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Delenn of Mir and John Sheridan
Of Wives and Regrets
John and Delenn Sheridan lay in their marital bed still newlyweds by all accounts, but instead of spooning and whispering loving and enticing words into each other's ears, they were a world apart both physically and emotionally. No, this was not the couple that people on the station were accustomed to seeing walking and smiling as they strode down the corridors of Babylon 5, so enthralled by each other that anyone else barely registered on their meter, when they were together.
No, this was definitely not that John and Delenn, for this John and Delenn lay on opposite sides of the bed with a gulf of mattress and missed opportunities, regrets, and anger between them. John held onto his regret as tightly as he held the pillow in his large hands cursing himself for not taking the opportunity before the wedding ceremony. Or hell right after the ceremony, or anytime before Elizabeth Lochley arrived on Babylon 5 to tell his wife the whole story of the new captain, and their history together. God damn it John. How in the hell did you manage to screw this up so royally? he cursed himself shifting slightly in the bed uncomfortably.
In the short time that he and Delenn had been married, and shared a bed, his sleep pattern had improved exponentially. As a soldier he always slept fitfully never truly able to relax fully, and even as a captain old habits died hard. But Delenn changed all of that with her soothing tea and meditation before bed time. The way she lit the perfect number of candles in the bedroom for illumination and aromatherapy, and the way her taut slender body invariably found his long after they'd made love, and fallen asleep.
Aw hell, John cursed inwardly again as he wondered exactly what he could say to his wife that would make things right. He knew no matter what she said, the fact that he had kept such an important secret from her on the heels of their vows of commitment before their friends, family, and God Delenn was not fine. John also knew that if it wasn't for her religious caste training and self-discipline, he would have been on the receiving end of a right hook, and thrown out of bed to sleep on his very small couch.
Delenn tried to sleep and clear her mind honestly she did, but the news that John had been married to Captain Lochley, and that he had failed to share this bit of his past with her kept her normally focused mind reeling. Delenn had never had what humans called a headache before, but she was convinced she was suffering from one now, and trying to meditate in a prone position was out of the question. Sometimes Delenn really missed her Minbari bed, and tonight she found herself longing for its traditional comfort as well as the solitude of her own quarters.
While she and John had made it their mission to spend an equal amount of time at both of their places while still on B5, tonight was the first time since marrying John that she felt out of place in his quarters. She wanted time alone to think and wallow in her anger without John's apologetic eyes watching her every move. Nor did she trust her tongue at this moment to not voice all the hurtful sentiments she was trying desperately to relegate to the darkest recesses of her mind.
Delenn quietly slipped from the bed, and into her black satin robe which John had given her as a pre-wedding gift. Just as she was almost out of the bedroom door a hoarse voice said, "Where are you going Delenn?"
Delenn stopped only inches from the threshold having forgotten what a light sleeper John was. Then she wondered briefly if he had been asleep at all the last hour as she tried to work things through in her mind, staying morbidly still not wanting to wake him, for fear that he would want to talk before she was ready. Not turning she said, "I couldn't sleep so I thought I would get a head start by going over a few notes for a meeting I have tomorrow on trade negotiations between the Pakmara and Drazi."
She said this quickly, but calmly hoping he would drop it and go back to sleep, or whatever he was doing before she left the bed. Not satisfied John asked, "Why do you have your robe on?" He looked at the night stand on Delenn's side of the bed and saw numerous documents and folders that she had been working on right before she had inquired about his ex-wife. Frowning John rose from bed to follow his wife who had moved into the living room still having not answered his second question.
Delenn looked around the living area until she found her long heavy robe with a hood which she thought was much more appropriate for roaming the corridors of B5 at 1:00 am. Seeing Delenn reach for her outer robe John grimaced and said pleadingly, "Don't leave honey," and walked towards her gently taking the robe from her hands.
Delenn could only stare at her husband whose defeated eyes almost brought tears to her own. She wanted to stay and forget all that had happened allowing him to wrap her in his long strong arms as he pressed his hard aroused body against hers willing her pliant body and mind into blissful forgetfulness. But a stronger part of her wanted to flee to the sanctuary of her quarters that was as close to Minbar as she could get on the space station located in the middle of nowhere.
Delenn missed home and as much as she loved humans and worked extremely well with them and other species sometimes she still felt out of place and being married to John forced her to address emotional issues in ways that wasn't always comfortable for her.
"Don't do this Delenn. Don't shut me out," John said as he lovingly stroked his wife's cheek. "I know I messed up and you probably feel that you can't trust me but if you leave now how will we ever resolve anything if you always bottle things up and run away."
"I'm not running," Delenn said coolly pulling away from his touch. "I told you I need to gather a few items from my quarters."
"Fine, then I will go with you," John responded more as a challenge than a genuine offer.
