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Delenn of Mir and John Sheridan
Perspectives on Shan F'al
Delenn pulled John into her bedchamber then turned, and slid the doors close after bowing slightly to her guests. She turned back to a fuming and confused John Sheridan.
"This isn't exactly what I had in mind, Delenn, when you invited me here. You should've told me that we wouldn't be alone."
Sheridan was visibly upset and irritated by what he perceived to be yet another unnecessary Minbari ritual. Although, if he was perfectly honest, he would have admitted that part of his irritation and anger had less to do with the current situation and more with his run-in with Mr. Garibaldi.
Refusing to let the evening be spoiled by a cultural misunderstanding, Delenn chose to ignore John's overly human need to verbally vent his disapproval and pulled him down to her. She pulled his head down to hers and kissed him fully and passionately on the lips. She ran her tongue over his lips insistently until he opened his mouth to her, which she then explored with such depth and sensuality that Sheridan felt his entire body weaken under her strong embrace.
When she finally released him all Sheridan could do was stare, mouth still tingling from the touch and taste of her. Delenn had never, in all the time they've known each other, kissed him like that. He would have definitely remembered if she had, for his body would have demanded more like it was now. He didn't know if Minbari tongued kissed or whether it was Delenn simply experimenting with her human side. Whatever it was, John instantly forgot about the Minbari in the other room.
"You've never kissed me like that before," he finally said after getting his mind and body under relative control.
Delenn looked down a bit shyly then raised her sparkling green eyes and said, "I wasn't permitted to kiss you like that before. It would've been most inappropriate to do so."
"According to whom?" John questioned, pulling Delenn to him, feeling he'd been shortchanged the last few months. He always thought Delenn a good and passionate kisser, but he never knew she could do such erotic things with her tongue.
"According to my clan elders, John," Delenn answered. "Such intimate displays of affection are frowned upon if done too early in the mating process. Minbari take the union of body and soul very seriously, and one cannot move forward simply because. . ."
Delenn didn't finish the sentence, she didn't have to. Sheridan knew what she was thinking even if her religious training wouldn't allow her to speak the words. Humans, unlike Minbari, had a bad habit of letting physical desire guide their actions and decisions with little thought to the consequences. John was no stranger to this type of human behavior, for if Delenn was willing, he would have made love to her months ago and damn Minbari customs and rituals.
But John knew better than to push an intimate relationship before Delenn was ready. Although there were many nights they chatted in his quarters as he held her, and she gave every indication she wanted him as much as he wanted her. He was convinced she felt the same, but her training and commitment to her beliefs prevented her from acting on her desires, and if that kiss was any indication, her need for him was as great as his for her.
As Delenn thought how to finish her sentence, John pulled her closer to him and kissed her forehead, her cheek, her neck, and then her waiting lips. And her mind temporarily shut down. The kiss was slow, warm, and full of promise. She felt her body melting into his and her control slowly slipping away with each caress of his hands up and down her back and waist.
Forcing herself to pull away from him, Delenn said in a low husky voice, "I should've told you about the others. Sometimes I forget you don't know Minbari ways."
"It's all right, Delenn, I'm sure we can make do."
For the first time since entering, John surveyed the room. He had never been in Delenn's sleeping quarters before and while she was the focus of many dreams, he could never quite envision her room. It was much larger than his own, and candles decorated and illuminated the space in a brilliant glow of white. He noticed the slanted bed and frowned, remembering his inability to conquer the device. He managed well enough on board Delenn's ship, but it took her soothing touch and voice to help him find peace and eventually sleep. It was that night he knew there was definitely something more between them than mere friendship.
The floor was covered with pillows and silk throw covers of various sizes, shapes and colors. White candles and crystals also decorated the floor in various spots, which seemed quite deliberate. He didn't have to know why the candles and crystals were placed where they were, but knew there must be significance to their placement. He learned early on that Minbari were very deliberate in all their actions, even the most mundane of activities like eating and sleeping.
"I have a request, Delenn, if it won't be too much trouble."
"Of course, John, if there is anything I can do to make you more comfortable, you need only ask."
