Disclaimer: The Great Maker, JMS, and the grand high Mucky Mucks own Babylon 5, I just playing in the sandbox for a while. I making no money from this of course, and no copyright infringement is intended.
Rating: PG for the suggestion of death as passing beyond, and one mild swear.
Timeline: Set during "The Deconstruction of Falling Stars"; Delenn's future after "Sleeping in the Light."
Summary: Delenn reaches the end of her life.
Author's Notes: Direct reference to "Deconstruction" and "Sleeping." This is a re-post as my stories all vanished. No changes except for possible typo correction.
Time breaks indicated by ellipsis and the first three words in boldface.
Feedback: I really appreciate constructive criticism. Thank you to everone including "Big Destiny" for reviewing this post as it first appeared.
The Brightest Star
The bench was cool beneath her as Delenn settled herself slowly on it. Carefully, she arranged her white robes about her, and set her dark wooden staff next to her. She could hear the young novice behind her, anxious that Delenn had chosen to do her morning ritual, even in the damp cold.
"Honored One," the novice spoke, trying to find a diplomatic and delicate way to convince Delenn to return to the warmth of the abbey.
"Patience, Mala," Delenn spoke in her ancient voice. She settled more comfortably on the bench, or at least as comfortably as her aging body would allow, and looked out to the horizon. In the distance, Tuzanor glowed in the first glimmers of sunrise, and Delenn smiled to see her beautiful city. As the sun continued to rise, a golden glow surrounded her, and as ever, she saw John in her mind's eye, and felt him in the warmth of the new light. Slowly, her wrinkled hand rose as she reached toward the light; reached toward her beloved husband. As the sun began its slow daily climb, Delenn brought her hand to her lap and closed her eyes, soaking in the warmth of the golden light. Her breath stilled, and the moments gathered.
Suddenly, she felt a young hand on her shoulder, shaking her. "Honored One! Honored One!" A hint of panic in the young voice caused Delenn to open her eyes. The novice's worried and embarrassed face greeted her.
"I... apologies Honored One. I thought..." Mala's voice trailed off in a soft murmur.
Delenn merely nodded and smiled kindly to the novice. She reached for her staff and rose painfully up. The novice was at her elbow in an instant, helping the much older woman to rise. In slow, steady degrees, the two women made their way back to the abbey of the Sisters of Valaria.
When Delenn had finally withdrawn from the world and the business of the Alliance, it was to the Sisters that she had come. They granted her small chambers of her own in the abbey, and kept the outside world away, allowing the ancient Minbari a little peace. The young novice Mala had been assigned to look to Delenn's care, and the girl's overwhelmed sense of awe and anxious concern for Delenn reminded her of Lennier as he once had been long ago.
Sadness followed the thought of her dear friend, lost, when he became all his worst instincts for a terrible moment, and left John to die. Coming quickly in the wake of this thought, was the overwhelming ache that filled her when she thought of John, and the void in her that his absence made.
Delenn stopped suddenly, gasping at the pain in her chest.
The pain slowly eased and Delenn released the breath that she hadn't known she was holding. The pains were happening more often now, as her body brought her closer to her final journey."It has passed, Mala. Help me inside."
Anxiously, the novice helped the old woman back to her chambers in the abbey.
"Leave me now, please. I would like to meditate," Delenn said as they entered her chambers. She looked to Mala's quietly worried face. "I will call for you if there is a need. Go child, I will be well."
Mala bowed respectfully, hands placed before her just so, and left the room. Delenn lit the candle before her, and stared into the flame. "Ahh, John, it has been a good life, but I have missed you so much in it," she sighed. 80 years since his death, and still she missed him; the other half of her soul.
Silently, she turned her mind to a state of quiet meditation. Suddenly she gasped as yet another pain in her chest wracked her now fragile body. After a few moments, the pain passed, leaving Delenn gasping in its wake. She stared at the candle flame as she focused on recovering from the brief attack.
When she felt recovered, Delenn rose carefully and made her way to the small desk in the room and withdrew a scroll and pen from the drawer. Her hand shook slightly as she began to write, but she did not stop until she had finished the whole missive. When she was finished, she rolled the scroll tight and tied it closed.
Gently, a knock came on the chamber doors. "Come," Delenn's aging voice spoke from within. Mala entered the room bearing a simple tray of flarn and clear green tea.
"Honored One," Mala settled the tray before Delenn and bowed. She turned to go.
"Mala," Delenn said quietly, stopping the youngnovice for a moment.
"Yes, Honored One? How may I serve?"
"Do the kitchens have any oranges?"
"Oranges, Honored One?" confusion clear on the young Minbari face.
Softly, Delenn sighed, "Apologies, Mala."
"A colorful earth fruit," she explained.
