BREATHING, BETWEEN THE CANDLE AND THE STAR
By Judy Bierman
Just a gap filler for Season 5 "MOVEMENTS OF FIRE AND SHADOW" and "THE FALL OF CENTAURI PRIME". Thanks to all that helped, but most of all Alya, for kicking me in my creative butt. Disclaimers.......we don't need no stinkin' disclaimers----We all know that the B5 universe has been a gift from JMS, and we are grateful to him for allowing us to vacation there!
John was virtually alone as he sat in the command seat of the Whitestar. G'Kar had gone off to contact his government, and the few Minbari around him were performing their tasks in their usual silent Minbari manner. <Delenn>, he sighed to himself, closing his eyes thinking that without Londo's aid she might have been lost. Delenn was finally resting, which wasn't a challenge after her rescue from her nearly destroyed Whitestar. When she, G'Kar and John returned from seeing Londo on Centauri Prime, Delenn, being Delenn, had to fuss over Lennier and his broken leg, and of course dutifully contact the Grey Council. The challenge was to get Delenn to rest alone. She knew John was tired after the past few days worth of ordeals, but stubbornly refused to lie down. John coerced her by promising to watch till she fell asleep. All John wanted to do is crush her in a loving protective embrace. Fear, guilt and anger with himself would not let him.
Delenn had drifted off into a much needed slumber. John found the quiet of the Whitestar's command deck a good place to try and sort out his thoughts. As a soldier he'd been afraid before. Afraid for the life of his crew, his friends and family, and on occasion himself. Never in his wildest nightmares could he have imagined the effect Delenn's imminent death would be on his very being. She was the other half of his soul, so she said, and the guilt of knowing that he might have sent her into harms way tore him apart. For the first time, he feared for his soul and heart at the thought of going on without her. The future seemed selfishly unbearable alone.
<I told her not to take any unnecessary chances, damn it> he cursed to himself, <but I put her in that position!!> He closed his eyes remembering the feeling when Garibaldi told him of the lapse in communication with Delenn's Whitestar. John pictured Michael's face, plus the Centauri Battle cruisers on the prowl, and the same leaden-chested vacuum feeling grew. He shook his head to clear the picture, and took a deep shaky breath. He didn't know how to lessen the feelings of guilt and weakness. John recalled the Ranger's voice, "No reply from Delenn's Whitetar, Mr President." <What have I done!!> he remembered thinking. "Shall we abandon our position and join the search Mr President?" <Whatever is required of us... the cause....peace...life.> Delenn's voice in John's mind was interrupted. "Mr President?" repeated the ranger. How would he be able to exist without her, quietly consumed John's mind, but replied "No!"
When they were first reunited on Centauri Prime, John could barely concentrate. <Aw hell,> John chided himself, <I was afraid to touch her.> He raked his hand through his hair chuckling sadly to himself over the fact that he must have asked Delenn at least four times if she was ok, and never really heard the answer. He suddenly felt unworthy of Delenn, and emotionally out of control. Now he truly understood how Delenn must have felt when he went off to Z'Ha'Dum. At that point, John decided the meditation that strengthened and helped to ground the keeper of the other half of his soul might help him.
On their return to Babylon 5, John told Delenn that he was beat and going straight to bed. <Beat>, she reminisced to herself about the time she thought John had been hurt, after hearing the word beat used in such a manner by him for the first time. They laughed together, and John realised that he really wasn't that tired. She blushed at her next thought, hoping she could convince John that he wasn't 'so beat.' But he seemed more than exhausted; he seemed preoccupied, and even distant. She found it equally disturbing that he not only refused having a cup of tea with her and turned down her offer of a back rub, but also quickly rejected Delenn's suggestion that she scrub his back, instead heading straight for the bathroom alone. "John, what is wrong?" She pleaded as he slipped into the bathroom. She heard him grumble something while turning on the water, but that was his only response.
"The human male," Delenn sighed as she retreated to the kitchen, "what a pain in the butt sometimes." Trying to give John the space he didn't know how to ask for, Delenn considered going to her own quarters for the night, but knew in her heart he wanted her there as much as she really needed to be near him. She also knew that she needed to learn how to deal with his 'male mood swings' as Ivanova called it. Delenn sat in the kitchenette sipping her tea, thinking about how to manage John. She hoped that the shower would ease John's mind enough for the two of them to relax and talk.
