Reassurance

Thirty minutes ago Sheridan had left a completely unproductive meeting with Mollari and had decided to stop by Ambassador Delenn's quarters to ask her a quick question about the agenda for the next Council meeting. Now he was fucking her. It was, he reflected as she bit his shoulder in a most undiplomatic way, a nice change of pace.

xxx

His first thought, when the door cycled open and revealed Delenn standing there in a robe, was that he must have woke her up. His second thought was that she had a cold. Then, as Sheridan really took in the red, puffy eyes, the way she had her arms wrapped around herself, her downcast expression, he realized that she was upset - more upset than he'd ever seen her.

"How can I help you, Captain?" she asked, doing her best to sound normal, but he could hear the strain in her voice.

"What's wrong?"

She shook her head, a deer in the headlights look on her face. "Nothing. I am fine, thank you. Is there another emergency?"

"Did something happen?" He closed the distance between them, and she took a hurried step back. "Delenn, what is it?"

"Nothing." She had meant for the word to come out strong, forceful and final, he could tell. Instead it was a cracked whisper, and she clasped her hands together in a bid to maintain control even as her eyes welled up with tears. Sheridan didn't even think - he just put his arms around her and pulled her close. She was just letting him hold her at first, her clasped hands a solid lump against his chest, keeping her a few inches away. Then she sighed, slid her arms around his waist, and tucked her head under his chin.

"It'll be okay," he murmured. She shook her head, and he rubbed his hand up and down her back. He'd seen her before out of her robes, at their dinner date a few months earlier, and had been struck by how slender she was without the layers and shoulder caps. Holding her made it even more apparent, and Sheridan couldn't help feel the urge to protect her, keep her safe. The fact that she was crying and sniffling didn't help matters any. "Whatever it is, we'll figure it out."

"No." There was a note of resignation bordering on despair in her voice that hurt to hear.

"It's okay, Delenn."

She wrenched herself back, fierce eyes turned up to his. "Do you know what that reporter said to me? That my face made Humans angry, that it made them feel betrayed." Sheridan felt his jaw clench. That woman was lucky she was already off the station; even now he was considering hopping on a Fury and going after her. "Everyone who sees me thinks that I am a…a freak. I hear their comments every day I leave my quarters. From Narn, Centauri, other Minbari, but most especially from Humans. The comments...can be quite hurtful." The brief flash of anger vanished, and she started crying in earnest. He tugged her close again.

"Not everyone who sees you feels that way."

"Yes."

"I don't feel that way."

She let out a sharp, sarcastic laugh; cynical. Sheridan was surprised by how much it stung. "You and the command staff are very polite. I appreciate your sensitivity." Now wait a second - what was she implying? That he thought she was a freak, too, but just covered it up better? Feeling obscurely like she'd just called him a liar, he did the first thing that popped into his head without even thinking. He grabbed her by the shoulders and kissed her as hard as he could.

After a couple seconds it occurred to him that he really shouldn't be angry at her for being self-conscious and paranoid about what people thought about her looks, so he decided to make it a I think you're really, really pretty kiss instead of a shut up shut up kiss. He put a hand to the small of her back, one to the back of her head - he rubbed his fingers against her scalp, and she shivered against him. Pulling his mouth away from hers just enough to make her think the kiss was over, and waiting for her to open her mouth to say something, he slid his tongue inside. She made a sound, and he was reasonably confident it was a moan and not a protest, so he made the kiss as long and deep and perfect as he could.

Sheridan finally broke it off when she started squirming, which was about ten seconds after he had started thinking about how nice it would be to breathe again. Delenn stared up at him with the most delightfully flabbergasted look on her face, and he felt quite proud.

"What was that?" she asked. Had he thought she was really, really pretty? She was beautiful - no, gorgeous.

"That was a kiss. It's something Humans do-"

She smiled, big and bright, and then she laughed a little. Had he thought she was gorgeous? She was otherworldly - no, a goddess. "I know what a kiss is, Captain."

"Call me John."

She placed one light fingertip on his lips. "And what was the purpose of that kiss?"

