Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Delenn of Mir and John Sheridan
For John Sheridan, the last few months had been nothing short of insane and if he hadn't died once already, he was sure to perish very soon, for the universe seemed intent on slowly closing in around him.
His dead wife returned just as he was beginning to turn a corner in his life, firmly setting the past where it belonged. But out she popped from the mist of a horrible shadow dream, looking as beautiful as the last time he'd seen her. But the creature that returned wasn't his Anna. No, one look into her frosty, soulless eyes and Sheridan knew his Anna was lost to him—forever. That would be insane event number one if Sheridan ignored all the other insane events in his life after taking the helm of Babylon 5.
Delenn, his sweet Minbari with the soul of a lion had lied to him, or rather she'd kept extremely important information from him. And in his book, that was the same as a whooper of a lie. She'd suspected that Anna was alive and under Shadow influence. She didn't know for certain, but Delenn's well reasoned thoughts were often eerily close to the facts. And her well reasoned mind had also determined that to share such thoughts with Sheridan would've been unwise and for his own good—the prophecy taking precedence over his right to know about the potential fate of his wife. That would be insane event number two.
Insane event number three would be his reaction to the deception. Hell, he'd taken her by the arms and shaken her with angry, brutal force. And she didn't resist, simply allowing and accepting his anger without protest, without defense. Well, she did have a defense of sorts. She loved him. She told him that, he remembered as he turned his back on her and left without a response.
Insane event number four could be lumped in with number three. He did exactly what Delenn and Kosh feared. He ran off to Z'ha'dum because of Anna and made the ultimate sacrifice. He died. But it wasn't simply because of Anna, he reasoned, although that was a large part of it. No, the Shadows were simply too powerful and his hodgepodge alliance too weak, too disjointed to make the necessary stand. He had to save them. He had to save them all. And if that meant sacrificing himself in the process, so be it. If that meant Delenn would live, then it was a life worth giving.
John looked down at the woman curled in his arms and smiled, remembering her confused eyes when he'd given her the engagement ring and asked her to be his wife. Yes, his life was insane, in part because of the sleeping woman before him. But those events would've happened with or without Delenn. John knew that now. Yet, her presence, her strength, her love had made them all bearable, even when Sheridan was convinced the bleak night would never end, the fall endless and lonely.
So, she had agreed to be his wife and together they would push back the darkness with their light.
John reached over Delenn's shoulder, gently grasping the hand that contained his ring. It was respectable enough, not exactly what he wanted to give her, but she seemed to like it. Not that Delenn wore jewelry or had anything from which to compare. But she smiled when he placed it on her finger, and he knew she would wear it for him, simply because he gave it to her. It was his custom not hers, but she would wear it, the beauty of the modest diamond on her finger bringing a thump of pride and accomplishment to his warrior's heart.
They lay stretched across his bed, her outer robe and his suit jacket neatly folded and placed on the chair in the corner of his bedroom, shoes under the same wooden chair. Papers written in English and Andronado cluttered the foot of the bed, Babcom news on but unwatched.
No, John was too busy watching his fiancée sleep. With a bit of smooth talking, he'd managed to convince Delenn that his bedroom would be more comfortable for reading reports than the table or small couch. She conceded but not without a very skeptical, knowing look.
Since the Shan'Fal they'd been tiptoeing around each other, John noticed. Or rather, the intimacy or sex issue they'd avoided talking about now shone bright red letters flickering bold and hot whenever they were alone together. As much as Sheridan enjoyed the ritual, he cursed the knowledge he now possessed. Prior to the Shan'Fal, his dreams of Delenn were merely figments of his overactive imagination, ones he could easily dismiss once morning came. But now, his mind was flooded with images of a very real, very soft, very naked and sensual Delenn. No part of her body was a mystery to him or his to her. He now knew her intimate scent, her taste, the sounds she make when she's aroused, and her touch on his body. He knew way too much, tortuously too much for a man who could only sample the delicacy but not devour it, claim it as his own.
So, she joined him in his room, on his bed, reading and taking notes on her reports until her body succumbed to fatigue. Now the watched became the watcher and John finally understood the importance of that particular mating ritual.
