I don't know Delenn. I've had reports thatthe activities of rouge telepaths have been increasing on Mars, it might not be the best place right now. There's a war coming, Delenn. I don't know when, but it is coming."

"All the more reason for the Anla'shok to be there, John." Delenn spoke calmly.

"Perhaps. We'll have to figure out something I suppose." John paused for a moment before continuing. "I wonder how Michael's doing. No one's heard from him for a while, and there are reports that major changes seem to be happening at Edgar's Industries."

"Michael will contact us when he is able to, John. He knows that we will always be here for him. When he is ready, he will reach out to us." Delenn answered.

John nodded and took a deep breath. Then he rose and began clearing away the remains of their meal. Delenn smiled as she watched him, feeling an overwhelming sense of love for the man before her. Her smile turned into a grin as John began to hum quietly off key. "Not that he hums off key, of course," Delenn thought to herself. "Just like he doesn't snore." She laughed softly.

"Are you laughing at me, Delenn?" John asked in a mock hurt voice.

"My inner voice, maybe." She conceded. "After all John, as you know, we spend a full year in Temple learning how to laugh. And you would not want me to ignore Valen's words would you?"

"To learn to laugh is to learn to understand the Universe," she quoted.

John walked over to his wife and held out a strong hand to help her to rise. He took her in his arms and looked deep into her smiling eyes. "I've learned something too, Delenn," he said in a deep voice. "Miya du'cha li'fa, Delenn," and bent to kiss her tenderly, a brush of lips on hers. When he pulled back to gaze at his wife's face, John noticed that she appeared to be barely suppressing her laughter.

"What?" he asked, clearly bemused.

"I didn't know you were learning Minbari. What were you trying to say, John?" Delenn asked innocently, a smile playing on her lips.

"You are the beloved of my soul. Why? What did I say?" He responded in embarrassed alarm.

"You make my insides wiggle like a beloved fish," Delenn finally managed to respond before she began to laugh happily, her eyes shining with tears.

"Well, that too," John muttered, looking at his wife's beloved and kindly laughing face.

After a few moments, he reached out to gently brush the tears on Delenn's cheeks. "I just wanted you to know, Delenn, I understand. And no more of these, ok?"

Delenn instantly fell still, looking into her husband's quiet eyes. "John," she breathed, placing a hand lightly on his chest, feeling his heart beat strongly beneath her fingertips.

"You are the beloved of my soul, Delenn. And more than anything, I want to be with you. I want to love you forever, Delenn."

Gently, he began to rub his thumb on the hand that was resting on his chest. "I understand your fears love, and I don't want to leave you. But more than that, it breaks my heart to think of loosing you to these shadows of pain and sorrow, one tear at a time. And I'm selfish Delenn. I want you; all of you. You told me once to savor the moments. I want to savor all of the moments with you, Beloved; I need to."

"Li'faa cha'du miya. You are the beloved of my soul," she whispered.

"Li'faa cha'du miya, Delenn." He tilted her chin up and kissed her softly, lips brushing hers tenderly. Gradually, the kiss turned more passionate, and John drew his wife tighter into his embrace. When they finally parted, they were both a little breathless. John chuckled deep and soft, and Delenn shivered as she felt it travel along the length of their bodies. He smiled charmingly and released Delenn from their embrace, all but her hand in his. Carefully, he lead his wife to the bedroom. Delenn smiled beguilingly in response, allowing herself to be lead, and closing the bedroom doors behind them with a soft 'snick'...

A gentle breeze played with the light curtains and whispered through the darkened bedroom. It brushed over the pair in the bed, caressing heated skin before it danced away. Candlelight chased the breeze, blessing all it touched with adelicateradiance. The soft light painted warm colors on the gentle curves and strong planes of the entwined pair, chasing shadows into the tangled sheets.

John's hand tenderly traced circles on the small of Delenn's back, while her fingertips lightly played along his chest. "How do you say woo hoo in Minbari?" He asked lightly, a grin playing on his lips.

Delenn laughed delightedly. "I'm not certain there's a direct translation." A moment passed and she laughed softly again, "Ki'faa nes'cha morana les'ki. My soul has just touched joy and I am enlightened."

"It has at that," John sighed, smiling and kissing his wife tenderly.

Delenn smiled serenely and snuggled further into John's arms.

Quietly, in a thoughtful voice, "Promise me, Delenn, no more shadows and tears. Let's cherish the light and every moment we have left together," he said.

Just as quietly, "Yes John, I promise," Delenn whispered into her husband's chest.

He briefly squeezed her and relaxed. "I'm going to have to practice my Minbari with you more often. Much more satisfying than the translator programs that I have been using," he chuckled.

"John," she said, trying to be serious and failing.

"Ahh Delenn, I love you." Once more he kissed his wife and settled her fully into his arms for the night.

Delenn sighed and settled as a sense of peace and love filled her. "No more tears," she thought, "I will take this moment and cherish it, and every moment that comes." Quietly, she let sleep take her, safe in her husband's arms...