Part Three: Acceptance

Susan woke feeling pleasantly and unaccustomedly warm, with one arm slightly numb from lack of circulation. This time turning her head only brought a low throb, and it was soon forgotten in the stab of happiness she felt at the sight of Delenn curled up against her side, her head tucked into Susan's encircling arm. The smooth bone of the crest felt hard and warm against her shoulder, and Susan shifted slowly, trying to ease the blood back into her extremities without waking Delenn.

The light by the side of the bed was set to dim, and Susan could just see the chronometer. It was less than an hour until dawn, and she wondered if an alarm had been set. Delenn was curled into a ball, tight up against her side and breathing slowly and regularly. Susan found that she was terribly thirsty, and inched her arm out from under Delenn's head, letting it settle softly against the pillow. Then she scooted to one side, and carefully sat up. Her head ached, but not unbearably, and swinging her legs over, she slowly got up. Her whole right side was stiff and bruised, probably from the impact of her fall.

The dim light didn't extend to the doorway, and Susan felt her way, not wanting to crash into anything. Once out the door of the bedroom, she headed for the kitchen in search of some cool water. Padding across the cool tile floor of the hallway, she went through the dining room and then into the kitchen. The tall windows spilled moonlight onto the floor, and her shadow cut into the white rectangles as she moved silently through the room. She felt suddenly like an interloper, an intruder in someone else's dream, even though she had been in these rooms almost every day for a year. It was the night that made her feel unwelcome, that threw questions into stark relief in her mind, and uneasily she hurried through to the kitchen.

Once there, she ordered the lights to a comfortable and cheerful yellow glow. Pouring a glass of water, she drank deeply, feeling the liquid seep into every cell of her body. Putting down the glass, she heard the sound of a door opening and closing. Glancing into the dining room, she saw that the moonlight had given way to the soft pre-light of dawn. Sighing, she realized that Delenn had woken and gone to the balcony to attend to her daily ritual. Would it be different today, she thought? Everything felt different to her, but was it...was it really? Trying to busy her mind into some form of disciplined thought, she got out the things to prepare tea and breakfast for the two of them. The phrase was distinctly appealing and her mood lightened with the brightening sunlight visible in the next room.

"Mother?"

The voice came booming through the empty rooms. Susan recognized the voice, and pulled down another cup. She had grown fond of John's son the past year. After years of sending him gifts from every sector of space she had visited, it had been pleasant to finally get to know him. It had been a little awkward, given she had entered his life as his superior officer, but Susan had always managed to keep friendship and work separate.

"Anla'Shok Na!" David scooted to an abrupt stop and finished by standing ramrod straight in front of her.

Susan smiled and pointed at the table. "Have a seat. You had breakfast yet?" Then, as David gazed everywhere but directly at her, she looked down at her pajamas, and hesitated. Turning the kettle on, she said, "I'll just go change. You can make the tea." When she got back to the bedroom, she sat down on the edge of the bed abruptly. Things were getting complicated.

It took Susan several minutes to locate her clothes; not the ones she had been wearing, but a clean uniform Delenn had apparently requested be brought from her quarters. They were hung next to Valen's robe in Delenn's closet. Eyeballing the size, Susan realized this was the robe Delenn had had made for her. Susan shook her head; Delenn would never give up pressing for her to don the robe. Dressing swiftly, she paused to look at herself in the full-length mirror. Aside from the discreet bandage on the back of her head, and a scrape across her right cheek that highlighted a purpling bruise, she looked just like she had before the ceremony. It was like stepping back in time, like last night had never happened.

Entering the kitchen, she found that David had set the table for three, and was already drinking his first cup of tea. She noticed that he met her eyes this time, smiling in welcome, and she relaxed. As she reached for the teapot, Delenn entered the dining room from the balcony and came towards her. For a moment Susan felt caught between two aspects of herself, frozen in uncertainty as to what to do.

Delenn did not hesitate, coming up to her and sliding one arm around her waist, then reaching up to kiss Susan's cheek. Turning to see her son, who sat open-mouthed at the table, Delenn's smile broadened.

"David! I was not expecting you...are you not still on duty?" Delenn took a seat next to him, and poured herself and Susan a cup of tea. "Sit down, Susan. You are not a guest here, required to perform the Acceptance Ritual before food or drink."

David spluttered a bit, then said awkwardly, "I, uh, got permission to check on you. Because of the incident. I have to be back on patrol within the hour."