Delenn's features were in a state of total relaxation. During the day her face gave nothing away she didn't want it to reveal. It held so much power, self-assurance, and wisdom. John often found strength in that day face, her public face. But the face he looked upon now was no longer that Delenn. This Delenn was but a tiny woman in a sea of vast possibilities and pitfalls—fragile, scared, vulnerable.
And Sheridan wasn't too ignorant of Minbari customs to not understand the magnitude of trust, love, and faith she placed in him when she'd fallen asleep in his bed. Delenn would never be so overcome by fatigue to place herself in an unsafe situation. She trusted him, and in spite of what happened with Anna, Sheridan trusted her as well.
Then John smiled, thinking he was a man, and as such, a man can only be trusted so far, especially when he had a sleeping beauty in his bed. He saw her smile in her sleep and wondered if she was dreaming of him.
Delenn sat nervously on John's small couch, her hands clasped securely in her lap, her back rigid against the pillows. The first night of the sleep watching was so easy, she remembered, and patently unorthodox. She should have never started the ritual without his knowledge. Delenn knew this to be fact, but how could she broach such a sensitive topic with a Human who knew nothing of her customs, a Human who may have not been the one. She had to know before she made her feelings known to him, risk her heart, so she'd watched and was pleased.
Now, however, he did know, and was now changing into his night clothes. Her heart pounded heavily in her chest, her mind racing, her mouth dry, body tense. She was a mess and desperately needed the calm familiarity of meditation. But he called to her, letting her know he was ready for her.
Delenn stood, calmed her nerves, focused on his closed sliding door, and moved one foot in front of the other. She slowly opened the poor, sliding it to the right just enough to enter, and then she was inside.
The light was low but not too low that her vision was impaired. She looked across the room and to the bed. John was sitting on the bed, on top of the covers in fact, chest and legs bare. He wore a pair of black and white shorts that Delenn learned were Human underwear. And the smile he bestowed on her increased the illumination in the room twofold.
"I see that you are ready for bed," Delenn said, forcing a casual tone into her voice.
"I am but you obviously are not," John said, pointing a finger at her. "I thought when I changed in here you were doing the same out there." He frowned then and looked past her as if he was trying to see into the other room. "What did you have in that little bag of yours if not a change of clothing?"
"I do have a few personal items in my bag, John, but I didn't bring a sleeping garment. Remember, I watch and you sleep. There's no need for me to change out of my clothes. I don't plan to sleep tonight."
And that was the truth, as far as it went. There was nothing in the ritual that prevented the female from undressing or even sharing the male's bed as long as propriety was observed. But she didn't feel inclined to elaborate. The last thing Delenn wanted to do was share John's bed. Actually, that was exactly what she wanted to do, which was the reason she didn't bring a night dress and was standing on the other side of his room doing a perfect imitation of a robot.
John gave her a thoughtful look, the kind that told her she was in danger of losing herself.
"So you intend to stay in those robes all night?"
"My robes are perfectly suited for the occasion. I simply intend to sit in this chair and watch you sleep."
He gave her that look again, and it took every ounce of Minbari discipline not to shift and reveal her level of discomfort.
"I can't imagine that sitting in a hard, wooden chair for hours is part of the ritual. Nor do I believe that you must restrict yourself to the same clothes you wore all day. If I'm comfortable in boxers and no shirt, I don't see why you can't be as well."
She said nothing, her face a smiling mask.
"I think," he said rising, "that you would be more comfortable for a long night of sleep watching if you changed."
"I told you, John, I have brought nothing into which to change. So you see," she said, quickly attempting to bring the conversation to an end, "I will just have to wear what I have and it will do. I'll shower and change when I return to my quarters."
She started to walk to the chair when John said, "This will do."
Delenn turned. "What is that?"
"My bathrobe," John said, satisfaction shimmering in his eyes.
"And what do you expect me to do with that?"
"Wear it, honey. It's meant to be worn. I know it's too big for you, but it's not so very different from your robes and it will cover you from neck to toes. Probably more than that considering the difference in our heights," he said, walking towards her, his gift extended.
Short of refusing him outright and dishonoring herself and him, Delenn was trapped. She reached for the blue robe, just when John reached her, his eyes still sparkling from his win.
"Thank you," Delenn said, her voice low, the tension returning, John entirely too close.