"There is no need for two to do what can be done by one."
"It's late Delenn what kind of husband would I be if I let my wife walk unaccompanied on the station this time of night?"
"I can take care of myself John. I don't need an escort," Delenn replied with an annoyed tone. She simply wanted a few hours to herself and John seemed wholly incapable of detecting this simple truth in her veiled comments.
"Delenn please," he soothed as he reached for her again only to have his wife move out of reach.
They both sighed as John looked at Delenn who refused to catch his eye preferring the coldness of the floor to pleading and sadness Delenn knew she would see if she looked into John's eyes.
Finally pulling her head to its upright position Delenn confessed. "John I need some time alone. I know it may seem like I am running away but I am not. Minbari and humans have different approaches to marital disagreements and this is the only way I know how to cope with all of the emotions threatening to overwhelm me."
John stepped towards her needing to make things right between the two of them hearing her words but not truly listening. Delenn raised her hands to stop him, "John please don't."
"I'm sorry Delenn," he said in a near whisper. "Oh god Delenn I am so sorry. I was such an ass thinking that there would be a perfect time to tell you but there was no perfect time Delenn. No time seemed right to have that kind of discussion."
"You should have told me," she said so quietly that John almost didn't hear her over his own attempt at an explanation. "You should have told me," she said again with a calm force after he stopped speaking. She looked him square in the eyes and said for a third time in a voice that she had never used with John but her enemies knew all too well, "You should have told me," and walked out of the door.
John slumped down on the small couch too stunned and angry with himself to let out the litany of curses that were on the tip of his tongue. He didn't know whether to run after her or wait for her to return. If she returns he said solemnly slumping further down on the couch ignoring that his tall frame was nearly off of the piece of furniture.
She had asked for space to think and John decided that perhaps he should be more Minbari like in this situation instead of human and not press the issue. Minbaris, like humans were aggressive and forceful, but not in matters of the heart. He was convinced that they probably felt things a lot deeper than most humans gave them credit for which he surmised accounted for their dependence on rituals and self imposed control measures. Aggression and passion is a powerful combination and humans found out exactly how the two could be explosive when left unchecked during the bitter Earth-Minbari War. No other species could truly hold the Minbari race in check so they controlled themselves through rituals, rites of passages, meditations, religion, and so on. Without these practices and beliefs what would prevent them from going mad together as Delenn had once described their state of mind during the war.
You must give her the space she requested and deserves. She loves you John and will return when she is calm and no longer wants to rip your head off. He smiled at this last thought knowing full well that his wife was so much stronger that her petite frame would lead one to believe. Along with her crest and pronounced brow Delenn's Minbari strength survived the transformation meaning she was more than capable of bringing her husband to his knees literally. Although John knew Delenn would never do such a thing it was a humbling thought all the same.
Delenn had gone straight to her quarters passing no one in the corridor except a security guard which was normal for that time of the morning or night depending on how you looked at it. Her door swooshed open and a surge of relief passed over her as she sought out two long white candles which she placed on the floor next to a pillow on which she knelt after removing her outer robe.
Delenn meditated for over an hour and when she finally opened her eyes her soul still felt heavy but her anger and confusion were gone. Meditation doesn't solve all ills Delenn, she reminded herself as she blew the candle out and rose to go into her bedroom. Delenn smiled at her slanted bed and while she no longer believed that sleeping in the horizontal tempted fate she still found much comfort and peace on the Minbari contraption.
Delenn drifted into a short and restless sleep but was unable to do much more and she knew why. She missed John even his snoring and knew that the universe would not allow her a peaceful slumber until she and John mended the fracture in their relationship.
Two hours passed before John heard the front door cycle open and the soft rustle of Delenn making tea in the small kitchen. Every impulse in his body wanted to jump from the bed to greet his wife but remembering his plan to stay calm and allow Delenn to come to him on her own terms he willed his body to not move. He also asked it to relax but that was going a bit far considering he had just spent the last two hours pacing the floor and only hopping into bed ten minutes before Delenn entered.
"You can stop pretending John. I know you couldn't sleep anymore than I could," Delenn asserted from the bedroom door in a soft tone. John turned over on his side to see his wife leaning against the door jam in only her black ankle length silk nightgown that fit every curve of her body like a glove. She was gorgeous without even trying John thought to himself as he sat up and swung his legs to the floor in a sitting position. He knew they needed to talk but as he swept his eyes appraisingly over her shapely form and sparkling green eyes talking was the last thing on his mind.
Both maintained their positions for two minutes John sitting and Delenn standing only seven feet apart neither knowing quite how to bridge the divide. Finally, Delenn moved and took her place next to John on the bed suddenly very conscious of his bare chest and tousled hair which sent her heart a flutter. He looked good and she had to force her eyes away lest they betray her thoughts.