John looked towards the frosted doors, thinking of the four Minbari women and Lennier on the other side. "Can we extinguish a few candles and turn on the Babcom unit to play a little music?"
Delenn didn't pretend to understand his request but she proceeded to blow out several candles around the room. John approached the Babcom unit and pushed the screen several times. A soft melody moved through the room and settled in comfortably for the rest of the night. Delenn turned a warm smile to John and asked curiously, "What do you call this?"
"It's slow jazz from the 1940s. Jazz is a style of music native to America characterized by a strong but flexible rhythmic understructure with solo and ensemble improvisations in basic tunes and chord patterns. Do you like it honey?"
Delenn nodded her head, amazed at the various ways humans had of expressing themselves. While the music was quite pleasant, she still couldn't figure out why John wanted to play music at this very moment. He had been to her quarters many times for dinner or simply to visit and talk, and never once had he requested jazz or any other type of music, human or otherwise.
Humans are very strange creatures. She shrugged. If it makes him happy then I see no harm in including his jazz into the ritual.
Part of Lennier hoped that Captain John Sheridan would simply turn around and leave once he noticed the Minbari entourage. The look on Sheridan's face clearly revealed his ignorance of the ritual and his absolute inability to take the slightest initiative to research such an important Minbari custom. To Lennier's dismay, Delenn was able to soothe Sheridan's ruffled feathers and he reluctantly followed her into the bedroom.
Lennier found himself become angry when Sheridan entered Delenn's sacred abode, a place that had always been off limits to him, but was suddenly open and inviting to Sheridan. His face turned a surprising shade of crimson as he saw the two figures on the other side of the frosted doors embrace in what was obviously a long kiss.
Lennier turned away from the scene as disgusted by the knowledge that John Sheridan would have so much of Delenn tonight as by his own jealous reaction to seeing them together like this. He knew Sheridan loved Delenn and that she reciprocated such affections. He had no right to feel what he was feeling. Delenn, his mentor, his friend had asked him to do her the honor of watching and praying over her one and only Shan F'al and here he was feeling like a jilted lover.
She is your mentor, Lennier, and nothing more can exist between the two of you. You have her trust, friendship, and respect. This is so much more than is granted to any aid or acolyte. So, why is it not enough for you? You have indeed spent too much time among humans. You forget your training and place. Delenn is destined for another, even if that other is a human.
Lennier briefly turned his attention away from Delenn's bedroom door and to the other members of his caste who were awaiting his directive. In their native language, he bid the women to kneel on the pillows he had already laid out for them. They did so and the oldest woman in the group lit the four long, white candles that were placed in the center of the circle. The women bowed their heads and began a soft prayer that sounded very much like a beautifully written love song.
Lennier couldn't help but take one more look over his right shoulder at the closed door. The once illuminated room was now shrouded in near darkness and the strangest sound could be heard coming from it. Not only could Lennier no longer see their shadowy forms, but the sound prevented him from hearing any words they may have been exchanging. Lennier didn't know whether to be upset or relieved. But one thing was certain, Lennier found no respite from his thoughts. For the first time in his life, meditation did nothing to control the varied and raging emotions that wracked his body and Delenn was at the center of his emotional storm.
John watched Delenn as she removed her shoes and stockings. He followed her lead, taking off his shoes and socks and placing them neatly by the closet door as Delenn had done. John had no idea what to expect, so as usual, he waited for Delenn to enlighten him. She gestured for him to kneel on the blue pillow to which she pointed and she knelt on the one directly opposite him.
"Don't be nervous, John."
"I'm not. . ." He grinned, knowing she knew he was, no matter how hard he tried to hide it.
"I just don't know what to do and don't want to make a fool of myself."
Delenn smiled, remembering their first dinner together in which he had, in spite of himself, fallen asleep.
"Believe it or not, John, this is quite a simple ritual-one that you are well suited for as both a man and a human."
John gave her a questioning look, not quite sure how she meant for him to take that comment. Delenn laughed and said, "You are an explorer by nature, John, and it is my understanding that human males take great pride in exploring the opposite sex."
John gulped at her words and Delenn let out another soft laugh. She was as nervous as he, but at least she knew what was to come and this knowledge made her body tingle with anticipation.
