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Delenn of Mir and John Sheridan
A Question of Faith
John Sheridan heard Dr. Franklin quite clearly when he told him, Delenn, his half Minbari half human wife was pregnant with their child. To say he was shocked would be the understatement of the year. To say he was happy beyond belief would be as big an understatement. In truth, he was both with a side of fear and concern to round out his hodgepodge of emotions.
Sheridan stared at Delenn with a silly crooked smile on his face as she lay in Medlab oblivious to her current health status. All Delenn knew was one minute she was fuming over alliance business and the next she was in Medlab. Beyond that, her memory of fainting in John's office was lost somewhere in hyperspace. She didn't know why John was staring at her like that, or why no one had bothered to explain what had happened to her. Delenn was tired, had been for the last week or so. And the only thing she wanted to do was find her robes, get dressed, and retreat to the sanctuary of her and John's quarters. At this point, Delenn really didn't care whose quarters she went to just as long as she was with John and out of Medlab.
Sheridan returned his gaze back to Dr. Franklin and asked, "When can I check her out of here, Stephen?"
"I just need to run a few more tests to make sure her heart rate is normal, and she is fully hydrated." Dr. Franklin frowned slightly as he took in his patient through the glass partition. "I'm in uncharted waters here, John," he finally said after a few thoughtful moments. "Delenn's physiology is unique and without precedent."
John's sense of fear and concern suddenly took a giant step forward. "What are you saying, Stephen?"
"Nothing," he said with a shrug, belying his own concern that came with being a doctor and Delenn and John's friend.
"Dammit, Stephen, don't frighten me like that then say it's nothing."
"Look, John, you know I will do everything in my power to make sure Delenn and the baby make it through this just fine. I would feel better, however, if I knew exactly what to expect."
"Hell, if you don't know there damn sure isn't any other doctor that will either. You know all the changes that have taken place since the transformation." John's head started to throb at the thought that something could quite possibly happen to Delenn, the baby, or God forbid, both of them. Refusing to allow his mind to travel down the morbid road of worse case scenarios John said, "I trust you, Stephen, to do all you can for my family. And Delenn has absolute faith in the universe. Between you and Delenn's faith, I'm confident all will work out for the best." He sounded more hopeful than he felt, but he wanted to believe it, he needed to believe it, for his sake and Delenn's.
John rushed Delenn out of Medlab so fast he hadn't given her an opportunity to pose the question that was foremost in her mind-What's wrong with me? She was none-too-pleased with he and Dr. Franklin's evasive answers and conspiratorial looks they kept shooting each other. She was tired and hungry and quite frankly she was the patient, and they had no right to keep her in the dark. And if Delenn's head wasn't still spinning and her stomach still turning she would've told them both exactly that. Instead, she allowed Dr. Franklin to proceed with his little tests and for John to needlessly fuss over her. She simply wanted to leave the sterile place, and if that meant biting her tongue and playing the good patient, she would do it. She didn't like it in the least, but it was a small price to pay to spare herself a night in Medlab. And John . . . well, he would tell her what she wanted to know once they returned to his quarters, or he would have one hell of an angry Minbari on his hands.
The entire walk from Medlab to his quarters seemed to be a lot longer than John remembered. Or perhaps it was just his mind playing tricks on him. He contemplated the best way to tell Delenn and the possible ways she could react to the news. They hadn't even talked about having children. She probably thought he didn't want to have children considering he and Anna never had. Aw hell, John, this is a fine time to realize your wife may believe you may not want the child she's carrying. Well, I'll remedy that first. I never even allowed myself to believe we could have a baby. I just thought it wasn't in the cards for me. Now . . .