John took a chance and kissed his wife's naked shoulders that held up the spaghetti strap from her nightgown. She was warm and smelled of lavender. He waited for her to move away from him as she had done earlier but she stayed statue still. He moved up to her neck gently probing with his full lips until he reached her throbbing vein and still she didn't move.
Overwhelmed with arousal Delenn sat rigid on the bed hands clasped fiercely in her lap eyes closed and heart rate steadily increasing. John bit into her supple neck teeth grazing and lips pulling her skin into his wet mouth gently with an undertone of forced control. Delenn let out a whimper and her body totally betrayed her mind as it craved for more of his touch.
"Good god Delenn I was so afraid that I had ruined everything between us," John admitted running his hands through Delenn's hair. "It was stupid of me to allow a short lived marriage engaged in by a man child too young to make a wise decision to jeopardize what we have built sweetheart."
John sweetly kissed her cheek grateful that she allowed such intimacy. "I was ashamed of making such a dumb move and even more ashamed for hiding it all of these years from my family and friends."
He looked her in the eyes and said earnestly, "I didn't want you to think that I looked upon the institution of marriage as one that is entered into and ended lightly."
"Minbari rituals are designed to prevent such mistakes John," Delenn finally said after bringing her desire within a range that would allow coherent thought.
"I know you take marriage seriously John that is not up for debate," she reassured. "While I cannot always share things with you because it is clan or caste related the same as there were certain things you couldn't share with me because I wasn't a member of your crew in all other respects John I do not expect to be kept in the dark and you have the right to expect the same of me."
"I know Delenn," he responded quickly. "Captain Lochley is the right person for the job in spite of our past. She is dedicated, smart, and trust worthy. With Ivanova gone B5 needed someone of her caliber to step up to the plate."
Pulling her closer John said, "If you think there is still something between us…"
She cut him off, "I don't. That is not what this is about."
"John we both had fulfilling lives before we met each other and we both did things that we have grown to regret. I have many of them John and I would never judge you for yours or question your sincerity now. I just feel…" She paused searching for the correct English words. Flustered she threw her hands up in the air then forced herself to calm down and try again while John waited patiently.
"I felt foolish and embarrassed because every time I spoke with the captain she knew something important about my husband that I didn't and every time the two of you were together you shared that secret and consciously decided to keep it just that."
Anger unexpectedly renewed Delenn stood and asked forcefully, "If Captain Lochley hadn't revealed herself when we spoke earlier when were you going to tell me?"
She looked at him closely and said, "Were you ever going to tell me John or were you simply going to allow me to befriend your first wife and allow me to continue to make a fool of myself?"
How this conversation and Delenn's mood had shifted so fast John didn't know but one thing he did know was that if he didn't get the train back on the track very soon he would be spending many nights alone.
"I was going to tell you soon honey," he said pulling her back down next to him. "Lochley asked me to say nothing to anyone because she didn't want the staff to think that she got the job for the wrong reasons. She felt it would undermine her authority especially since it was obvious that the entire station loved and respected Ivanova so much."
"John I am not one of her staff and that level of rationale doesn't make sense when it comes to me," she snapped.
"I know dear but she made me promise to tell no one, not even you. She didn't know how you would react and whether that would impact her ability to work with you and the other ambassadors. I told her that was ridiculous of course but she didn't know you or how we work around here so her concerns weren't that far fetched looking at it from her perspective."
He looked into her smoldering eyes and knew he better continue. "I should not have made that promise Delenn. I was desperate to bring her on board and entered into an agreement against my better judgment but once I gave her my word I felt compelled to keep it. I figured once you got to know her you would understand why I selected her above all others."
"We can never allow others to dictate what transpires between the two of us John," Delenn chided.
"I know honey, it was a mistake and one that I will never make again," he assured pulling her into an embrace.
"I love you Delenn more than the world itself and I apologize if my poor decision made you feel foolish or embarrassed you. That was not my intent, please forgive me."
What could Delenn say to that? She forgave him of course and they stayed up for another two hours talking everything through between small kisses and nibbles that grew into passionate kisses that resulted in flying clothes, sweaty bodies, fits of screams, and finally exhaustion.
As Delenn and John lay in each other's arms content that they had survived their first marital hiccup as well as the makeup sex John asked jokingly, "Are there any Minbari husband's in your closet that you would like to unveil honey?"
Delenn leaned off of his chest and looked upon him very seriously and for a minute John's draw dropped and the slightest embers of jealousy started to burn until he saw the twinkle in her eyes. Grabbing her into a big bear hug John said, "Don't ever scare me like that again."
"It would serve you right if I had been married previously," Delenn mocked.
"It would indeed," admitted John, "but I don't think I could handle the thought of another man…"
He never finished his sentence opting to show her instead.