"Good," said Delenn. "Just time for breakfast then. Were you in the crowd?" she asked, suddenly concerned. "I looked over the briefing last night before Susan awoke." She paused to smile at Susan, then continued speaking to her son, "You were not hurt, were you? Or any of your cohort?"

Susan was busy doctoring her tea with sweetener, all the while looking about as if wishing she had something else to put in it. Delenn noticed her friend and her son studiously avoiding each other's eye. The tension in the atmosphere was becoming hard to ignore, even though she was very good at ignoring things that she didn't wish to see.

"I'm fine, Mother," protested David. "No one was hurt except..." his eyes slid over Susan and focused on an area just beyond her right ear. "A few cuts and bruises in the crowd, that was all."

Delenn nodded in satisfaction. "Good. This incident will soon be forgotten, and your father's memorial can be reconstructed and quietly put into place. Perhaps a private ceremony, with the three of us." She looked up and saw that David was staring into space, back straight and the fingers of his left hand tapping unsteadily on the table. Susan glanced at her, her expression tinged with guilt, and her shoulders braced and rigid.

"David," said Delenn thoughtfully, "do you know why I still perform the Ritual of Remembrance?"

His voice brusque, almost harsh, he answered her. "I suppose you want to remember him. I don't know why you need the ritual; I don't. I'll never forget him. Ever." His words came out like gunshots, rapid and clipped.

Drawing a deep breath, Delenn put her hands over his, stilling the restless tap-tapping. "But you will. As will I. Memory fades and pales in the bright light of the present. The ritual is an aid to keep the memories sharp and clear...a little longer." She spoke with the low cadence of a tolling bell. "I told a dear friend once, that while we remember them, those who have passed beyond our sight are never really gone." Her head dropped and her eyes fixed on their entwined hands. "I am no longer certain that is true."

David took her hands between his own and grasped them firmly. "Minbari can keep thousands of rituals in their heads, patterns of words and actions. I know your early training involved the memorization of all the existing prophecies of Valen, and I have heard you recite speeches of Dukhat word for word...why is this any different?"

"It is different!" Delenn flashed. "Words are dead things, unchanging and cold. And even though I tried to keep Dukhat's words alive, over time the phrasing, the emphasis, it was all lost. His voice was no longer on my lips. He was no longer there; Dukhat had been replaced by the legend of Dukhat. Memory is not what we desire; it is only a reflection of those we have lost. And sometimes, if the tie was personal and close...it is...it is not enough." Her voice faltered, having grown slow and sad. David put one arm around his mother and leaned his head against hers. It was an intensely private moment.

Susan stood and said shakily, "I should go." She looked at Delenn and said, "I need to check in at Ranger headquarters, see how the investigation is going." Nodding to David, she started for the door.

Delenn got up quickly and went to her. "You are not well. The physicians said you were to rest today."

Susan answered stiffly, "I'll check in at the medical facilities on my way back to my office. I'm fine," she said emphatically, then at the look in Delenn's eyes, she added gently, "I'll find you later. We can talk then."

"All right," said Delenn, pressing her arm. "Take care. I will see you when I see you."

Susan started off at her usual pace, but lingering aches and the occasional sharp pain at the back of her head slowed her down pretty quickly. As she walked the halls that connected Alliance headquarters with the Ranger Academy, she noticed that everyone, cadets to Alliance staff to Minbari elders bowed low as she approached. It was downright scary. The Rangers were especially reverent and more than once she heard one mutter 'Entil'zha' as she passed them with a return bow of her head. Obviously her actions at the ceremony had made some kind of impression on them.

Reaching the main office of the Academy, she entered to find everything progressing as normal. After checking her messages, and running through the files that had already been amassed on the attack the day before, she found she was at loose ends. Her normally full schedule had been cleared due to her injury, and it was a bit disconcerting to see how well things were going without her. On the other hand, she reflected, it was the sign of a well-run ship when constant supervision was not required. And it was lucky that nothing required her attention, because right now her mind was elsewhere.

Leaving the office, she started off in the direction of the medical facilities, as she'd promised to check in with the physicians, but as she became lost in thought, she also lost her way. The place was a warren, and although there were plenty of directional marks, in typical Minbari fashion they were symbolic rather than straight-forward. She stood at a vaguely familiar intersection of corridors, wondering where everyone was, when she heard the sound of bells to her left. If someone was there, she could ask directions, so off she headed to track down the source of the noise.