There were so many responses to that statement, some naughty, some vulgar that John thought of but he eventually settled on, "You said the other Minbari were here to make sure things don't go too far. What did you mean by that Delenn?"
She wondered how long it would take him to get around to asking the question that was foremost in his mind. "The Shan F'al is a ritual designed to give the couple an opportunity to respectfully explore their mate's centers of pleasure before the final coupling takes place."
She could see in his eyes that her explanation wasn't satisfactory or lacked clarity. "John if you are asking me whether we can fully consummate our union tonight the answer is no."
She looked into his eyes to gauge his reaction to her bluntness. While this was par for the course for a Minbari male Delenn was well aware that human males' ideas about sex were quite different. It always amazed her how John had never directly asked her about Minbari sexual customs or practices but simply followed her lead never pushing, never prodding. She loved him for the faith and trust he placed in her and as she looked deep into his eyes she saw nothing but love shining back at her and the respect he showed for her cultural norms and mores.
John reached across and gently held Delenn's hands in his own. "It's fine Delenn. I would be lying though if I said I'm not a bit disappointed but I can wait."
"You have waited John and I expect more patiently than is normal for a male human or otherwise."
"I love you Delenn," he reassured slidng a few candles and crystals out of his way so he could move closer. "Our relationship isn't about the physical. Too many human relationships are based on that and that alone and there is nothing else to sustain it. Over time such unions disintegrate because the couple got together for the wrong reasons. That will never happen to us Delenn. We have been through too much together and our minds, hearts, and souls merged long before our lips ever did."
She smiled at this truth and pushed back unshed tears.
"The lovemaking will come Delenn but it won't matter nearly as much if those other things aren't present first."
John didn't know where those words had come from. He knew himself to be no poet but the words were from his heart.
This time Delenn did indeed cry and John quickly wiped the tears away. He leaned in close to her ear and whispered, "I want to make love to you more than anything Delenn but when we do I don't want you to have any regrets."
He held her firmly to him feeling her body tremble under his soft caresses and stimulating words.
And Delenn whispered in turn, "John just because we aren't allowed to fully consummate our relationship doesn't mean that other forms of exploration are off limits."
John pulled back slightly but still held her close and naively asked, "What does that mean?"
"It means John that this is a pleasure seeking ritual and there is more than one type of pleasure that a man and woman can engage. You shouldn't think so narrowly."
John laughed so loud and hard that Lennier could hear him even over the music. "Woo Hoo," he shouted with glee.
Delenn couldn't help but shake her head at his very human and male behavior. Humans were boisterous and she rarely understood the need to show the world such extreme emotions. But that was there way and what made them a fierce and enduring species Delenn thought.
John asked excitedly, "Where do we begin?"
"We need to pray first. I will recite each prayer in English for you and you need only repeat after me."
"Then what?" he asked impatiently.
"Then we undress."
He stared at her his lips moving but no words came out.
"Did you think we were going to explore each other through our clothing John?" Delenn asked with a hint of laughter in her tone.
"Well. . . I just thought there would be more to it than that."
"I told you it is a rather simple ritual. The others will meditate and pray for our successful joining and spiritual understanding out there while we learn about each other in here. Minbari believe that mates must possess a complete understanding of each other on every level-spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and physical. And if there is a lack of agreement that can not be overcome then they will simply part ways and seek another to whom they are a better match."
She smiled at him and said, "Our case is unique John and while I have no doubt about our compatability we shouldn't tempt fate. Besides, if our joining is to be accepted by my clan I must adhere to all of the mating rituals."
John nodded his head in understanding and realized for the first time how much power the clan and caste have over its' members. He paled at the idea that Delenn's clan elders could prevent their marriage if they disapproved of their joining despite Delenn's love for him. Then he remembered her last trip to Minbar and her solemn behavior and urgent need to finish the sleep watching ritual before she left. She had never given him a straight answer to any of his questions but he knew the trip bothered her no matter how hard she tried to keep it from showing. He also could clearly see the Delenn that returned was much happier than the one that had left. He wanted to know if her trip had anything to do with their joining and her choice of a non-Minbari, especially, 'Starkiller," for her mate.
