Chapter 7: Sunday

John fidgeted nervously as he watched Delenn take in their bedroom, the new improved bedroom, as far as John was concerned. Delenn had risen early that morning, getting in a couple of meetings before her doctor's appointment; John still amazed how Minbari had nothing in their culture that would constitute a weekend. That was just wrong on so many levels. But it also explained why Delenn had given him such an unfathomable look when he'd suggested a five-day work week for Alliance business. Yeah, that had been an interesting cultural exchange.

"Is this why you decided not to attend my appointment with me?" Delenn asked, turning from the room to face him, "Why you had Ranger Tannier deliver a vial of your blood to Dr. Fulan this morning?" She looked adorable today, John thought, whenever Delenn shed her normal work robes in favor of her more simple, form fitting ones. Today, she wore a white robe with pearl beads for buttons that opened at the top, dipping into a high V, meeting at the fitted waist, and flowing in soft ripples down her legs.

John nodded, and then stepped closer. "Do you like it, honey?" God, John hoped she did. Between the cost and the labor, John was ready to put in for another week off. He was too old for all he'd done this week. But it was worth it. Every smile, every laugh, every joyful tear, and every loving embrace from Delenn made it all worth it—aches and all. But next spring, John sobered, the house staff wouldn't have to call Delenn behind his back, because there was no way in hell he was doing the spring cleaning all by himself.

Delenn smiled up at him beatifically, her radiance erasing the last shoulder ache, dulling it in to serene throb of husbandly pride. John had given her an early spring, the groundhog finally seeing its shadow, the long winter night finally over.

"It's," Delenn gestured to the room, walking away from him as she began to explore, "lovely, John, reminds me of your bedroom on Babylon 5." Delenn glanced down at the most obvious similarity. "I was unaware you ordered a human bed from Earth." She moved closer, head tilting to the right and then the left. "It's much larger than the one on the station."

She raised her head and their eyes met, and John cleared his throat. "Well, um, honey, human beds come in various sizes—twin, full, double—depending on the size of the person or the . . . um need."

"Need?" she questioned, but posed another before John had a chance to fumble out an answer. "What size bed is this? I know you're tall, but I don't even think you require all that space." Delenn pointed to the bed, then ran her hand over the royal blue bed covering, the color Delenn said she saw when she dreamed of him.

"Well, it's a king-sized bed, Delenn, the largest size in fact."

"And why in the name of Valen do we need such a big bed—Oh," she said, a bright blush forming against all the white she wore, the answer to her question having been quickly worked out in her own mind.

John couldn't help but smile. In some ways, Delenn could be such a prude. Not when it came to making love, thank god, but in other ways, normally situations in which her more sensual side was glaringly obvious because there was no ritual for her to hide behind.

Delenn turned back to the large bed, and ran a hand over her cheek. "It looks c-comfortable."

John wrapped his arms around his wife from behind, wedging himself as close as possible against her, his lips going to her ear. "It does at that, honey. But I can't quite tell from here. I believe a hands-on test is in order."

"You haven't even asked about the results of the test," Delenn said, accepting John's nibbles to her neck with a sweet, low, moan of pleasure.

John bit deeper, sinking his teeth in with just the right amount of pressure, and soothing tongue, forcing Delenn to open her mouth on a gasp. Taking the opportunity given, John quickly spun Delenn around, capturing her mouth and the moan, creating a new one. He kissed her, all mouth and tongue, urgently fastening on to her, dipping inside her wet warmth the way he hadn't been able to do in three frustrating weeks. And it was as delicious as John remembered, her lips soft and firm under his, honeyed breath tingling his nostrils, tongue adventurous and sublime.

Delenn kissed him back, her fervor no less than his own. She wrapped those thin but amazingly strong arms around his neck, pulling John down to her, deepening the kiss, claiming his mouth with ardor. "How did you know?" Delenn murmured when they came up for air.