John mindlessly keyed in the code to his quarters and helped Delenn into the quiet living area. The lights were dimmed low. Instead of turning them up fully, John opted to light a few of his wife's candles instead. He knew this would please her, and not assault her delicate senses. He washed his hands, and busied himself in the small kitchenette, preparing a light meal and tea for them. He wasn't a chef to be sure, but since marrying Delenn, he bugged Mr. Garibaldi to teach him a few tricks, so he wouldn't embarrass himself completely in front of his new bride. In truth, John only managed to learn just enough to make simple meals, and not poison himself and his wife. As limited as his culinary skills were, they would serve him well tonight.
While John was preoccupied in the kitchen, Delenn made her way to the bedroom. She undressed and took a shower. The aromatic scent of her favorite tea brewing brought a smile to Delenn's face as she slipped into an unassuming all-white Minbari robe. It was light weight, made of silk, and felt heavenly against her near naked body. She heard her husband humming in the other room and wondered what had put him in such a good mood considering she'd fainted, and had been rushed to Medlab as a result.
Delenn walked out of the bedroom, and spotted a smiling John setting the table. She didn't think she had seen him smile like that since their wedding day, and again she wondered what had put him in such a rare mood. She also wondered how long it would take for him to tell her what he and Stephen were keeping from her. She surmised that it couldn't be bad, for if it was Stephen would've never released her into John's care, and her husband wouldn't now have that goofy smile on his face.
"John, are you going to tell me or do I have to faint again to get your attention?"
Sheridan finally looked up, and if he wasn't already holding onto one of the chairs he could've quite possibly fainted himself from the sight of his wife. Her hair was still slightly damp from the shower, and it hung down and onto her shoulders. She wore a simple, but stunning robe that accentuated every delicious curve of her body. And it was so thin. Not thin enough to see through, but shear enough to tempt. And damn if John wasn't tempted at this moment. He fought every urge to take Delenn back into the bedroom, and recreate the moment they had made their little one. Not that John knew when the child had been conceived, but that really wasn't the point.
Instead, John moved slowly around the table, pulled out the chair in front of Delenn, and bid her to sit. Once she was comfortable, he brought her a plate of fresh fruit, cheese, toast, and a cup of steaming hot ginger tea. "Eat first then we'll talk."
At her disapproving look he said sternly, "Eat Delenn, you must keep up your strength."
She had no idea where that comment had come from, but she didn't argue considering many of her meals of late hadn't stayed down long enough to provide the slightest bit of nourishment. In her haste to get out of Medlab, Delenn had forgotten to ask Stephen about her queasy stomach. She was convinced she had caught something from somewhere. Probably, a human illness she'd never heard of before. She made a mental note to see Dr. Franklin first thing in the morning.
Seeing John wasn't going to answer any of her questions unless she ate her light dinner, she did as he said. He joined her, and they had a nice quiet meal.
As the fruit and cheese slowly vanished from Delenn's plate, the more nervous John became. He knew he couldn't stall any longer, and that Delenn needed to know what was going on with her body. Hell, he didn't know a damn thing about Minbari pregnancies, and figured Delenn knew even less about Human pregnancies. Shit, shit, shit, the blind leading the blind. I need to really call mom and dad on this one. He laughed inwardly, realizing how much he was looking forward to sharing the news with his family. They would be so happy for them, especially his father who'd taken a shine to Delenn from the moment he'd met her.
"Okay John, I've finished the lovely meal you prepared for me. I've been patient, and have fought every desire not to torture the truth out of you or Stephen. But a Minbari, even a religious caste one, can only take so much. Tell me now or I will be forced to seek the answers in Medlab."
Damn, from her annoyed tone, Sheridan knew he'd waited too long, pushed her too far. She had a right to know from the very beginning, and his procrastination had done nothing for her mood. She was irritated, and slightly worried the news would be bad. He could see it in her emerald eyes no matter how hard she tried to mask her emotions. Reaching for Delenn, John settled her onto their sofa and sat next to her.
"I was just waiting for the right time to tell you, honey."
"Tell me what, John?"
Sheridan took in a deep breath, raked his hand through his hair, and said finally, "You're pregnant."