A set of heavy bronze doors were slightly ajar, and as she approached them she realized where she was; it was the Hall of Memories, a small temple dedicated to past leaders of the Anla'Shok. Entering she saw an empty circular room. The lighting was low, except for one curved wall of windows that looked out onto the training grounds. Candles were burning in alcoves inset into the walls, under plaques inscribed simply with names and dates in flowing Minbari script. There were dozens of them, set at staggered levels around the room. In the center of the room was a square pedestal, seemingly carved from a single block of smoky-grey crystal. A single figure knelt under one of these plaques, in front of him was a triangle of metal from which hung several small bells.

Susan had heard of the place, but somehow never gotten around to visiting it. The ceremony where John's plaque was set into the wall had occurred before she had come to Minbar to take up her current position. Glancing around she caught sight of one plaque with her own name, obvious from its being written in both Adronato, English, and to her surprise, Old Cyrillic. It brought a smile to her lips; the Minbari did love completeness and precision in their traditions. Moving forward, she saw that the Minbari who was praying was directly under the plaque inscribed with the name of Jeffrey Sinclair.

As she watched, the man hit the triangle once, twice, three times with a small hammer, its head wrapped in black cloth similar to that of the Ranger uniforms. Rising, he bowed low to the plaque, then went to the middle of the room, replacing the triangle in its holder in the center of the pedestal. He hadn't looked directly at her yet when he spoke, "Anla'Shok Na Ivanova, you honor us with your presence. May I be of service to you? My name is Rathenn."

Susan bowed a greeting to him in return, then cocked her head as she rifled her memories. "You were on the station once, weren't you? When Delenn took up position as Entil'zha?"

Rathenn smiled in appreciation. "Your memory is excellent. Yes, I was there. I served Entil'zha Sinclair, then Delenn, then Sheridan. And now you." His eyes were kind, but seemed to pin her down and thoroughly examine her from the inside out. "Why have you come to the Hall of Memories?"

"I got lost," Susan shrugged. "I'm supposed to check in with the medical staff." She looked around the room. "But maybe this was a fortunate accident." She walked over to Sinclair's plaque. Jeff's name, and the dates of his service were listed, at least the second time through. She wondered how many of the Anla'Shok knew of the double role of Jeffrey Sinclair in the long history of the Rangers. Reaching up, she ran her fingers over his name. "I wish you were here," she whispered.

"He was an extraordinary man," came a voice from behind her. "Reluctant at first, as you are now. But no one else could have done what he did to bring our races together. Not even Delenn herself."

Susan nodded, her hand flat against the cold metal. "I think Delenn can do anything she puts her mind to."

Rathenn chuckled dryly. "You know her well."

Susan couldn't help herself. "Not as well as I'd like to." Then she glanced guiltily at Rathenn. The Minbari could be touchy when it came to their leaders. But Rathenn was still smiling.

He looked keenly at her reddened cheeks, and suddenly asked, "And Delenn? Is she equally interested in...getting to know you?"

"What do you mean?" Susan blustered, wishing she'd kept her mouth shut. So many conflicting feelings jostled around inside her; they needed some outlet. A Minbari historian didn't seem the best confidant, but her choices were limited.

"I mean that Delenn is fortunate." Rathenn added, "She has been unhappy, and now it seems there is a possibility she will be so no longer. She has been greatly loved, and it seems she may be so again."

Rathenn's attitude was reassuring, and Susan tried smiling back. Her attention was drawn back to the plaque with Jeffrey's name. "You knew him?" she asked.

"I did. He honored me with his friendship, as much as he was able to give. Entil'zha Sinclair was a man who traveled lightly in this life. I was not surprised when he followed his heart elsewhere." Rathenn's voice was measured and sad. He examined Susan closely. "You have not taken on Valen's robes."

Susan shook her head. "It doesn't feel right. Anla'Shok Na, commander of the Rangers, that's a job I'm doing well enough. Those robes are part of it, I know, but not for me."

Rathenn stood with his hands loosely clasped in front of him. "Did Delenn ever tell you how she was chosen to lead the Rangers after Sinclair left us?"

Susan shook her head. "I suppose it was a vote of some kind? Maybe the senior Rangers or something?" She thought a moment, and said, "I don't know. How was I chosen? I thought it was John's decision."

"It was, in your case." Rathenn said thoughtfully. "Delenn chose Sinclair for the position. Dukhat chose Lennon." He smiled, "I suppose it was I who chose Delenn. Or rather let her know the choice of the Rangers." Laughing softly, Rathenn said, "At first she thought I was putting myself forward for the position."

