Terms of Endearment
"Honey, can you hand me that?" Sheridan didn't look up from his nightly paperwork and pointed vaguely in the direction of the last of the juice on the counter. Delenn was assembling her lunch for the next day, and as always, she offered to make him some as well, but he didn't like that Minbari pod whatever she ate all the time. It was okay, but he'd rather have a quick sandwich if he had the choice. Sheridan got distracted for a minute, thinking about some of his favorite sandwiches - there was a little stall in Red Sector that made Philly cheesesteaks that were almost as good as the real thing, he hadn't been there in weeks - when he realized that Delenn was still looking around the kitchenette.
"It's right there," he said, putting his pen down and looking at her. She had her hands on her hips, making another visual sweep. "There." She looked to where he was pointing, right at the jug, and she had the damnedest blank look on her face. Sheridan tried not to laugh, and finally rose half out of his chair, leaned over to snag it himself. "Do we need to schedule an eye exam for you in Medlab?"
"I thought you asked me for honey," Delenn replied, giving him the eye.
"What?" And then he replayed what he'd said, and this time couldn't help the laugh that spilled out. He stood to join her. "No. I called you 'honey.'"
"It's an endearment. It's something you call someone you love."
"Honey is a sugary substance made from flower pollen. It is secreted by bees."
Sheridan wrapped his arms around her waist, gave her a lingering kiss. "True. It's also very sweet." He kissed her again, thinking that sometimes she tasted a little like honey, if honey were the best-fucking-tasting thing in the universe, and then he leaned back. He expected to see her amused little smile, or a light blush, or maybe, if he was very lucky, her bedroom eyes. He did not expect to see that frown she wore sometimes when he said something he knew she would classify as Buffoonish Human Man Nonsense; her lips slightly pursed, a vague line between her brows.
"That is my name." Ah... She pulled gently out of his arms, eyes on his the whole time, and they were saying: you will accept this, John, and I will not hear another word about it.
He'd see about that.
Delenn was in bed, having pulled on one of her silky nightgowns, and Sheridan wondered if that meant she was ready to sleep, or if she wanted him to take it off. He preferred the latter, and knew he shouldn't press his luck, but she needed to know that the game was on. If he waited too long, she might just think he'd forgotten and slipped. He didn't want there to be any ambiguity.
"I'll be in in a second, babe," he called out from the bathroom, spitting toothpaste into the sink. Silence from the bedroom; that wasn't a good sign. Sheridan smiled at his own smile in the mirror. He rinsed, turned off the light, and came out to join her. She was just marking her place in her book.
"I do not know what you were planning, but there are no infants in this room." She rolled over on her side, hiked up her blankets, and waved off her lamp.
In the morning, while they dressed: "So, do you have a busy day planned for today, sweetheart?"
"The heart is an internal organ. It cannot be sweet."
"Do not wrinkle my robes."
That afternoon, just before the Council meeting was about to start: "Muffin, can you pass me that paper?"
"I was responsible and made my lunch last night. I do not require a pastry to keep me satisfied until dinner."
That night, in bed: "Oh, right there. Right there. Don't stop, darling, don't stop."
She stopped. Propped her chin up on his thigh. Sheridan looked at her with the saddest puppy-dog eyes he could muster, but she just looked up at him, level as can be.
"What do you say?"
"Please don't stop?" The barest shake of her head. Fine, time out.
"Don't stop...Delenn." Damn it, once she was done, he was going to wipe that smug little smile off her face. Then she started again, and oh, her tongue. Sheridan wondered if he could write a thank-you note to the entire goddamned planet of Minbar.
Two days later, watching ISN: "I missed seeing you the last couple days. I'll be so glad when this mess with the telepaths is straightened out." She nodded, tucked her head more securely under his chin. He sniffed her hair - mmm, melons - and decided it was time. "Maybe we could schedule an hour or two the next few days to ourselves. What do you say, pumpkin?"
"Program off. Computer, display definition and picture of 'pumpkin.'" Sheridan kept the chuckle locked inside, bit the inside of his cheek to keep from grinning. If she knew how much fun he was having with this, she'd quit playing along. He had a hard time staying impassive once her requested information came up on the screen.
"John, I can perhaps understand some of the other words you have called me the last few days, but I do not know why you thought I would want to be called a gourd."
"Pumpkins are cute."
"I am looking at a picture of one right now."
"You don't think it's cute?"
"It is short, fat and orange." That did it; he threw his head back and laughed, squeezing her close. She struggled out of his arms, and he quieted down in a hurry. He didn't want to have a fight. "Delenn, honey..." Damn it! That one had just slipped out. He looked up at her, wary, and her expression was inscrutable. Then she leaned down and kissed him hard, the kind of bruising kiss that made more than his hair stand on end.
"I will forgive you, if you can manage to do anything of interest in here." Then she went into the bedroom, hips swaying side to side, one last sultry look over her shoulder.
Afterwards: "I love you."
Delenn snuggled closer, nuzzling her nose into his chest. Then she whispered, so low he could barely hear it, "You can call me 'honey' if you want to." Sheridan shook his head, rolled them over onto their sides, kissed her like it was the first time.
"Lots of men get to call their wives 'honey.' I'm the only one who gets to call his wife 'Delenn.'"