No matter she's mine now and I'll be damned if I'll let Minbari or human prejudice tear us apart.
Delenn rearranged the candles and crystals and started her prayer. Like a parrot John repeated every word and phrase precisely. The prayers were more like life lessons and advice to the mating couple. They were surprisingly practical even if a bit long winded. But in the end John had enjoyed the prayers and learning the significance of each of the colorful glowing crystals.
Delenn meticulously covered the importance of each beautifully crafted crystal to John. The red crystal signified both love and anger which was part of every relationship. The key, according to the prayer that followed, was for the love the couple shared for each other to outweigh the anger that arose due to arguments and misunderstandings. Anger was necessary in any relationship for without it the couple couldn't truly understand or appreciate the love that held them together.
The green crystal signified durability and optimism. This crystal held particular importance for John and Delenn who were entering into an unknown-the bonding of two unique cultures after a devastating war. Their love and commitment to each other and the universe depended so much on their durability and optimism.
And finally the blue crystal represented peace and trust. This was their vision for the future. They both had seen so much war and as a result a lack of trust between and among the species. They had both yearned for peace even when waging war but now it was time for them to move in a new direction and lead others into new age of self-actualization and equality.
Delenn opened a gold box and reverently placed the three crystals inside. She sat them aside then turned her green eyes back to John.
"It is customary for the woman to undress the man first and explore his body but if you would rather go first that is fine as well."
John started coughing unable to believe how matter –of –factly Delenn had just suggested that he could remove her clothing right after engaging in a forty-five minute non-stop prayer session. John felt himself tense and start to sweat. He frankly didn't care who went first as long as he had a chance to see, feel, and taste the woman who had been the star of all of his wet dreams for the last year and a half.
John thought about it for just a few seconds and said, "Perhaps we could undress each other."
Now it was Delenn's turn to think and she did almost as long as it had taken John to come up with his suggestion. "I don't know of any rules we would be breaking if we did it your way John. Like I said the ritual is simple and unique to each couple save the prayers."
"Good." John smiled brightly and placed his right hand firmly against Delenn's left cheek. He gently massaged her cheek before moving his hand to the back of her neck and eventually into her long brown hair. John scooted closer to Delenn as he raked his fingers through her hair moving ever closer to her crest. He had never touched her crest before even though he wondered how it would feel. But he was always too afraid of offending Delenn to ask.
But the purpose of the ritual was to explore your partner and right now John wanted to explore Delenn's most visual Minbari feature. He finally reached the point where scalp met crest and Delenn let out a soft sigh when his strong fingers slipped across the more sensitive regions. John pressed his body into hers and continued to feel the exquisite texture of Delenn's crest. It was both soft and hard and John quickly discovered that it was the soft portions of the crest which brought Delenn the most pleasure. He experimented with different levels of pressure and based on the moans he elicited from Delenn he not only knew where to touch her but the amount of pressure to use that would drive her mad with desire and need.
He kissed her deeply while massaging his new found treasure intently to increase the obvious pleasure he was giving her. Prior to Delenn's transformation her crest was just like any other Minbari crest not only in form and purpose but in sensation or rather the lack thereof. There was no sensation to a typical Minbari crest but after the transformation hers was quite sensitive in certain areas and John god help him was driving Delenn absolutely crazy with his attentions to this part of her body.
John eventually released Delenn and smiled lasciviously at her and said, "You are a woman full of surprises. I had no idea."
"Neither did I," Delenn admitted body hot and throbbing with arousal. She instantly wanted to feel more of John and started to unbutton his shirt. She slipped the garment off his body and took her time exploring his upper body with her small soft fingers. John closed his eyes as the sensation of Delenn's insistent and searching fingers moved from his shoulders down his arms up his chest and down to his stomach.
She was totally focused on his body with the intent of unearthing every pleasure center. While Minbaris are by far stronger than humans, most are quite small in stature especially men of the religious caste. Delenn found John's broad shoulders, muscled arms, and taut stomach intoxicating, hynoptic. Her lithe fingers roamed his entire upper body enjoying the feel of his hard form under her hands. Boldly she leaned in and started placing kisses along his neck, tasting him for the first time. John told himself to stay still and relax for if he didn't he wasn't entirely sure he could resist the temptation to grind his growing manhood against Delenn far sooner than he thought was allowed.