"And why not?" Susan laughed in return. "It's not half so crazy as an old EarthForce General being given the top spot." Her laugh turned bitter. "I think John and Delenn thought they were being kind, giving me something to do with my life."

"It might have been kind, but it was also in the best interests of the Anla'Shok or neither would have suggested it. You may be assured of that," Rathenn said severely. Then he added gently, "And for what it is worth, I agree with their decision." Then he added, bowing his head to her, "Entil'zha."

"Is that what I am?" Susan asked shakily. "How do you know?"

"Your actions since you have arrived. Your dedication to the Anla'Shok. Your dedication to Delenn." Rathenn put one hand on her arm. "You must not be afraid to face your destiny."

Susan lowered her head, unable to speak for a moment. She was used to people putting their lives in her hands, but the Rangers were a breed apart. They were pledged to her as an individual rather than to an idea, like a government or the documents on which one was founded.

"When Delenn reformed the Grey Council she left the position of Chosen One open, for the one who is to come," Rathenn continued, his tone one of bland instruction. "Some say we wait for Valen to return."

Susan's eyes flickered to Sinclair's plaque then back to Rathenn's face. She saw that he was gazing at Sinclair's name as well. "You know?" she asked.

"I was there when he received his own message from the past. I did not realize what it meant at first, but later...well, he was the closed circle. That is what I was told." Rathenn closed his eyes, as if in pain. "I miss him still."

"I do too," replied Susan. "So there's no Chosen One at this point, just the Council. Does that bother your people?"

Rathenn chuckled. "Not as such. Things change, even for a people as traditional as my own. And there was always a period between leaders, for mourning, for the choosing. This one has gone on longer than most, but we can wait. The Council does its work, the civil service performs it duties as it always has. A government is possessed of a certain amount of entropy; once set in motion it tends to go on as before." He looked speculatively at Susan, "There are those who never accepted Delenn's refusal of the position. They would look to her for leadership if the occasion demanded it."

Susan looked suspiciously at Rathenn. "Does Delenn know that?"

Rathenn shrugged. "She knows many things. The question is, are you ready to go the last step, and assume completely the mantle of your predecessors? The Rangers deserve your whole heart; they are ready to give you theirs." He gestured towards the door. "Turn left as you leave; the Hall of Healers is through the second doorway on the right."

Susan said nothing, only bowing farewell to Rathenn. She could feel his eyes on her back as she left the room, head high, mind full of questions and answers, both jostling for recognition and acceptance.

After Susan left, Delenn returned to the kitchen where David remained seated at the table. His tea was growing cold in front of him, and his eyes were focused inward. Delenn picked up both their cups and set them in the warmer for re-heating. Removing them after a few seconds she placed the cup near David's hands, fingers interlaced as he remained lost in thought. Taking her seat, she held her own cup tightly wrapped in her cold fingers. It had been cool that morning, frost had touched the greenery on the stone walls that edged the balcony. Winter was approaching, and she felt the chill more these days.

After listening to the silence for another few moments, she spoke. "Susan may be here rather more often in the future. She may stay the night sometimes, although I do not think she will want to give up her quarters and I have no desire to leave these rooms. There are too many wonderful memories here." She tilted her head and examined her son, who had snapped his attention back at her words. "Is there something you would like to say about this, or about the future of your father's memorial?"

"I don't understand," David began hesitantly. "I mean, I guess I do understand, but what happened?

When did you and Anla'Shok Na Ivanova become...close? Did I miss something?"

Delenn smiled and took another sip of tea. "We have always been friends, if not intimates, since our days on the station. And this year...we have had to work closely together this year." Her smile faded as she add seriously, "She almost died yesterday. The healers said that if her head had struck the column at a slightly different angle..."

David nodded but pushed out more questions in a rush. "But it's only been a year since Dad left us! Less than that since Ivanova, Aunt Susan," he broke off suddenly, "What the hell do I call her now?" Frustration etched his features. "She's my superior officer, Mother! This is going to be extremely awkward, and I don't see how you can move on so damn soon anyway!"

"I am not moving on!" Delenn said heatedly. "I will never 'move on' and Susan will understand that or what is growing between us will die as rapidly as the arthra vines at the approach of winter!" Getting her voice under control, she went on, "You may address her as she asked you to; Ivanova in private, Anla'Shok Na in public. Nothing has changed that would affect this expression of basic politeness on your part." Softening at his stormy expression, she said, "It may have been only a year to you, David, but it is already an eternity to me. I love your father as much as I did the day he left; that will never change. Trust me in this. But the heart is a house with many chambers, as the saying goes. A door has opened in mine. I would like to see what lies beyond that door."