"You aren't breathing fire at me or the universe. In my mind, that's a big thumbs up that I can do this—''

John captured her lips again, his hands going to Delenn's head, gently tilting to better explore her mouth, feel her body as she melted into him, running exploratory hands under his shirt, burning him with her touch when flesh met flesh.

Abruptly, John ripped his mouth away from hers, causing Delenn to stare up at him in surprise, lust rimming her eyes. God, he was going to have to make this quick, for there was no way in hell he could hold off long with her looking at him like that, the scent of her desire calling to him—glorious nectar to a starving bee.

"Sit, please, Delenn," John said, moving around her and to the bed. He patted a spot on the left side of the bed, her side. She sat, her gaze never leaving his, and John couldn't help it; his eyes slid to her mouth, swollen slightly from his ardent kisses. How he'd missed those lips these past few weeks, kissing a staple of his Babylon 5 diet before the Shan'Fal.

John quickly turned away from Delenn. He walked to his closet, opened the tinted glass door, and retrieved an item from the bottom. Holding the item by the handle, John walked back to Delenn, who was now eyeing him and the gift with curious, wide orbs.

Before Delenn could ask the obvious question, John said, "It's an Easter basket."

Delenn glanced down at her charm bracelet. "Another symbol?"

John sat beside Delenn, the basket on his lap. "On Earth, humans celebrate Easter in a variety of ways. In my family, like many families, my parents always had an Easter basket waiting for us when we woke Easter morning. Liz and I would scramble out of bed and hustle down to the living room to see what the Easter bunny had left for us."

"Easter bunny?"

"Yeah, well, it's one of those legends human parents pass on to their children, about a giant bunny hopping from house to house, bestowing gifts of small toys and chocolates."

"Like this Santa Claus of yours?" Delenn questioned, the slightest of frowns forming. Yeah, a minor version of the way she looked when he'd explained Christmas. Something else he would have to review with her once their child was born, for there was no way a Sheridan would go without Santa, a tree, or Christmas.

"So," she began, clearly picking up his train of thought, "you intend on regaling our child with traditions that involve an overly large rabbit that dispenses chocolates to kids, an overweight man in a red costume who manages to traverse the planet in one night while being pulled by flying mammals, and an Easter basket full of sweets." Delenn shook her head. "No wonder your Easter bunny and Saint Nicholas are so large, all human holidays seem to involve the consumption of sugary, tooth decaying, and waist expanding foods."

Delenn tried to peer into the basket, a sheet of colored tissue paper covering the top. "While I expect to gain some weight during this pregnancy, I don't intend, however, to do it by filling my body with sweet, human treats. Although," she admitted, "I have had the strangest craving for that strawberry shortcake you used to order for me whenever we managed to make it to the Fresh Aire." Delenn gave the basket another wondering look. "You wouldn't happen to have one in that basket of yours, would you, John?"

His wife. Sometimes it was best just to let her speak and not interrupt or disagree, especially when it came to human culture and customs. In the end, it worked out better for the both of them. Delenn vented, questioned, and complained, and John was invariably rewarded by her eventual acquiescence.

"You know, Delenn," he said with a mischievous grin, "just for that, I should keep my Easter basket to myself. Clearly my wife doesn't appreciate a husband who spends three hours trolling downtown Tuzanor for the perfect gift."

John made to rise, but Delenn stopped him, grabbing his arm and pulling him back down.

"I think, John," Delenn said, leaning in to give him a kiss, "that you best allow me to open my gift before I rain fire down on you."

"Ah, my dragon awakens," John laughed, then handed Delenn the wicker basket trimmed in yellow, pink, and white silk strips.

Before Delenn removed the tissue paper, she gave John a serious look. "Valen once said, a gift is what one receives when they live their life in the service of others without expectation of glory, honor, or reciprocity. The most treasured of gifts are those not given out of duty, fealty, or pride, but those given because of love, devotion, and sacrifice."

Delenn touched John's cheek then, her small hand gliding over his face, finger sliding down to trace his lips.