From his neck Delenn's tongue traveled down to his shoulders where she bit him ever so lightly. He moaned at the pleasing contact and she smiled with the knowledge that she had found yet another pleasure center. She moved her exploration to his nipples which she kissed then sucked until they were hard and at full attention.
"Good god Delenn, that feels so good," John moaned lying back on a pile of pillows and pulling Delenn with him.
She straddled his thighs trying her best to ignore the growing bulge in his pants. Delenn kissed his stomach and slid her tongue into his belly button which caused John to suck in a deep breath.
She has no idea what she is doing to me. I had no idea my sweet disciplined Delenn could be so damn sensual. Shit if she keeps doing that to my chest while so close to my erection even the music won't be able to drown me out.
John quickly flipped himself and Delenn over and now he lay on top of her.
"My turn," he said with a wicked smile.
He had to take control of the situation if he was to survive the night with his dignity and sanity in tact. She was driving him crazy and was either too innocent or too beguiling to know it. John wasn't quite sure which. But one thing was sure there was much more to Delenn than he would have ever guessed and the fact that he had the good fortune to have her choose him was indeed his blessing.
Delenn's heart beat faster than she could ever remember it beating. Her desire for John Sheridan was so beyond anything she had ever experienced she barely recognized herself.
It must be the transformation and the human part of me for no Minbari would react like this. My body has never reacted to anyone the way it reacts to him. My thoughts aren't what they should be. This is supposed to be a sacred ceremony and all I can think about is the feel of his body against mine. Oh Valen if anyone knew how un-Minbari I feel when he looks at me the way he is doing now they would swear I'm nothing more than a human pretending to be a Minbari.
John slowly ran his hands down Delenn's brown jumper. This was one of the few outfits she wore that really accentuated her lean tight figure. John always liked her in this outfit and while it was normally worn when she was on the White Star she wore it tonight and for that he was most pleased.
She squirmed a little under his touch and bit her lip willing her emotions to obey her commands. John took immense pleasure in teasing Delenn through her clothing noticing her shallow breaths each time he traveled her body with his strong hands gently rubbing across her belly and breasts. He eventually searched out and found the simple clasps that held the jumper together and undid them. This move was almost his own undoing for all Delenn wore under the dress was a black silk camisole and matching panties.
"Good god Delenn is this all you wear under your robes?" he found himself blurting out eyes still transfixed on her body.
"No John Minbari women normally wear a long silk tunic but." She looked away shyly and finally said, "But during the Shan F'al we are permitted to exercise our own judgment. I thought these garments would please you."
"Hell yeah they please me Delenn."
He leaned down and kissed her firmly on the lips. "Honey you have no idea how much seeing you in them pleases me. Almost as much as removing them will." He winked at her and said, "Almost."
Delenn smiled for she knew very little about human clothing especially lingerie. It had taken her three attempts before she finally mustered enough courage to go into the lingerie store in Down Below and purchase the items. She wore her robe with the hood to cover her crest. To anyone looking at her she was just another human with long brown hair. It was the crest along with the long brown hair that signaled to anyone looking that she was the Minbari Ambassador and for the first time since her transformation she wanted people to see her as a human and nothing else. It just wouldn't do for people to know, especially her people, that the Minbari Ambassador was buying lingerie. What would people think? Well she knew perfectly well what they would think hence the simple but effective disguise.
John continued to soak in Delenn's delectable form. She was petite he had known that already but he could now see how fit her form was and how well toned she kept that petite form. She was very pale and John didn't think that in spite of her change Delenn, like full Minbari, could tan. And aside from her luscious head of hair Delenn was totally hairless. She was as smooth as a baby's bottom not that there was anything childlike about Delenn's body John mused.
Oh hell she is more beautiful than I thought. Calm down John, just calm the hell down before you give those damn Minbari a reason to come in here and spoil all the fun.