The long silence after the shower had been turned off signaled to Delenn that John wasn't even going to say good night. Peering into the bedroom she noted that John was not only already in bed, but was on his side facing away from her. She knew that position shadowed John's troubled mind. Usually it was in his dream state, not the state of mind prior to bed. Not knowing what else to do, Delenn prepared for bed. He was still in a fetal position when she exited the bathroom, so she quietly slid into bed next to him. He wasn't asleep and she knew it. The gentle snoring that she had gotten used to wasn't hanging in the air. She shifted closer to John, gently running her hand down his back praying he'd accept her comfort, but all the small gesture did was trigger some 'pretend' snoring, Delenn surmised. "Good night my love," she whispered and kissed him between his shoulder blades.
Sometime later, after Delenn had fallen asleep and John could not, he escaped into the livingroom. Once again he was reliving his choices, and the guilt born of his own fear of a future without the woman in the other room. He had been sitting on the couch, elbows on his knees and face in his hands, when Delenn rolled over in bed seeking the warmth of John's body. Seeing that he wasn't in the bathroom, Delenn was in the doorway to the livingroom instantly, neglecting to put on her robe. "John, are you alright?" she spoke quietly to John, who never moved from his position in the dimly lit room.
"Go back to bed, Delenn," he mumbled as he sat up, running both hands through his hair. "I'll be ok." he stated stiffly, trying to sound in control.
Delenn moved fluidly towards the kitchen. "I'll make some tea to help you rest."
"Don't bother!" he barked angrily, "this is between me, myself and I. Go back to bed, please." He never looked at her, and once again he leaned forward and put his face in his hands. "John, you have been like this long enough. Don't shut me out." She didn't mean to, but she sounded like a scolding mother. That was it; John exploded. "Please Delenn, leave me be!"
A slap across her face would have hurt less than the sting of his verbal anger. When Delenn spun around to look at John, he was looking at her. There was a flash of fiery emotion on his face which quickly diminished when he saw the shattered look in her vivid green eyes.
"I do not know who you are angry with John Sheridan, but why am I being punished?" she spat as if in response to having been struck.
They stared at each other for a timeless moment trying to communicate what they couldn't say with words.
"Oh god Delenn," John cried, "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry!" Again John raked his hair with both hands, sighing, "I don't believe this," as he shook his head and leaned back on the couch. Rubbing his head nervously with his left hand, he held his right hand out to Delenn with a sad helpless wide-eyed look. Gliding across the room to him she took his hand and sat on the edge of the couch.
"Please talk to me John," she beseeched him, placing his palm on her cheek. After a moment, she turned her head and kissed his palm, then looked away from John's face while placing his hand over her heart and quietly pleaded, "My heart aches because you seem to be pushing me away, my husband."
Delenn reluctantly released John's hand as he pulled it away. His fingers gently slid under her chin, tilting it up to look at him. A loud sigh escaped John's lips in response to what seemed like the weight of the universe being slowly being lifted from his back. "I don't know how to explain this, Delenn," he said, speaking plainly. John closed his eyes and pursed his lips, causing Delenn to reconsider speaking. "I know you love me. I just don't know why sometimes!" he said with a wistful smile.
"Honey, I lost it when we'd had no contact with your Whitestar for over 12 hours. All I could think of at first was, that it was my fault. I sent you out there. I as good as sentenced you to death." His voice grew quiet when it started to break. "I was thinking about you, I pictured your face--your beautiful face full of determination against the inquisitor. Seeing the fire in your eyes as you told him that 'This is my cause. Life. One life or a billion is all the same!' Those were brave words that I know came from your soul. I felt far from brave thinking of life without you!" John's word's flodded the room as he continued.
"And it was my fault, being the big, brave, pompus president that I am, assuming that nothing could happen, I asked my wife to do the unthinkable." Delenn knelt on the couch next to John , "Ssshhhh" she whispered as she stroked the side of his face turning it towards her. "Delenn, you need to know---I have to tell you---I-- I knew you'd gladly give your life for what is required, as you'd say." He smiled sadly. John leaned over and gently kissed her on the cheek whispering, "You are far braver than I, Delenn.
"More than anything, I could not fathom any future without you." He spoke in such a deep hushed tone, she thought he was sharing a secret. "I didn't think I could continue living." As he spoke he carefully touched her cheek, her brow, her lips. "Breathing the air you once breathed---walking the paths you'd walked---sleeping without your comforting warmth in our bed." Delenn silently cried as she stared towards the corner of the room.
"John, my dear sweet love, I am guessing that when you returned from Z'Ha'Dum, all that knew of my actions, while you were gone, respected my privacy." John blinked in wonderment as she put her hand over John's heart and spoke, "As you know all life is sacred to Minbari, so I followed Minbari ritual for the departure of a loved one. Seclusion, meditation, and fasting are an intregal part of the ritual, but I felt guilty and was angry with myself for sending you away while feeling betrayed. I even told Stephen, much to my surprise, that I thought I loved you too much." John held her hand to his heart with both of his.