David still frowned, and said sulkily, "I still don't know what Dad would have thought of all this."

"I will ask him when next I see him," said Delenn. At David's shocked expression, she smiled sadly. "It will not be soon, I know that. But I told him once I would see him again, in the place where no shadows fall, and I will. But David...I do not believe he would begrudge me any happiness I find in the interim."

At that David shook his head and finally cracked a wan smile. "I don't believe he would either." Standing up, he walked behind his mother and reached down to hug her from behind, rubbing his chin against the tips of her crest. "Neither do I. And as Aunt Susan would say, Mazel Tov to to you both. Now I have to get back on duty or my boss will have plenty to say about it." He picked up the short cape he had draped over the back of his chair and flung it around his shoulders. Leaning over to give his mother a quick kiss on her uplifted cheek, he confided, "She's a bit of a tyrant, you know."

Delenn watched her son as he quick-marched to the front door. "I know," she replied.

That evening, after a day spent distracted and absent-minded, Delenn returned to her quarters wondering if and when Susan would come back. There had been no opportunities for them to meet during the day, but Delenn had managed to contact the healers and was relieved to hear that Susan had indeed met with them, and that her recovery was on track. She prepared enough food for two, but Susan had not arrived by the time of the evening meal. Delenn ate alone, as she did most nights since John had gone away.

Afterwards, she cleaned up what few dishes she had used, not wanting to leave them for the morning staff. When John was there, they had valued the time they had spent as a family, and the evening meal had been sacrosanct to them both. First there had been the two of them, then three, then back to two. Now there was only herself. The room was quiet, and as she passed into the living area where she had laid out some material that she needed to read, she paused to touch a few keys on the com unit on the wall, starting some Earth music playing softly. It was an instrumental piece, low throbbing strings behind a solo piano. Settling down on the couch, she tried to focus on the reports from the two new applicants to the Alliance. Worlds kept approaching them for membership, eager to join, even after twenty years. The Alliance was a success; the peace had been kept...largely, in any case. Everything had gone as they had planned. She had endured almost a year without him, and everything kept going, kept moving forward. Letting go of the papers hanging limp in her hand, she watched as they settled onto the table like the last of the sensa leaves fluttering to the chill ground outside.

A chime sounded in the room, almost masked by the music. Delenn felt a flutter of anxiety start up a nervous rhythm in her chest, but she didn't hesitate as she keyed in the unlocking code which had been set to high security after nightfall. She waited on the couch, back upright, hands crossed in her lap. Susan had full access, and could have entered directly. So it might not be her, but the guards would have notified her of anyone unfamiliar at the door this time of night. It was someone they knew she trusted.

Susan spent as much time that day as she could catching up on work, but finally even she could find nothing left undone. She went back to her quarters to take a quick shower. Examining herself in the mirror, she wondered that she looked the same. After all that had happened she should look different. Leaning forward, all she could see was the lines in her face and the grey in her hair. What in the world was she thinking? If she had any brains, she'd stay here tonight and get some sleep. Delenn would understand, even approve. But then again, she had suffered a head injury, and undoubtedly wasn't thinking clearly. Obviously that was the reason she headed back out, determined to talk things over with Delenn.

As Susan approached the doors, her stomach kept lurching from one side to the other, as if trying to flee the situation if she wouldn't. The guards nodded to her, and waited for her to go straight inside. Hesitant, she paused, then put her forefinger on the chime. She reasoned it wasn't fair to just walk in and surprise Delenn. The truth was any flicker of delay seemed worth the effort. But she didn't even get that as the door was unlocked with alacrity, and she went in, heart knocking against her ribs. Delenn should be in the living area by now, the hour for the evening meal being long past, so she headed that direction.

"Hello, Delenn." Now that she was there, she couldn't think of another thing to say. Delenn seemed at a loss as well, sitting there seemingly calm, but her eyes wide and dark in her pale face. Susan thought she looked like a shy wild fawn, poised to dart away if startled. "I came back."

"You said you would," replied Delenn. "And so I expected you." Then she shook her head. "That is a partial truth at best. I hoped you would come, and feared you would not. Or feared you would come and hoped you would not. It is confusing..."

Susan laughed briefly. "I'm glad I'm not the only one who's confused!" She crossed the room and sat next to Delenn on the couch. Taking one of Delenn's hands in her own, she said, "I spent some time today in the Hall of Memories."