"Are you saying a boy can't kiss a pretty girl without needing a reason?" He wasn't sure he'd said the right thing - her eyes got very serious, and she stared at him for a long, long beat. Then she was kissing him, then her tongue was the one exploring, and then things happened very quickly.

She was the one to remove the first article of clothing, unzipping his jacket and tugging it off. He was the one to move them in the direction of the bedroom. She was the one to pull the sliding doors shut. He was the one to lower her onto the bed - so horny there wasn't enough blood left in his brain to wonder why it was at a forty-five degree angle.

Sheridan thought that tomorrow he might start rationalizing things. He just wanted to make her feel better; he just wanted to make sure she knew that she was attractive; he just wanted to stall an interstellar crisis, which was sure to result if the Minbari Ambassador thought every Human hated her. But the truth was, he just wanted her. He'd wanted her since the moment he saw her walk into that restaurant, wearing a slinky black dress and putting any other Human woman to shame. Dropping her off at her door after dinner that night, he'd wanted to follow her into her quarters and do what he was doing right now.

"Oh, John," she said (she whimpered, a voice from the back of his brain corrected, raising a glass in salute, you've made her whimper, Johnny) as he slid inside her. He should have made sure this was what she really wanted, but she didn't seem like she was complaining, raising her hips to meet his, digging her fingers into his back.

"You are so beautiful," he said, hoping he'd last long enough to make this good for her. She clenched around him hard, biting his shoulder, and Sheridan realized that she was in the same boat he was. He still tried not to thrust like a teenage jackrabbit, but it had just been too long, and this whole situation still felt just slightly unreal. He was trying to figure out how to brace himself against this bed with one arm so he could get a hand down between them to get her off when she came like an earthquake beneath him, and he gratefully lowered his head to her shoulder and gave in.

The nice thing about the angle, Sheridan reflected, was that he didn't have to immediately heave his body to the side to keep from crushing her. He couldn't let himself truly enjoy the afterglow, though. Now came the awkwardness. On the count of three... He started to lift himself up and away and out, but her hands clutched at him.

"Where are you going?" she asked. The look in her eyes wasn't one concerned with awkwardness; she looked a little afraid. Maybe that he was going to reject her now?

"Nowhere." He lowered himself back down, enjoying the way her legs tightened around his waist again, and set to kissing her. After awhile she started moving beneath him again, and Sheridan wondered if he was too old to go for the double pump. His knees were certainly feeling too old right now; how did Minbari screw on this thing on a regular basis? He didn't want to disappoint Delenn, though, who was making all kinds of wonderful noises while moving against him in all kinds of wonderful ways, so he decided to go for it.

Please God, please God. He leaned up on his elbows, looked down at her body; he hadn't got a good look before, he'd been completely focused on getting her naked and getting on top of her. He kept bringing his eyes back up to her face - he wanted to remind himself that he wasn't just looking at some random naked body, he was looking at Delenn's naked body. She was watching him closely, a hint of that fear creeping back in. And then the thought occurred to him in words: I am fucking Delenn. The Minbari Ambassador. I am actually fucking her. His cock was as impressed and bowled over as his brain, and there really was nothing like getting hard while already inside a woman.

Thank you, God. That was apparently all the reassurance Delenn needed that he really, genuinely found her attractive, because she flopped her head back and squeezed her eyes shut. Now he could take his time, pay attention to her, run a hand along her body and start finding all those little spots that made her sigh or cry or moan. He watched her face, watched pleasure flood it.

"Open your eyes," he whispered, forehead against hers. She did, and he made her look at him. There wasn't going to be any awkwardness tomorrow, he could tell; this wasn't going to be a random hook-up they'd have to pretend didn't happen so they could keep working together. A tear slid down her cheek toward her ear, and he kissed it away. She sighed, a sigh filled with so much relief that he felt his own eyes prick with tears. Their orgasms this time weren't sharp and quick, but slow-building, giving him enough time to watch hers roll over her. He'd never seen anything so beautiful in his life.

Lying on his side, kissing her softly, wondering why they'd taken so long and wondering that this had even happened, both at the same time.

"Will you stay the night?"

"Oh, I wasn't planning on going anywhere."