Later

"John! Are you all right?"

"Fine. Now."

"What is it?"

"A long story. I'll tell you later."



Now it was later. The White Star was en route back to Babylon Five. Susan was in command. Marcus had taken the helm. John had thought it would distract them to have work to do. Both were still reeling from the fact that Ambassador Sinclair, along with Zathras, were gone--having remained aboard Babylon Four on its journey to the distant past. They were taking it hard, losing him like that to a seemingly irrevocable fate.

And speaking of irrrevocable fates, he was faced with a dilemma himself. Should he tell Delenn where he had gone, and what had happened there? He'd gone over it in his head a few dozen times now, and the answer was always 'No'. It would be wrong, he thought, to present her with this slice of the future. The Minbari believed in signs and portents, in prophecy and destiny. If they were to make a life together, he wanted it to come from her wish and her desire, not from any sense of inevitability.

That meant he had to put aside what he'd seen and heard, what he'd felt and experienced in those brief moments alone with Delenn...his wife, the mother of his son. The place he'd found her was perilous, and he couldn't bear to think that somehow he was responsible for her being there. It was possible that it was another version of her, perhaps an alternate version of himself, that would find themselves in danger in the future. He had to find a way to forget what had happened, to continue to work with her, to walk beside her on their chosen path in this terrible war. The knowledge would have to be buried deep inside him, for now.

"John? Are you all right?"

She appeared in front of him in the brightly lit corridor as suddenly as she had in the dark cell on Centauri Prime, and to much the same effect. Stunned, he just stood there; briefly speechless, drinking in the sight of her.

"Hello there," he finally managed to say, smiling to relieve her concerned expression. "I was wondering where you'd gotten to."

"I wanted to be alone for a while, to meditate on what had happened. I was trying to understand...what happened, all that we saw, what Zathras said. I wanted to think about Jeffrey." Her face was sad, and troubled. "You saw something in your travels, didn't you? You said you would tell me later...may I ask you now?"

He looked into her eyes and wondered for a moment what she would do if he took her in his arms, and told her without words what she had come to mean to him. He could still taste her lips, the warm salt of her tears blending with the sweetness of her mouth. Her voice, bright with passion, echoed in his ears. How could he forget the words she'd said? I love you. An urgent need to say those words possessed him. But they would have to remain unspoken. For now.

"Would you mind if I told you some other time?" He smiled again, to take away the sting of refusal.

She simply nodded, holding her own secrets close inside, "I can wait until you are ready."

His path now set, he turned his thoughts away from the past and towards the future. An unknown future, he told himself firmly. "Thank you," he said. "Let's go get something to eat." Looking for some way to touch her, he extended his arm for her to take. He watched as her cheeks flushed, and she twined her arm through his, resting her hand lightly on his forearm. I can wait until you are ready, too. Later, he thought. I'll tell you all about it. Later.