"Open the gift, Delenn," John croaked with deep emotion, "before you cause us both to turn into watering pots, as my Nana used to say."

Delenn smiled, wiped a stray tear, and then removed the green tissue paper. Her eyes widened in surprise, and John was beginning to love that expression on her, a clear sign he had done something right. And beside the wide eyes she'd given him when she'd seen the mess he'd made of their living room, all the others this week were brimmed with blissful happiness.

And, no, John knew not to fill his wife's Easter basket with eggs, candy, flowers, or any other trinket she would find useless and trivial. Instead, he'd given her a very practical gift, one a logical person, such as Delenn, could appreciate.

Slowly, Delenn removed each item, cradling each one reverently before placing it back into the basket: Premur, a simple flatbread favored by the Worker Caste during their morning prayer break. According to the baker from whom John purchased the bread, it is very tasty and perfect for pregnant women. Two pouches of black ris, a spicy tea Delenn likes to drink before her evening prayer. Three packs of white ardmin, Minbari candles used in meditation. One black iss'hedin, a mid-thigh Minbari undergarment; sexy to be sure, but more tasteful than the lingerie John had purchased for Delenn while they were on Babylon 5. The ones she said would make her feel "silly," if she were to wear them.

John had given each gift considerable thought, wanting to get Delenn something she would not only like but use. However, one gift was more for him than for her.

Delenn opened the pale pink crystal vial, twisting the stopper, and smelling. She smiled. "Water lily and orange blossom," she said, translating the scents into English for him."

"The light floral fragrance reminded me of you, honey. Once I smelled it, I knew I had to buy it for you." And John knew exactly where he wanted to place the perfume. But he was getting ahead of himself. Not too far ahead, but he had one other gift to give her.

"It smells wonderful." Delenn took another deep whiff, enjoying the aroma, before replacing the stopper, and inserting the perfume bottle back into the basket with her other gifts.

John removed the basket from Delenn's lap and set it on the floor.

"I have one other thing I'd like to share with you, but I ask that you keep an open mind."

Delenn looked worried. "You didn't cook me flarn again, did you, John?"

John gave her a self-deprecating smile before taking her in his arms, kissing her lightly. "I've missed kissing you, your aiva on mine."

John situated them both on the bed, removing shoes and clothing first.

"I've also missed your aiva, your lips as well. I see you've been paying attention."

"Oh yes, Delenn, when you speak, I definitely listen, especially when I learn words like kas'zha," John whispered, kissing Delenn again, pressing her naked body into the new, firm mattress."

"Kas'zha," Delenn repeated on a moan. "We haven't done that in three weeks. I think perhaps I've forgotten how."

"Oh, baby, I intend to remind you. As often as I can, for as long as I can."

"Promises, promises," Delenn joked. But her laughter was quickly turned into a hiss of pleasure when John began a slow trek down her body, showing her he missed kissing more than her mouth.

Third base, John thought when he reached Delenn's hairless center. And while John had known the pleasure of giving oral stimulation, he'd discovered there was something so erotic about a woman who never had to shave, body perpetually smooth, with heightened sensitivity to the slightest tickle, kiss, or lick.

John fingered his freshly trimmed beard, figuring he had enough hair for the both of them. He kissed her belly button, darting his tongue around the cute center, waiting for the reaction he knew would follow.

And there it was, a resolute hand in his hair, strong fingers gently massaging, his scalp inordinately sensitive to Delenn's practiced touch. John leaned to the right slightly, fumbling until he found what he was looking for, Delenn's left leg flung over the side of the bed.

John opened the bottle of perfume and dabbed a few drops under each breast, on her wrists, under each knee, and inside both thighs.

"Do you like the way that feels, honey?" John asked. "You smell like a garden, my personal flower in bloom. My rose," he said, kissing her inner thigh, Delenn's only response was a shallow whimper, her left leg going up and over his right shoulder.

John kissed the other thigh, lingering this time, pressing teeth, tongue, and lips into the delicate skin, raising gooseflesh, Delenn's hips instinctively rising.