Delenn's forehead scrunched up, and had she had eyebrows they would've as well. "What? Pregnant?"
Sheridan looked at her not quite sure if she knew the word. He remembered when he was fumbling through his proposal, and he used the words engagement ring, she had looked at him with the same confused expression.
"Yes, Delenn. Pregnant means that—
"I know what the word means, John. I just. . . I just didn't think it was possible. I didn't think I could become pregnant." She stood suddenly and started pacing, ironically reminiscent of a father-to-be in a maternity waiting room-dazed and helpless.
Sheridan sat half on half off of the couch, like a driver approaching a yellow light, not quite knowing whether to slow down and stay put or speed up before the light turns red. He wanted to crush her body to his and tell her how much he loved her and their unborn child. But something about her yellow light demeanor held him firmly in place and he stopped, slowed down, and stayed put.
Delenn's normally calm and logical mind was being attacked on all fronts with emotions she didn't even have names for. She placed her hand over her flat stomach and imagined the child growing inside, and without warning burst into tears.
Sheridan sprang to his feet as fast as a mother lion protecting her cub, and was next to Delenn in a manner of seconds. He held her as her petite frame shook uncontrollably. Sheridan nearly carried her back to the sofa, wiping tears away as they went.
"Oh, honey, please don't cry," he soothed. "Everything will be all right, I promise." John didn't know for sure why Delenn was crying, or whether his promise even made sense. All he knew was he couldn't bear to see his wife cry, for any reason. "Please sweetheart, tell me what's wrong. Tell me what I can do."
Delenn raised her head from his shoulder, wiping her tears, suddenly embarrassed at her outburst. "I apologize, John, I don't know what has come over me."
"Well, I believe the hormones of pregnant women are usually blamed in such situations." Sheridan took Delenn's hands in his and said, "Just in case you're wondering, I couldn't be happier." He ran his right hand through her hair lovingly, and placed a sweet kiss on her lips. "I love you, Delenn, and the baby our love created. I know it's a surprise, but I think it's a beautiful surprise. As beautiful as any sunrise on Minbar, I would wager."
Delenn almost burst into tears again feeling her heart swell like a balloon being pumped with helium. Seeing this, he continued. "I honestly didn't think we were compatible enough to make a baby. I didn't dare wish the vision I'd seen of the future on Centauri Prime was true." Delenn remembered John telling her about his experience, meeting her future self, and the mentioning of a son. He was hesitant to do so, but after they married, he felt she had a right to know. Neither one of them truly believed that future would come true; although, they both secretly hoped the part with their son would come to pass.
"Hell, Delenn, we never even bothered to use birth control."
She frowned at him again, and this time he knew she had no idea what he was talking about. "Humans use birth control, Delenn, to prevent unwanted pregnancies."
Delenn nodded her head, comprehension dawning on her. "Minbari don't use such artificial means to prevent pregnancies."
"You mean to tell me, honey that as advanced as your civilization is you don't have any form of birth control available to your people."
"There's no need, John. We haven't taken such measures in over a thousand years. Every Minbari born to us is precious, for far too few are born each year. You forget, Minbari pregnancies are so rare, and have decreased with each passing year. We would never use birth control. That is for species that feel they have an abundance of people populating their planet. Unfortunately, we have just the opposite concern. This baby of ours, John, is a blessing. As a Minbari, I had only a small hope I would ever be with child, but once I went through the transformation, I had given up all hope of ever conceiving."
Delenn caressed John's cheek, and said, "You'll make a wonderful father."
The statement was heartfelt, John knew that but there was something in her tone and eyes that was left unsaid, like an iceberg whose true depth lie beneath the sea.
Rising to her feet Delenn said, "I'm tired, John, I think I will lie down."