Delenn tilted her head to one side as if trying to see what side-path this conversation was taking. "Was Rathenn there?" she asked.

"He was. I remembered him, you know, from the ceremony before, when you took on this job. He said that he knew Jeff when he was here. Seemed to like him." Susan's voice tightened on the name.

"They were friends," Delenn replied simply. "What else did Rathenn say?"

"He said you were lucky," Susan said. "Lucky in love," she added wryly. "I'll have to teach you poker," she added to herself.

Delenn was distracted by this. "What is this 'poker'? It sounds like a meditative discipline."

Susan's face split in a wide grin. "Sort of." Then she sobered as she continued, now holding both of Delenn's hands between her own, and gripping them tightly. "Rathenn wanted to know why I wasn't wearing Valen's robes."

"What did you tell him?" asked Delenn. Susan's grip was almost as strong as her own.

"I told him I wasn't sure it was the right thing for me to do; that I wasn't ready for that yet." Susan lowered her head, and closed her eyes. It was time to lay her cards on the table. "I can't replace Jeff, or you." Then she looked up, trying to speak with her eyes more than her voice. "I can't replace John."

"No, you can't," replied Delenn practically. "Each of us brought unique talents to the position. The Rangers have been fortunate to have had the right people in the right place at the right time. Or perhaps it is the times that brought out the right people. I do not know how it works, but it does."

Susan nodded, then licked her lips, suddenly dry and stiff. Her voice cracked as she said bluntly, "I can't replace John as Entil'zha...or as anything else either. You're missing him, and here I am..."

Delenn suddenly pulled her hands free of Susan's grasp, and stood up, arms stiff and straight at her side. "No one is asking you to replace him!" Fervently she declaimed, "I am not such a small sad person that I only have room in my heart for one love, even such a one as John Sheridan! I love him, as much now as I ever did, and I expect I will love him like this forever. But love is not reductive; it does not exist as splintered pieces of a finite whole!" Wrapping her arms around herself like a shield, she continued, "I love my son, and I loved my poor lost Lennier. Dukhat exists in my memory, still bright, and Marcus, others,...even Neroon. After a fashion." Her temper flashed then ebbed away as she looked at Susan sadly. "I do not know where this journey that lays before us may lead, but I know John would not want us to hesitate out of fear. If you do not want to tread this path with me, tell me and I will understand and accept your decision. But Susan," and here she held out out one hand towards the still-seated woman, "I am not putting you in John's place. That place is filled. This is new, to me, this feeling for you..." Her voice grew whisper-soft, and dropped off into silence.

Susan sat for a moment, facing that decision she had dodged her whole life. Embrace the illusion, step off the cliff and try to fly, take the irrevocable step towards intimacy- it was a terrible risk. And she was afraid; she could admit that to herself now. She had always been afraid. Delenn came back and sat next to her, placing one hand on her arm, just as Rathenn had in the Hall of Memories. Looking into Delenn's face, shy and open at the same time, eyes widened in fear and yes, desire; she realized it was like looking into a mirror. Carefully, she placed her hand against Delenn's cheek, running her thumb along the prominent cheekbone, feeling the soft skin under her hand, warm and pliant. Leaning forward, Susan touched her lips to Delenn's, feeling the puff of a breath held and let go at last. As their embrace lengthened and tightened in urgency and mutual need, Susan had one last coherent thought before she was lost. Falling wasn't so bad, not when you were certain someone was there to catch you.

The next morning, just before dawn, Delenn got up as usual to perform her morning vigil. Susan got up as well, and dressed rapidly. Walking across the room to the closet, she removed the robe of Valen that Delenn had prepared for her a year ago. Pulling it on over her clothes, she looked at herself in the full-length mirror in what had been John and Delenn's bedchamber. As she smoothed the robe across her chest, and fastened it at the waist, she saw a somber face looking back at her, one that was aware of the awful responsibility she was taking on, the gift that she had been given of a new beginning.

But it was nothing compared to the gift she had been given last night. Or so her heart sang, a heart which was speaking clearly to her at last.

from "Space, Time, and the Incurable Romantic" by JMS-

Susan Ivanova's memorial rose up...a tower of crystal and stone whose layers wove together in delicate patterns that caught the cool white light of an ordinary day and broke it into a million brightly colored pieces...

The Minbari...moved to the front of the crypt, where he placed the flowers in a waiting receptacle.

"Long ago, President Delenn ordered these flowers placed here every day. The words of Delenn are still followed, and will always be followed."