"You like that?" John asked again, knowing Delenn wouldn't answer, her silence louder than any scream. No, Delenn was a quiet lover, not reserved, just quiet. That is until she climaxes, then her screams could blow the top off any Minbari temple.

John had every intention of making his wife scream, hoarse in fact, preferably with his name scorching both their ears. Three weeks. Yeah, those pin'cha levels would be off the charts once John finished with Delenn. Take that damn toxic hormone, requiring three shots in the ass.

"I wrote a teela for you, Delenn."

That got her attention, though she struggled to rise, reclining on her elbows, looking down her body and at John.

"A poem?"

"Don't look so surprised, honey, I do know a little of poetry."

"Not surprised, John, just honored you would compose a teela for me."

John wondered if she would feel honored after he'd finished the recitation.

"Lay back, honey, and just listen. It's not very long."

Delenn complied, relaxing against the down pillows, and John settled himself comfortably between her legs.

"You once told me all life is precious when I gave you roses for Valentine's Day. Human males typically give flowers, jewelry, or candy to the woman they love on special occasions. You rarely eat sweets, indulge my jewelry giving, and refuse to accept flowers that were plucked only to give the receiver a few days of aromatic pleasure, while denying the flower its life force."

John kissed a particularly sensitive spot on Delenn's calf, smiling when she twitched; curling her toes as he licked upward, stopping only inches from where he knew Delenn wanted him. His wife never shy about giving or receiving.

"Then I realized there was no need to give you roses when you're my personal rose garden, a single bud that will blossom under the right stimuli."

John blew on her, warm breath followed by exploring fingers, navigating the flower, the bud hidden, petals closed, awaiting the sunlight.

"You are my rose, an untouched flower, a delectable pistil, waiting for my pollen, waiting for me. You are my rose, exquisite in form and fragrance, better to taste than allow to sit and go to waste. You are my rose, petals wet with dew, opening to the morning shower, opening to me."

And John made to open his flower, soaking them in his dew. But then Delenn's body began to shake, and it wasn't from a climax.

John leaned up on his elbows and he saw it. And heard it. Dammit, Delenn was laughing. At him. Again.

"What the hell, Delenn?"

"John, I'm s-sorry, but that had to be the worst teela I have ever heard."

John harrumphed, pushing himself up further until he rest completely overtop of his wife.

"That's the thanks I get for pouring my heart out, trying to set the mood, give you pleasure."

"John," Delenn said, squirming with purpose under him, reminding John exactly where his body was in proportion to hers, "you know exactly how to give me pleasure." She tilted her hips up, emphasizing her point, and grazing in to his. "So, let's just add poetry to the same category as cooking—things John Sheridan should leave to the professionals."

Delenn did something else amazing with her hips, and John was lost; poorly written teela and mocking laughter forgotten.

"I believe," John said, taking the tempting offer, claiming fourth base, finally, "that I've planted quite a few seeds this week."

"You want an Easter basket, John?" Delenn asked with a sly, sensual grin, wrapping her legs around his waist, pulling him deeper. "Or maybe you want me to have that giant bunny of yours bring you boiled colored eggs and chocolaty treats. Better yet," she said, trying desperately to keep the moan from her voice, eyes from rolling in her head, John's movements punishingly accurate, hitting that sensitive bud every time his wife taunted him, "we can have a chimney added on to the house and invite Santa Claus and his elves for tea, and you can wear a scary Halloween mask, and—Oh John, right there. Valen, how I've missed this, missed you. Please, John, don't stop"

"Oh, baby, I have no intention of stopping. You feel so damn good, so hot, so tight. And you're all mine, my flower, my spring."

John loved to hear Delenn moan her pleasure, pleased he could give her such joy. And he would continue to do so, in the bed and without, spreading his rays of sunshine, bringing her spring every day until his cold, winter nap took him from her.

But until then, John Sheridan would love Delenn of Mir, and John knew once he passed beyond the Rim, Delenn would forget him not.