"Why don't you let me help you, I always wanted to know what keeps those robes of yours closed. I don't see zipper or button the first," he said, giving her a quick once over.
"I think I can manage, John."
"I'm sure you can manage, honey, I just thought it would be . . . fun."
Fun? That wasn't the word that came to Delenn's mind. Dangerous. Yes, having John Sheridan undress her was very, very dangerous.
"I can— '' she started to protest, but his hands were already searching out the hidden clasps, quickly locating one after the other.
"Huh, not so hard after all," he said, sliding the first layer off her shoulders.
He ran his strong hands from her shoulders, down her arms, and back up again, sending waves of heat through her.
"Your robes are so soft, so damn soft, Delenn," he said, and then leaned into her, whispering in her ear. "Are you just as soft? I bet you are, even softer. Let me find out, honey. Take the other robe off for me."
If voices had hands, Delenn would've been stripped naked and splayed in supplication across his bed. As it was, her own hands mindlessly obeyed, undoing every clasp until the red and blue garment fell to her feet, her white tunic and stockings all the clothing she still wore. And once John knelt, her stockings too were gone. Just her tunic remained.
She suddenly felt an insecure blush surge from the pit of her stomach and her eyes and head dropped at Sheridan's persistent gaze. Then she felt large, masculine hands on her cheeks, pulling her head up.
"God, Delenn, you're beautiful. I just wanted to see you. I figured it's too soon for me to see all of you."
"But I assumed if it was expressly forbidden you would've just told me so."
Delenn nodded again, the only thing she seemed capable of doing, at the moment.
John bent his head and kissed her, his hands still holding her face firm, pulling it even closer to his own, deepening the kiss. Delenn virtually melted in his embrace, returning the passion she sensed inside him with her own, wrapping her arms around his naked waist, pushing herself against him.
They both moaned, opening their mouths fully to each other, tongues searching and finding its mate in the other. John removed his hands from Delenn's cheek and found her shoulders, arms, waist, and then ass, pulling her to him.
He was hard everywhere and she wanted to feel him everywhere, wanted him everywhere. Then her feet left the ground, a feeling of weightlessness surrounded her, and then softness contouring her body.
With frightening clarity, Delenn realized she was on John's bed and he was half lying on top of her. And even more frightening was the knowledge that it was she pulling him the rest of the way on her, hungrily plundering his mouth with her tongue, hands moving from his back to the waistband of his shorts.
John pulled out of the kiss, his eyes aroused but clear, rational. The type of rationality Delenn knew she had lost. John kissed her neck, slowly sucking the rapidly pulsing vein and then rolled off her, evidence of their passion tenting his shorts.
Delenn tried not to look, directing her attention to his eyes and only his eyes.
"Perhaps we should avoid such encounters in the future," Delenn suggested, thankful John had the restraint she lacked. A moment or two longer she would've freed him of his shorts and herself of her own good sense. Valen, someone at Temple should've warned her of the weakness of the flesh.
"Perhaps we should give into such yearnings more," John countered, turning on his side to look at Delenn.
She turned as well. "But you know we can't—''
"I know, Delenn, but the thought of not touching you at all is worse than not being able to touch you fully. And God knows I want to touch you fully. Fill you completely," he whispered.
Her eyes instantly dropped to the no look region, still hard, still calling to the primal, lustful part of her. And Delenn knew she couldn't do what he asked. For all of her Minbari training, none of it prepared her for this man and the power he wielded over her mind, heart, and body.
She forced herself off the bed and into his offered blue robe. It was warm and smelled of him and felt completely right against her body.
"Go to sleep, John, and I'll watch," she said, settling down into the hard, wooden chair in the corner.
Two hours later, Delenn quietly crept from the bedroom, stretching and nearly falling over the ill-fitting robe as she walked into the living area. She looked around John's quarters and found a snow globe. She picked it up, turning it from one end to another, pleased with what she had seen on John's sleeping face.
A cold shiver suddenly ran down her spine, a dark foreboding stilling her heart, causing her to drop the globe, shattering it into unrecognizable pieces, foretelling events to come.
John knew instantly when Delenn's dream had turned into a nightmare, her face suddenly hard and tortured. Sadness followed and then a look of unbearable grief. His hand went to wake her but then he stopped, unsure. He waited a minute, and then her features slowly, incredibly calmed. No longer the peaceful face of minutes before, but no longer haunted either.