She walked into the bedroom, and left John sitting on the couch pondering what in the hell had just happened. Heck, he wasn't even sure if she was happy. No, that wasn't true. Delenn had told him she didn't dare hope for a child, not because she didn't want one, but because she didn't think she would ever conceive. Delenn was honest and quite forthright but, like all Minbari, wasn't above withholding information that wasn't directly asked. And right now there was a question John needed his wife to answer.
After clearing the table, John joined Delenn in the bedroom. As he suspected she wasn't asleep, but meditating. He quietly moved into the bathroom to shower and prepare for bed. Almost twenty five minutes later, a showered and shaved John emerged from the steamy room. The lights were completely off save three candles that flickered in the dark, still room. And Delenn was no longer kneeling on the floor in deep meditation, but lying on her side of the bed on top of the covers. Despite her calm appearance and closed eyelids, her shallow breathing let John know she was fully awake.
He slid next to his wife, and placed his right hand on her smooth stomach while holding himself up on his left elbow. He started to lightly massage the area and said, "You will be a great mother to our child, Delenn."
Her eyes flew open, and she glared at him. "Don't you think so, honey?" He braved his wife's penetrating green crystal eyes, and had asked his question. Now, he need only wait for her reply.
She started to close her eyes and look away, but John's loving eyes stilled her. "I don't think I would know how to be a good mother," she confessed.
"Why, Delenn? You are the most loving and giving person I've ever met. What more could a child ask for in a parent? You love unconditionally and fiercely."
"I've heard your stories of life on Earth as a child. You grew up with both your parents who showered you with love and affection. And taught you and your sister life lessons you still carry with you till this very day."
"You've told me about your father, Delenn, and there is no doubt in my mind he loved you just as much as my parents love me."
"That is true, and if I was a man then perhaps I would know how to be a father. But I'm not and I never had a mother to show me how to be one now. I deluded myself into believing having a father's love and devotion was enough for a girl. But . . . I was wrong, John. I was so wrong. It never occurred to me how wrong I was until I saw your sister Liz with your mother and with her own children." This time, Delenn did close her eyes and turn away.
With this admission, John felt he understood his wife even more. Like a bandage to her childhood heart had been peeled away and left red and raw from neglect. Yet, despite her claims that her mother joining the Sisters of Valeria was an honor, her absence had left a hole in Delenn's heart, her soul. But she was not her mother. He could never imagine Delenn up and leaving their child no matter the perceived cultural and familial honor that joining the sisterhood would bring. Still rubbing her belly, John leaned over and kissed his wife on the cheek ever so gently and said, "You are not your mother, Delenn. It may not be my place to say so, but her leaving you as a child was her loss, and in my book, inexcusable."
Her eyes fluttered open again full of unshed tears. He knew he was taking a huge risk here questioning her culture, and judging her mother's decision, but dammit, leaving one's husband and newborn child was just wrong no matter the culture, no matter the race.
"John, you don't know what you're saying."
"The hell if I don't, Delenn. Instead of you being happy about this miracle of a pregnancy of ours, instead you're doubting your ability to be a good mother because your own mother wasn't worth a…" He caught himself and reeled in his anger at the delinquent mother-in-law he'd never met, but may one day once they moved to Minbar.
"All I'm saying, Delenn, is that you have no reason to doubt yourself. Believe me, I've met plenty of women and men, for that matter, who need to be sterilized. Who need to never be allowed within ten feet of any child because they're simply not parent material."
She stroked his right cheek absently and said, "And you think I'm parent material?"
"Yes sweetheart. Hell, I've never done this before either. We can find our way through the labyrinth of parenthood together."
"What if our child is not accepted by Minbari or Humans?"
Ah, this was the secondary fear that shown in her piercing green eyes earlier. Delenn had known the pain of being shunned by her own people, of being looked down upon, and called vicious names because she was no longer Minbari enough in her appearance, and of being scrutinized and judged lacking by Humans, who thought her a freak and an abomination. She did not wish the same fate to befall her child.
