See Part 1 for Disclaimer and Author's Notes.
Chapter 14 – The Beginning
"Well! Tessa, thanks for your help. It's good to know you're looking after the old place, even if it turned out you… didn't find anything of consequence in this investigation. I heard about your – err—interrogation of that rogue telepath; remind me to never be on the receiving end of your right hook." Sheridan smiled at the Com screen in his home office.
Tessa nodded at her boss and offered a tiny smile of her own. "I knew when I took this job, I had some big shoes to fill." She made eye contact with Garibaldi, who stood behind Sheridan. "I'm glad everything worked out, with or without my help."
Delenn stepped forward now to stand beside her husband. "For all that you do, you have our thanks. And for your assistance in this crisis, you have my gratitude, as a representative of the Alliance, and as a mother."
"It couldn't have been easy for you," Tessa conceded. "From what I know of you… to stand back and leave David's fate in the hands of others…"
"It wasn't," Delenn agreed. "But. If I could not be where I wished to be, I could not have asked for more capable hands in which to entrust his fate." She looked at her husband and the child in her arms, then at Mr. Garibaldi, before again making eye contact with Tessa. "Part of growing older and wiser is recognizing those times when we must accept our limitations and allow others to help us through. Moreover, we must learn to have faith in the universe that the path we are walking on is the correct path, even if it is difficult. For me, these last several days have been a lesson in both of these things. You have proven yourself a valuable asset to the Alliance and to my family. For this, I am in your debt."
Tessa shook her head. "It comes with the job." There was a commotion behind her, and Tessa turned an ear. "Speaking of which. The job calls." She raised her eyebrows by way of apology for cutting the conversation short, and the screen went blank.
John and Delenn turned away from the screen to face Michael, who was rocking on his heals, hands in his pockets in his familiar Garibaldi stance.
"Mr. Garibaldi." Delenn paused, and a smile lit her face. "Michael," she corrected herself. "Thank you."
Garibaldi smiled back and brought his arms around the Minbari woman in a gentle hug. "Anytime." He pulled back and looked first at Delenn, then at John.
"I have to guess Lise is anxious to have you back so she can rip you a new one," John offered. "You've been here for almost a week. When do you have to leave?"
"First thing in the morning. But tonight… tonight, you two," he indicated Sheridan and Delenn with a wave of his hand, "Are going to get a decent night's sleep, and I am going to spend some time with my godson." He reached out and Delenn surrendered the baby.
"You… sure you'll be OK?" John asked hesitantly.
"Who, me? Come on." Michael looked down at David, who was happily awake and squirming, apparently trying to adjust to the new, larger set of arms that now held him. "There are guards on all entrances and you're right down the hall if I need you. Now go on." He shooed them away. "David and I have some important things do discuss."
John and Delenn exchanged a glance and waited a moment. They were again shooed away, and Sheridan sighed and smiled, putting an arm around his wife and guiding her down the hall toward their bedroom.
Garibaldi watched them go, and when he heard their bedroom door slide closed behind them, he bounced David gently and began to walk around the room. "David Sheridan," he addressed the baby. "You know, you are setting yourself up to be quite a handful." The baby gurgled as if to actively defend himself. "Yes, I know. I know. And that is why it's good you'll always have me. See, I was quite a handful myself." He laughed quietly. "My wife would tell you I still am. So." He settled into a chair. "Lights - low," he said softly, before returning to the conversation at hand. "If you ever find that your mother and father are driving you crazy – which I guarantee you they will both do from time to time, trust me -- and they just don't understand, or your mother is lapsing into one too many stories that begins, 'A thousand years ago...,'you go ahead and you call Uncle Mikey. Yep. You just call me, and I'll be here." He poked David gently in the abdomen and was rewarded with another, happier gurgle. "Now. How about a bedtime story, huh? I've got a million of 'em, and you'll hear 'em all. But let's… start…." Michael leaned back and closed his eyes, letting out a long, contented sigh. "It all started seven years ago… seven years. Man, I'm getting old. Anyway, it all started seven years ago, when I got a call from this guy I knew from – well, from a big war, but that is for when you're a little older. And his name… his name was Jeffrey Sinclair. But in this house," he looked around. "In this house, you will come to know him… as Valen."
Delenn couldn't resist, as John crawled into bed, pressing her ear to the door one more time. She smiled as she could hear Garibaldi's voice droning on in a naturally sedative tone. She couldn't make out all of what he was saying, but words like Sinclair and Valen and Babylon 5 were filtering through.
"Delenn," John chastised. "They'll be fine. Come to bed."
"Of course." She crossed the room to join him on the inclined sleeping pallet.
They lay side by side, staring up at the ceiling in the darkness for a long moment before John stated simply, "I love you."
"Mmm." She rolled onto her side then to look at him. She stretched out beside him, one arm tucked under her head as she studied his face in profile. "I love you," she replied.
He rolled to face her in the darkness now, legs bent slightly at the knee. "And how far away were you?"
Delenn laughed quietly. It was a sound John had been missing, and it brought a smile to his own face. "I am right here."
"Yes, your body is here." He reached out to caress her bicep. "But your mind is a million light years away."
She sighed. "I was just thinking… What does the future hold for him, I wonder?"
"Well… I suspect… a lot of love. A lot of doting, a lot of caring… and some discipline. And someday, hopefully, he'll grow into the kind of man who will make good use of the power he's been given. I think that's… that's where we come in. That's why Kosh chose us, above anyone else, to raise this child. He knew we'd do it right."
"I do worry about his safety while he is still so young."
John answered with a shake of his head. "The PsiCorps won't bother us again. Between Londo and his… connections… and the shakedown Earthforce troops gave Bester, I think we can stop worrying about them. And as far as anyone else, well…" He gave her a sympathetic smile. "We knew when I took this position there would be risks involved. We've done what we can, I think; personal guards, increased security here at home…" He sighed. "They're things I never wanted, things I wanted to prove we didn't need. But… things are different now. And the way he's going, in a few years, David will be plenty able to defend himself."
"I suppose." She lowered her eyes, and he moved his hand from her arm to under her chin, forcing her gaze up until it met his own. He kissed her gently, and it brought the smile back to her face.
"This is just the beginning, Delenn," he told her, and she leaned into him to nuzzle against his neck. "And I, for one, for the first time in… awhile… am ready to get some sleep… and see what tomorrow might hold." His arms came around her naturally. "Who knows? Maybe… maybe tomorrow will be a nice, normal, quiet day."
She laughed, and it vibrated against his chest. "And then you would have nothing to do."
"True." He closed his eyes and rolled onto his back. "But I think… I very much think… that would be OK." She shifted against him and her head came to rest on his chest in their customary sleeping position. "I think…" His fingers came up to stroke her hair gently. "That if I have you… and if I have David… that will be enough."
He didn't respond immediately. He held onto the moment, treasured it as he had learned to, stored it away with all the other memories he was saving up. Her breathing had evened to a deep, slow pace by the time he whispered into the darkness, "Goodnight."