John remembered that haunted look, the one she'd displayed during the third and last night of the sleep watching ritual, the night before she left for Minbar. They'd returned to his quarters after a late meal and her insistence on completing the ritual before she left. John knew something was wrong and that she was hiding the real reason for her sudden departure. Yet, Delenn, as always, kept her concerns inside. He now knew the reason, of course, but then, well, he was clueless.
"We haven't done that in a very long time," John said to Delenn, motioning for her to have a seat on the couch.
She sat, removed her shoes, and pulled her legs onto the couch, shielding them under her robes.
"A nice, quiet meal is one of the small pleasures of life, John, and we seem wholly incapable of managing to find even that tiny solace together."
That was true, John thought, but not entirely so. There had been many times over the last few months in which schedules permitted them to spend some time alone, especially in the evenings. But since that night when Anna returned, Delenn had built a wall between them or perhaps around herself. Not an emotional wall but a wall of . . . Well, he didn't know what to call it, but she would only allow him to enter so far or allow herself to exit beyond its confines so far. He wanted to touch and kiss his fiancée and . . . well, that was the problem right there. She couldn't . . . they couldn't and so she was avoiding situations that would lend itself to temptation.
As frustrating as it was, that insight made John feel better. Not great but better, for at least he knew he wasn't the only one feeling the pangs of repressed sexual desire. To look at Delenn, one would think she had absolute control over every emotion, including her sexual urges, but the night of the second sleep watching had revealed a different side of Delenn to John. A more human side or perhaps the Minbari side they always kept hidden, veiled behind rituals and propriety.
"How long do you have before you depart for Minbar?" John asked, taking a seat beside her.
"A little less than six hours, long enough to watch you sleep before I have to leave," she said, a sad, haunted look quickly crossing her features. But it was soon suppressed, replaced by a weak smile that didn't quite reach her lovely green eyes.
John caught the fleeting look, the temptation to force the issue strong. He wanted to know what she was hiding and if it had anything to do with him . . . with them. He had a hell of a lot of questions for her, anger and fear simmering below the surface of good thought. Did he want their last night together, for God knows how long, to be one of resistance? For Delenn would resist his questions, John knew that without a doubt. And they would argue, he knew that as well. Or rather he would argue, probably yell, and she would nod politely yet defiantly, giving him nothing but cool, stoic eyes.
That wasn't how he wanted the night to go, however. What he wanted was to wrap Delenn in his arms, carry her to his bed, and make love to her until she forgot all about her trip to Minbar. But that wouldn't happen either. John sighed and stood.
"It's been a long day, honey, I think I'll go and prepare for bed. Whenever you're ready, just come in. I'll leave the door ajar and a pillow and cover on the chair in the corner. If you like, I can pull it closer to the bed for you, like I did the last time."
Delenn simply smiled and nodded, her legs pulled to her chest, slim arms wrapped around them. She appeared so precious, like a porcelain doll displayed on a shelf with a sign that read, 'Fragile, don't touch.' Well, she wasn't fragile and John Sheridan damn sure wanted to touch.
Not tonight, he told himself and then turned and walked into his bedroom, Delenn silent and unmoving on the couch.
Twenty minutes later, John heard her enter, her soft feet silent, the rubbing of the gliding metal door the only clue to her presence. A few seconds later, John heard another sound, a familiar one, his closet door opening then closing.
Sheridan opened his eyes and spied Delenn in the low light of the room. Her back was to him and she held his blue robe in her hands. She placed the item on the wooden chair and proceeded to remove her outer robe and then her inner, carefully hanging both on the back of the chair. She wore only her tunic, a black one that fell to her knees, leaving her arms, shoulders, and calves bare. Finally, she reached for and donned his oversized robe.
"I can't watch you sleep, if you spend the entire night watching me," Delenn said, taking John by surprise, her back still to him.
She turned, and this time, her smile reached her eyes, causing John to stiffen, grateful for his covers.
"I thought you were going to sleep in your robes. I didn't think you liked my bulky robe."
"I like it," she said, and then sat in the chair. "I like it very much." Delenn pulled it to her neck, huddling inside, and leaned on the pillow John had provided.
