Disclaimer: B5 is owned by JMS, WB, PTEN, and Babylonian.
A/N: Three factors inspired this story. First, my stories so far have had a lot of dialog, possibly too much, and I wanted to try writing something with no dialog. Second, I always found it hard to believe that Sheridan came back from his cell on Mars and then hopped right back into the command seat again. There would have to have been some mighty powerful stuff in his head, and we never see it. Finally, I needed a break from another B5 project that does not involve my favorite characters. I was listening to Billy Joel's "And So It Goes," (see lyrics at end) and this popped into my head as a way to use silence as a character in a story.
Set during S4 "Between the Darkness and the Light."
John Sheridan was back from Hell. He had slept most of the way from Mars to the fleet's rendezvous point. And now, all he wanted to do was sleep some more. He met Delenn in the corridor, and hoped she was real. Delenn took him to Ivanova in sickbay, and when he saw her there, he wished that Susan was not real.
Sheridan and Delenn reluctantly left Ivanova to the medics, who had ordered the two to get some rest before the battle they all knew was coming. They walked silently, hand in hand, through the corridors of the Minbari cruiser. The door to Delenn's quarters opened automatically, recognizing her and her guest.
Delenn had left a meal in the food warmer, hoping to be able to share it with John. She got the serving dish out of the warmer, and placed it on a low table, one place set with Minbari utensils, and another with Human-style utensils. They sat across the table from each other, cross-legged on the floor. Neither one of them could take a bite. Neither could think of anything to say.
John picked up a morsel of food with his fork, and tried to bring himself to eat. Suddenly, he dropped his fork with a clatter, burying his face in his hands.
A Human might have expected that any second John would sweep everything off the table in anger and frustration. But Delenn, of Minbar, understood the power of silence. She understood that silence can be a form of communication, when words are not enough, when words are too much.
But silence can also become a wall, if it is allowed to grow so large that it folds in upon itself.
Delenn could feel John turning inwards. She could not allow the silence to begin folding, but also did not wish to break its sanctity. Kneeling, she slid the low table aside, and, facing John, placed her hands over his. At first he flinched at her gentle touch, but he did not back away. She did not try to move his hands; they and his silence were his protection from the universe. She only offered her own touch, her own hands, as further protection.
Like a tall building, felled with carefully-laid explosive charges, he crumbled down, down, and Delenn's arms enfolded him, his head in her lap. John's fists clenched her skirts, as hoarse sobs began to pour forth.
He became a hurricane of waves, cresting at sea and breaking against the welcoming beach. And just as the sands of the beach accept the ocean's waves, and wash them into gentle foam, Delenn accepted his sobs. Delenn had not realized how ragged her shores had become, but John's tears washed away the debris of previous storms, and smoothed the rippled dunes. The storm died down, leaving both the sea and the shore smooth and calm, silent once again.
The silence was still there, but its walls had become a room that enclosed them both.
"My silence is my self defense.
But if my silence made you leave
Then that would be my worst mistake.
So I will share this room with you
And you can have this heart to break.
So I will choose to be with you
That's if the choice were mine to make
But you can make decisions too
And you can have this heart to break"
"And So It Goes" – Billy Joel