"We may be the first Human and half Human half Minbari couple to ever reproduce, but this situation we find ourselves is far from unique." She gave him a questioning look, and he knew he had better explain further. "At one point in Human history we categorized people based on the color of their skin and treated them differently as a result. This was called racism."
Delenn heard the term before, and had heard it applied to the Centauri-Narn conflict, but had never heard John speak of it in terms of Earth history. "When two people of different races got together in spite of the dictates of society, like we did, and had a child, they faced the same set of circumstances. They too wondered how their child of mixed heritage would be treated in a shallow and racist world. In some things, Delenn, we have not come as far as we like to believe. We may be able to travel the expanse of the universe, but at times, we can't even see beyond our own prejudices. It is this we fight against, honey, everyday we are together. But you must believe that any child of ours will be able to hold his own in a world that, whether we like it or not, may not always treat him well because of his mixed heritage. "
"Do you think it unfair of us to put this burden on an innocent child? At least our decision to marry and deal with the consequences was ours to make, but we have already made that decision for. . ." She placed her hand over top of John's hand that was still running lazy sensual circles over her stomach.
"Perhaps Delenn, but I'm just selfish or arrogant enough to believe our love for our child will be more than enough to see him through anything the universe may see fit to throw at him."
John opened her robe and looked upon Delenn's small curvaceous body. Her pale skin and delicate features were so alluring to John, he wondered why he hadn't managed to get her pregnant sooner. To say they made love often would be like saying the Centauri were confident creatures and liked to drink. It was a truth, and a gross understatement at the same time. They had waited so long to make love, and once they did, they couldn't get enough of each other.
If someone were to ask John anything about his wedding ceremony or the reception, he simply would be hard pressed to answer them. His mind had been elsewhere, and as soon as he could politely excuse himself and his new wife from their guests, he did. And from that night forward, they had found every opportunity between their two quarters and busy schedules to make love often and in as many different ways as possible.
She wore nothing underneath her robe except for a pair of blue laced panties John had purchased for her. Delenn would never wear such undergarments, but she knew John liked to see her in them. And as long as he was the only one who would, she obliged him without complaint.
Resuming the caresses to her belly, John said with a devilish smile, "I can't wait until you are full with child, and can't see those delectable feet of yours."
Delenn gave him a look that said she wasn't quite as amused about the prospect of being that large, but gave in to the irresistible way he kept staring at and touching her. Seeing the myriad of emotions flicker through her eyes as she truly absorbed the fact that she had a chance to be the mother she never had, he kissed her. John kissed Delenn deeply and thoroughly while moving his exploring hand further south bringing a shuddering moan of pleasure from her lips. In the most seductive voice he could manage John said, "I want this baby, Delenn, and I want you. Let me show you how much I can take care of my Minbari wife and child."
Delenn's body tingled from her head to her toes as John methodically massaged her entire body with his hands then mouth and tongue. Her body throbbed with desire and need as her doubts floated away replaced by hope and reinforced by her faith. Oh Valen, she wanted this baby more than she was willing to admit. She wanted a piece of John to remain with her long after he'd traveled beyond the rim to where no shadows fall. Was it selfish of her to wish for a child so the pain of John's passing wouldn't hurt as much? She really didn't know, but what she did know was that their child and grandchildren would change the universe in ways she couldn't even imagine.
Delenn closed her eyes to revel in the pleasure that was their lovemaking and remembered the inquisitor demanding she tell him what John meant to her. She couldn't answer it then, but she could now and as John brought her to her peak and jumped over the precipice with her, she screamed her answer to the heavens.
"EVERYTHING!! Ne'Fa Cha She'La, Sou 'Be Be John."
After regaining his composure and breath, John pulled a tired Delenn to him and said, "What did you say, sweetheart, at the end?"
Delenn snuggled up closer to her husband, placed his hand on her now moist stomach, gave a smile that came straight from her soul, and said, "You and the baby mean everything to me John. Thank you for giving him to me, to us."