"John, Minbari do not reveal such feelings easily. My human heart and my Minbari soul were in total conflict. I could not imagine my world without you, and against Stephen's wishes and concern, continued the ritual. John, understand me, I planned on fasting till you returned---and if you didn't..." She swallowed hard, looking away. "My human heart hoped to join you by using a Minbari ritual that a human body could not handle." There were tears in John's eyes as he whispered her name, but Delenn quickly moved her hand from over his heart to his lips to quiet him. "And you are the one that gave me the reason to go on with life."
"When Stephen was going through your personal belongings, he came across your personal logs, and found one he'd hope would pull me back to living. You mentioned your love for me---you sounded so amazed and happy---saying that with that love, when you looked at me you thought you could fly." Delenn sighed and looked into John's eyes saying, "It was then that I knew you'd never leave me, my dear sweet confused husband. I had the strength to believe and carry on till your return."
"John," she piped as she kissed his left and then right cheek, "We are one, we are old souls, and I am no braver than you." She leaned into him, wrapping her arms around his neck, whispering, "Fools in love, now I understand what that means---we love each other more than the universe allowed for." John's hands snaked up her sides to her shoulders moving her enough to softly place his lips on hers.
Running his hands down her naked arms, he hummed, "Nice, but aren't you cold?"
"This is how cold I am," she giggled as she took his gentle pecks to passionate all consuming kisses. He cradled her in his arms till they realised they needed air. Delenn's head resting on John's chest over his heart.
"Do you know your heart speaks? I can hear it."
They stayed like that till their breathing evened out and John spoke as if in a dream. "Tha thump, tha thump---I hear it honey. It's saying De lenn, De lenn, De lenn." He smiled and kissed the top of her head.
The silence was broken by Delenn voice. "May I ask you a question?"
"Ummmm" was all he said, which she took for yes, and proceeded.
"What did you want me to let you be?"
"Huh?" he mumbled.
"When you, as human's say, lost it, you asked me to let you be, but you never finished the sentence---be what?"
Delenn could hear the laughter begin to rumble in John's chest before he laughed out loud.
"Alright," she said pulling herself away from him, to see his face.
A broad smile played across his lips as he explained, "It means leave well enough alone, don't get involved, don't touch, don't change anything."
"Oh," she whispered watching her hand move under his robe. "Do you still feel that way?," her fingernail teasing his nipple. "Should I leave well enough alone?" she said seductively. Sliding the robe aside, she leaned forward taking his nipple between her teeth. She smiled as she sat on John's lap; she could feel an erection building. "And I do believe there is something that wants to be touched."
"I think you are correct." He moved his hips, and began to place tiny kisses and bites along her shoulder as he pushed the strap away. Delenn squirmed against John's growing erection as he made yummy humming noises against her shoulder and neck.
He held her against him with his left arm, as his right moved down her legs on the couch to the bottom of her nightgown. Her roaming hands grabbed his shoulders as his hand found its way to the bare skin of Delenn's leg. They let out mutual hums as his fingers glided up her inner thigh.
"Oh Valen---John, please," she said breathlessly as a sensual shock ran through her as his fingers reached the juncture at the top of her thighs, which opened for him.
He chuckled triumphantly. "I don't think we'll be able to leave well enough alone." And as his fingers touched her swollen labia, soft mound and up to her stomach, she gasped.
His hand stilled on her stomach. "Delenn, honey..." Her eyes opened to see her husband wiggling his eyebrows, and nodding his head towards the bedroom.
"Oh no, John Sheridan!" The tone in her voice was playful, as she less than gracefully rolled off his lap and stood up. The devilish grin on her face with the way she proclaimed, in her best Satai voice "What is started here, will finish here!" With unusual flair, she whipped her nightgown over her head, threw it aside and lunged towards a very surprised John Sheridan.
She stopped above his seated body with her hands propped on the back of the couch, one either side of his head, and pushed her leg slightly between his. Face to face with John, Delenn stated in her darkest Satai voice, "Open your robe, Mr President!" He obediently untied and threw open his robe, immediately skimming his hands up her naked body to her lovely dangling breasts. She bent her arms slightly to capture John's lips, playfully biting and sucking them. "Mr President," trying not to giggle in *Satai Mode,* "Please remove the garment from your lower body. I expect full reparation for your earlier actions!"
"Really?" he stated flatly, one eyebrow raised in exclamation.
"Yesss!" she murmured, swiping her tongue across his lips. "Yes I do!" Trying to look serious. He arched his back to slide the pajamas past his rear end to his knees.