Sheridan sank back onto his bed, feeling exhausted but not sleepy. He knew she was watching him, her presence like magical energy, floating and caressing his soul, his heart.
"Delenn," he said into the near darkness.
"Spend the night with me."
"That's why I'm here, John."
"No," he said, rising up on his elbows. "Spend the night with me here, in my bed." He reached over and pulled back the covers. "I promise to be good, if you promise to do the same." Now that was a perfectly worded request and challenge, a bait he'd hoped her Minbari pride would take.
He could feel the wheels turning in her head, Delenn weighing his words, his intentions against her own willpower and desire. Minbari hated to lose and the implication that she couldn't share his bed without succumbing to her sexual desire was very close to insulting her honor. If she declined, she would be admitting as much.
Delenn stood and walked the few feet to his bed, her eyes glowing with a multitude of emotions—anger, fear, and desire. Oh yes, there was definitely passion in his Minbari's eyes, the kind he couldn't wait to unleash.
John patted the bed and smiled, and watched as Delenn removed the robe and joined him. He felt better already.
"I've never slept in a bed like this before, John," she said, her voice quiet and afraid. "Are you sure it's safe . . . that I won't . . ."
Sheridan pulled her against him, encouraging her to use his strong shoulder as a pillow. "It's safe, honey. I won't let anything happen to you. Besides," he said, grinning down at her, "I'm the one who's supposed to sleep, not you."
Delenn nodded and silence fell on the room.
Several minutes later, John asked, "If you like what you see tonight, where do we go from here?"
He felt her body stiffen under his embrace and then relax.
"We'll discuss that upon my return, John. Let's just get through tonight."
Warning bells blared and it took all his willpower to ignore them. He opened his mouth and closed it, realizing Delenn was speaking to him.
"For me, John, this third night is just a formality to appease my clan, my caste. I already know my heart; nothing I could see tonight could change my path. It leads to you, it always has. I love you and want you to be my mate. You must know that, surely you know."
She leaned up then, looking him in his eyes, and the warning bells quieted by what he saw in her eyes. Delenn kissed him then, making the bells explode and vanish. The kiss was hard, if not forceful and urgent, her right hand pulling his head to her, tongue demanding entrance. He granted it, twining his arms around her waist, glorying in the feel of her against his body, aroused and wanton.
"You challenged my honor, John Sheridan," Delenn said, her voice thick and breathless.
She kissed him again, fiercer than before, her right knee gently caressing his groin, forcing a moan from him.
"You should know better than to challenge a Minbari. We take our honor and pride very seriously," Delenn said, biting his neck, her fingernails raking his chest in a mind numbing rhythm.
God, her words scorched him, making the urge to be punished by her an increasingly delicious prospect.
She rose to her knees, breathing ragged, pupils black and intense. Biting her bottom lip, she looked upon him with passion-filled eyes, slowly assessing her prey with lascivious intent.
Delenn placed one hand on John's cheek, leaned over him, her dark hair spilling around her face, giving her the appearance of a dangerous vixen. "I can't keep that promise, John, not tonight. I'm not in the right frame of mind to do so."
Delenn paused for a moment longer, hovering above him, her breath hot and stimulating, nipples hard and erect against the thin material of her tunic, eyes glossy with thought. Reconciled to some inner decision, she sighed, shook her head, and gave him a chaste kiss to the lips. And then she was gone, moving quickly from the bed, picking up the discarded robe.
"You have my honor this day," she said, retaking her spot on the wooden chair. "It's late, much too late for challenges," she said wearily. "I'll have enough of that when I get home."
Delenn said it with such ease, that John knew she had spoken more to herself than him. And those old bells attempted to reassert themselves, but he held them at bay. She was tired. He was tired. She loved him and wanted to be his mate. That was enough; it would be enough.
John settled back under the covers and closed his eyes, knowing Delenn was watching, knowing she wanted him as much as he wanted her. That was enough.
Delenn felt hardness and warmth, her body placed at a different, but not an uncomfortable angle. And while her initial urge was to fight the unusual sensation, to push back against the dream, she relaxed and slowly opened her eyes.
"Bad dream?" John asked, smiling down at her, his smile bright and reassuring.