Mala developed the anxious look she always got when Delenn gave her an odd request, and the older woman smiled softly.
"It is not important, Mala. Do not distress yourself." Delenn smiled to further support her words.
Mala bowed slightly and again prepared to leave.
"Mala," Delenn saidquietly once again.
Delenn reached out her hand holding the small scroll. "Please see that this reaches Michael Oretga. He is Anla'shok, assigned as House Guard in Tuzanor."
Delenn nodded gently.
"It shall be done, Honored One." And with that, the young novice left the room, closing the door behind herself softly.
"Well," Delenn thought,"all that remains is to wait..."
The golden sunlight of sunrise grew warm behind her eyelids as Delenn sat on the cool bench. "Delenn?" She opened her eyes to see the young raven haired man before her dressed in the dark Anla'shok uniform, duster, and pin. He bowed deeply before her.
"How may I serve?"
Delenn looked back to where Mala stood, eyeing the human Ranger with a critical look.
"Mala, please, will you go to my chambers and bring me my cloak?" The novice hesitated only a moment before her sense of obedience took over. Mala bowed and turned back to the abbey.
Delenn turned to the human Ranger. " I need a White Star. Sheridan's White Star."
For a moment, the Ranger simply looked at her. "Sheridan's White Star?"
"Yes. I would like to see Earth. Then I need to go to Coriana 6"
Michael was quiet a moment, then, "When?"
"It shall be done, Delenn. Will I be taking you to Tuzanor?"
"Then I will meet you outside the gates." Michael looked over to where Mala was hurrying back with the requested cloak. As soon as she reached them, Michael bowed to both and walked away.
"Thank you, Mala. You have been very helpful."
With a shrewd look, Mala spoke," You are leaving us, Honored One."
Delenn sighed softly, "Yes, it is time."
"It has been my greatest honor to serve you, Delenn."
Delenn smiled. It was the first time that Mala had ever used her name.
"The others will not want you to go. We should take to the garden way to the gates."
Delenn looked at Mala a moment, then simply nodded...
It was strange to be onthe White Star once again. There were not many left. Newer, faster ships had been created for the Alliance and the Anla'shok. But this one, this one had been saved. John had taken this White Star to Coriana 6 where he had died, though his body was never found.
Delenn grimaced as she settled on the couch. She was so tired, and she ached. Then she felt the jump into hyperspace. The ship sang as she slipped through space once more. Earth first, then to Coriana 6. Delenn wanted to be there in the end. It felt right, to go to the place where John had last been. Her own 'Sunday Drive.'
Delenn looked over to the bed. It would take a while to get to Earth, and she was so tired. Painfully, she rose, leaning heavily on her staff as she made her way across the room. She reached the bed and told the computer to wake her when they entered Earth space, then settled and was soon asleep...
"Delenn. Delenn. I'm sorry to wake you, but I thought you might want to see this."
Delenn came awake as Michael Oretga turned on a small comm screen. "In another one of our series of educational stellarcasts on the one hundredth anniversary of the Interstellar Alliance..." an announcer began.
She watched and listened as the academics attempted to deconstruct everything about the Alliance, John, herself, and all that they had done... "No one person can effect such change... We all have a profound need to believe in heroes, we create them where we can...Good PR machine."
Michael watched the old woman's face when the academics began to tear at the subject of her son. He was prepared for the order when he heard her say, "Take me there."
Michael simply bowed and went to fulfill Delenn's command.
"Sheridan was a megalomaniac... Sheridan was clearly pathological... cold... emblematic of his personality... power hungry..."
"Enough," Delenn spoke in her tired voice, and the computer shut down the comm screen...
Leaning heavily on her staff, Delenn entered the darkened room. Her white robes gleamed like a star in the otherwise somber ebony room. Two Minbari attendants followed, the bells they carried chiming softly. As the academics turned to face her, the shock and wonder came clearly to their eyes.
In a strong quiet voice, she spoke, "John Sheridan was a good, and kind, and decent man." With that, she turned slowly to leave the room.
"Delenn, wait. You came all this way to say that?" The professor from York asked.
"You came just as far to say less."
Suddenly the political scientist was speaking excitedly, her voice animated," But this is extraordinary. There is so much more we'd like to ask you. So much more we'd like to know."
"You do not wish to know anything. You only wish to speak. That which you know, you ignore, because it is inconvenient. That which you do not know, you invent. But none of that matters, except that he was a good man; a kind man, that cared about the world, even when the world cared nothing for him."
They suddenly felt very small and insignificant, these three academics in their closed off room. Suddenly the psychologist spoke, needing to somehow assert his and his colleges' importance once more, and recover bruised egos. "Well, of course we'd expect you to say that."