"Whoa!" he yelped, as her mouth went for one of his nipples, and her foot came up to his knees, catching the top of his pants, stomping them to the floor. A more than shocked John asked, "Are you practicing some kind of twisted Ranger training on me, Entilzha?"
Proudly she stated, "I am, as you humans say," she straddled his seated body swiftly, "Pulling out all the halts!"
She leaned into him, as John breathed into her ear seductively, "Stops."
"STOP!?" she cried, pulling back to look into his eyes. His hazel eyes danced as he chuckled, "Stops, honey. It's--- pull out all the stops!"
"It amazes me how we communicate at all." Her tone flustered as the blush subsided. That winning Sheridan smile began to laugh; she tried pouting, causing more laughter from John, and eventually for Delenn to giggle. She threw her arms around his neck and he held her tight rocking jubulently.
"God I love you, damn it!", sounding as if he resigned himself to his fate.
"Absofragginlutely, Mr President," announced Delenn. Their laughter subsided when Delenn began to suck on John's earlobe. Stopping for a moment, she breathed into his ear. "I think I know a language the we are both now fluent in."
"John!" she said abruptly as his beard tickled her neck, "I can not communicate when you tickle me like that!" As his hands raised in surrender, her lips traveled to the base of John's neck, and a hand carefully sliding down between their bodies to John's throbbing 'communication device.'
"Oh that's good," he moaned as she stroked it into a stiffer state. "I've even missed you when we were in the same room!" Enclosing his hand around hers, the head of his penis touched her warm wet opening, and then slid over her very hard swollen bud.
"Yes, oh yes," she exhaled. John couldn't believe how aroused she was as she bucked into his stomach. After trying to hold her hips, he grabbed her face, crushing it with a hard kiss growling, "Communicate, talk to my honey!"
They moaned together in song as she lowered herself onto him. His hands moved to her hips again trying to pull her down, but she resisted, removing his hands and adjusting herself on his penis. "Delenn!" he begged. She gently touched his face, and mumbled something in Minbari, lowering herself more onto his pulsing erection. "Delenn please, have mercy!" he wailed, as he rested his hands on his head after running his fingers over his tingling scalp.
With her eyes closed, trying to steady her breath, Delenn whispered, "It is a ritual," and without losing a beat said, "and John stop doing that or you may soon have as much hair as Michael."
Only the word 'ritual' registered in John's mind. "A ritual?" he groaned, as she lowered, nearly taking all of him.
"Yes, my love---a new one---just for us," she panted. "I am making it up as I go!"
His eyes flew open, his chortle swiftly changing into an "Awwww hell!" as she ground herself onto him.
"This," she exclaimed, "is the ritual."
John grabbed her behind, holding it so he could pump her. "A ritual!" growled John from deep in his chest as he locked a fierce gaze with Delenn.
"Yessss!" Her voice breaking as her body responded to his movements. She then laughed as she panted, trying to speak. "This is a ritual" her eyes slid closed, "I hope---we will---practice often!" Her words being broken by their near gallop pace. "To let---the universe--know---we are one!"
"Delenn, look at me---please!" When their eyes met he proclaimed, "You are my one." His words of passion along with the husky roll of his voice swung her over the edge. She threw her head back rejoicing the experience in Minbari and English. John's fingers slid down Delenn's throat to her breasts, as he hit his peak, feeling her inner muscles contract around his engorged penis. Delenn's fingers dug into John's palms as she clutched his hands to her breasts riding out her orgasm. At John's release, he cried a mixture of loving phrases, and male gibberish. Before melting into his arms, Delenn panted, "I think we have finished the ritual; you having declared your love in maybe two languages." She kissed his neck, as his head came to rest on her shoulder.
"My god Delenn, you do have a special connection with the universe," he whispered, caressing her back with what seemed like last of his energy.
Listening to Delenn drift off, John lay his head on the back of the couch, her steady breathing a cadance to lull him to sleep. Feeling himself begin to doze off, he decided that neither of them would be happy in the morning if they remained in that position. With a modest amount of difficulty, but just enough to be glad that Delenn was asleep, he shifted her on his lap, scooted to the edge of the couch,and lifted her before striding into the bedroom. From a dream state, Delenn purred Minbari love chants in John's ear. He balanced her on his knee, while holding her with one arm the other quickly turned down the bed before sliding her in and covered her with the blanket.
<How does she fall asleep like that?> he mused to himself <Eh, must be a Minbari thing.> Walking around to his side of the bed, he ran a hand through his hair. <What did she say about my hair looking like Michael's?> That thought soon forgotten as he pulled up the covers, and folded himself around his wife. After kissing the top of her head, he promptly fell asleep.
When the two, John and Delenn had become one, the universe listened, and they became three.
~~~The End and a beginning...
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