Delenn briefly closed her eyes, remembering it had only been a dream. Or at least it was now in the past, Anna gone, John returned, the Shadows and Vorlons but a horrible memory. The Shadow War over, prophecy fulfilled. What next?
"Not anymore," she said, her eyelids raising, green eyes free of worry. "I didn't mean to fall asleep."
"After what we've been through, we deserve to sleep for a month. Saving the universe is damn exhausting," he said with a heart stopping smile.
Delenn turned fully onto her back, John's body towering over her own. And all the old feelings she'd repressed for too many months to count, came flooding back in a massive wave of feminine awareness.
She reached up to John and slowly caressed his cheek, willing him to understand without words. They had just survived a war a thousand years in the making, a war that could've destroyed the entire universe. A war in which faith managed and love prevailed.
She caressed his other cheek, her eyes searching his, a silent plea sent.
Understanding dawned in his eyes, a silent plea received.
"Are you sure?" John asked, moving to cup Delenn's chin. "I want you to be sure, honey. No one else will know but us, but I don't want you to have any regrets. I don't want this to weigh on your conscious."
His tender and considerate words touched Delenn. She knew he would wait until they were married, even though neither of them knew exactly when that would be. And with that came the realization that it was she who didn't want to wait any longer. That particular Minbari custom a lead weight she'd been dragging around like a badge of religious honor.
"I'm sure, John. We've completed enough mating rituals where such a decision can be made without sacrificing my core religious beliefs."
Sheridan gave her a skeptical look, one that said he wanted to believe her but was too afraid to get his hopes up.
Delenn chuckled, drawing John down to her. "John, we're already mated in every way that matters except one," she said, her mouth inches from his. "You know I want you. You've known that for a very long time, the Shan'Fal nearly undoing us both."
John laughed, closing those last few inches and planting his lips firmly on Delenn's. And Delenn accepted John's kiss, slanting her head to better feel the soft, wetness of his lips and tongue.
"Do you remember them all, Delenn?" John asked, searching for the clasps on her robe.
"Yes, how could I ever forget," Delenn responded, sitting up and shrugging out of the garment.
"I remember all of yours as well and as soon as I get these damn clothes off I'll show you. I'll show you how much I remember from the Shan'Fal and you'll show me."
"Yes," Delenn said again, falling back onto the bed, clothes removed, discarded, and forgotten.
Delenn laid back, allowing John to survey every inch of her body, his tongue teasing and caressing every crevice and curve, sweat pooling on her forehead, neck, and belly. His hands explored her taut frame, fingers seeking and finding her center, pushing into her, her body grinding against his palm, seeking harder, firmer contact. And he gave it to her, propelling her down that dark, inviting tunnel, his groans leading the way, surrounding her in a force field of aching, throbbing need.
And then he was over top of her, his effort to please her glistening on his face, his eyes hooded with carnal need, his manhood soldiered up and ready.
"Yes, now, John," Delenn said, raising her legs and planting them on either side of his thighs.
She gestured for him and he willingly came, sheathing himself within her, crying out in ecstasy as his hard penis met her tight wetness, dropping them both in a whirlpool of spinning white heat. And it churned for them, swirling them around and tossing them up, Delenn caught in the primordial rapids of John's melodic thrusts.
"Dear, God, Delenn," she heard him moan, claiming her lips in a brutal kiss, his pace fierce and unforgiving.
But this was what she wanted, how she wanted him. They'd waited so long, too long to be soft and gentle. Too long to worry about how long it lasted or how loud they were; too long to concern themselves with finesse or foreplay; just way too long, the temptation the last year overbearing and suffocating.
Her nails found his back, digging in, the pressure wonderfully intense, sending her mind and body careening down a snow covered mountain slope, freeskiing. And then she jumped, the long, steep, wickedly dangerous terrain falling away, cool air meeting sweat glazed body, and then she was flying—soaring.
They both were, the thick air holding them both, cradling them until the danger passed, and then they fell—exhausted and sated.
Temptation no longer held them hostage—conquered. For now.
Okay, so am I the only one who ever wondered if John and Delenn were ever tempted to have sex? I mean, hell, they were two healthy adults who spent a lot of time together and a lot of time apart under very stressful conditions. Let's be real, they weren't exactly Puritans (LOL). Anyway, thank you for reading, accepting my indulgence. Let me know what you think.