Her skin was without a single blemish that John could see and he couldn't help but slide his hands all over her silky-smooth skin. He had to feel her and he took much delight in doing so causing Delenn to writhe under his gentle probing caresses. Once removing the camisole he explored her upper body the way she had done him with searing hot kisses and a wet persistent tongue. He sucked her small firm breast enjoying her reaction to his touch and the way her body moved under his demanding more contact.
Oh Valen please. Is this ritual meant to make me feel so utterly weak and helpless in his hands? I have no control over my body and my mind has virtually betrayed me. I never knew it would feel like this. I never knew that anyone could make me feel like this and that I would enjoy the loss of control. And the absolute power of the body over the mind.
John covered Delenn's entire body with his own after she removed his pants leaving only the boxers. They showered each other with tongue probing kisses that only stirred the flame rising between them as John rocked his hard body against Delenn's. She could feel his erection between her legs and she arched further into his body. Just two thin layers of clothing stood between them and full penetration John thought as he considered putting some distance between them before he did something he would regret.
John remembered Delenn's words and knew that there were avenues he hadn't yet explored. He rolled them over on their sides and said in a near whisper, "Touch me Delenn." To emphasize his point at her shy expression he pulled her hand and placed it down his boxers and said hoarsely, "Please touch me Delenn."
Delenn was surprised by John's sudden request for she hadn't quite worked up the nerve to even look at that part of him so the thought of touching him there was a far second. She did of course want to do both and it had shocked her exactly how much. But John cut through all of her uncertainty and fear and now she was holding him and damn if he didn't feel good. She moved her hand slowly up and down his shaft and sounds came from him that she had never heard before but wanted to hear again and again.
"Aw honey that feels so damn good," he said capturing her lips.
John pulled Delenn closer to him and pulled her panties down after he had taken his boxers off. Placing her left hand back on his lingam John kissed Delenn again as he pumped slowly into her hand. John slipped his right hand between them and started massaging Delenn's stomach then moved further south. Delenn jumped at his touch on her most sensitive and female of spots. No one had ever touched her there before and while it throbbed incessantly for John's touch her nerves got the best of her.
"Shh, it's alright Delenn," he soothed. "I won't hurt you. Do you trust that I know what I'm doing Delenn?" John asked figuring that human and Minbari sexual practices were vastly different. And that Delenn had shouldered most of the burden of bridging the two cultures in their relationship thus far.
"Yes I trust you John," Delenn replied softly and kissed him again to reinforce her statement.
"Good then let me discover exactly what pleases my Minbari wife - to - be."
John pleasured Delenn with his fingers and brought her to and over the edge right before her masterful hand did the same for him. They were exhausted but still their bodies ached for one another. John rolled over on top of Delenn and kissed her fiercely still not quite done with her yet. He grinded his lingam against her placing it directly between her legs and against her clitoris until it stiffened yet again from the wonderful vibration.
Delenn arched her back and cried out in her native tongue as John rubbed his hardened manhood against her with intense ferocity. The stimulation was almost more than either one of them could take but they held each other tight until the sensation overwhelmed them and bliss finally came with a great triumphant release.
They held each other for a long time afterwards talking about random things between kisses and other explorations.
"I love you Delenn," John said with a note of finality, "and I will never complain about another Minbari ritual ever again."
Delenn laughed and said, "I love you too John and I will never again complain about your overactive imagination and abundance of energy."
They both laughed at this.
"I think this is my absolute favorite ritual Delenn."
"I thought it would be."
"When is it over honey?"
"It's over when I recite the concluding prayer and we meditate on the night's events."
John pulled Delenn on top of him and leaned up to kiss her and said, "I think there are parts of the ritual I would like to review to make sure I understand all of the cultural imperatives. What about you Delenn?"
Delenn looked down at John heat settling in her and said, "Well as Ambassador to Minbar it is my responsibility and duty to promote, educate, and help elevate the younger species. And I can clearly see that you are already responding to my attentions."
"Yes that's it Ambassador Delenn I definitely need more of your cross-cultural tutoring and as you can see or rather feel," he said with an enticing grin, "you already have my full attention."
They both laughed again and settled in for another great exploration of Venus and Mars.