"Goodbye." Delenn looked to each in turn. And as she met each academic's eyes, they looked away and down, ashamed and crestfallen. They continued to avert their eyes as Delenn slowly made her way out of the darkened room, her steps proud, for all that she leaned heavily upon her staff. The Minbari attendants followed, the chiming bells a counterpoint to their steps...
Delenn sat before the softly glowing candle in her sleeping quarters on board the White Star, and meditated. As she did so, she heard quiet steps enter. She turned to look, and saw a young religious caste quietly setting a tray of food on the table as unobtrusively as possible. The young man noticed Delenn's attention, and bowed deeply.
"You have not eaten Honored One, and the great Valen said..."
Delenn held up a wrinkled hand, the golden band on her finger reflecting the candle light, and stopped the young man's words gently, "Thank you. I did not mean to cause worry, I will eat."
The young man bowed once more. "I was to inform you, that course has been set for Coriana 6, and we are to arrive there in a little less than 13 standard hours."
"Thank you." Delenn replied gracefully.
He again bowed and left the room.
Delenn gently blew out the candle and walked slowly to the table with its tray of food. She smiled when she saw what they had brought. In addition to the more normal Minbari foods, someone had placed an orange, and a small glass of orange juice on the tray. Just as she reached for the orange, she felt her chest tighten. Her hands accidentally brushed the tray to the floor, where it landed with a crash, as she reached up to clutch at the pain in her chest. Soon, she followed the tray, her vision wavering. The last thing she saw were anxious Minbari faces surrounding her, crew that had come running when they heard the crash...
Delenn awoke in the med-bay of the White Star.
"So, you're awake," said a deep voice from near the doorway.
She looked to see Ranger Oretga standing some few feet away.
"The others will be glad. If you hadn't come around soon, the captain was prepared to return to Minbar. They'll probably still want to go back there anyway. They're worried about your health," the human ranger continued.
Delenn made a small noise as she shifted. " I am 140 years old, and I'm dying." She shrugged softly. "It is time."
"Coriana 6," Michael said solemnly, realization coming to him.
"When it comes, I want to be where he was. I want to be near him, and Coriana 6 is the closest I can be before the end."
"I wish I could have met him. He must've been when helluva man to have had you by his side."
Delenn smiled softly, remembering," He was a good and gentle man."
Michael laughed quietly, "I heard about those academics. I'm not sure that you really changed anything you know. They're probably just going to twist your words around tomorrow. But at least for today, they must have had one heck of a shock."
"That is unimportant. What is important is that John Sheridan was a good and decent man."
"I suppose." Michael nodded. He looked over to where Delenn lay. "I'll make sure that the crew knows that we are going to Coriana 6. And, Delenn, it has been a profound honor."
With that, the ranger bowed and left the room.
Delenn waited until the ranger had left, "Computer, how long until we reach Coriana 6?"
"We will reach Coriana 6 in 1 standard hour." The computer answered.
"Time enough," Delenn thought, and fell back into a light sleep...
Delenn was dreaming: She stood there, trying so hard to hold back the tears. He wanted this to be a good day; he deserved that, a good day. Then he lay his hand on her shoulder and she couldn't hold it back any longer. She turned in his arms and felt John gather her close, clutching her tightly.
"Good night my love, the brightest star in my sky," John whispered, his breath soft in her hair and warm against her ear.
"Good night, you have been my sky, and my sun, and my moon," she whispered painfully.
He held her tightly for a few more minutes, then he reluctantly let her go, brushing the tears from her cheek. He walked away, resisting the urge to look back, knowing that if he did, he could never leave her. And all that Delenn could do was reach out to him...
Delenn awoke with a small gasp, still reaching out. She realized that there was someone there in the room with her.
"Hello?" Delenn spoke into the gentle darkness of the room.
She looked to the far side of the room where a small golden light was softly forming, growing brighter. And there he stood, young and strong as he had been a lifetime ago.
"John," she breathed.
He smiled and laughed softly, opening his arms wide. She ran without hesitation into their welcoming embrace. "John."
"My brightest star." He whispered into her long dark hair, the age of years having been lifted from her as they had been for him. "We have been waiting for you. I've been waiting for you."
He lifted her head from his chest where it rested, and tilted her chin up so that he could kiss her. Her hands pulled him closer, and she returned his kiss with all her passion for him. After an eternity, they broke apart, breathless.
"I don't understand," she whispered.
In a deep voice he spoke, "You are The One who is."
She reached up to touch his cheek, and he looked down at her, love informing his every feature. "I'll never leave you, Delenn, not if the whole universe stood between us."
This time, it was Delenn that brought John to her to kiss him passionately. They were both smiling when they broke apart. His eyes quietly took on that charming gleam that they always had when he had found something new and wondrous, "There's so much I want to show you," he said.
John held out his hand, and as Delenn took it, the room flashed in a flare of bright white light...
Needless to say, they never found her body...