By Pam Buck
Writer's note: This is a story of fiction and doesn't necessarily reflect the real life activities of the writer or anyone she knows, except the part about the cow boxers. This story takes place after 5th season Babylon 5 ends and John and Delenn have set up shop on Minbar. Even though I know better, this is based on the assumption there is NO little Sheridan on the way. The title of the story "Dude" does reflect on my language skills. "Dude" is my favorite word in the English Slang Language [apparently I use it all the time] and I always thought it would be quite funny to hear it used by either Sheridan or Delenn. This is just a little story for fun, with a pain and suffering tidbit. I admit, I am a sucker for hurt and comfort. All characters belong to jms...blah blah blah
Interstellar Alliance Headquarters -- Presidential Suite - 8:00 a.m Tuzanor Standard Time
"Delenn! Where are my surfing trunks?" John Sheridan shouted from the bed room. Delenn and John had just barely moved into their new housing on Minbar, and things were still in disarray. Half unpacked boxes were strewn about the living quarters.
Delenn, in the living room area, bent over at the waist with her head inside a box, did not hear her husband calling from the other room. She continued to rummage around in the large box marked "MISC."
John stalked out of the bed room, wearing just a T-shirt and boxer shorts with cows on them. His hair was standing up on end, having just been towel dried after showering.
"Delenn...did you hear me?" he asked. Then he noticed just her rear end sticking out of the box. She poked her head out of the box, and held up an object aloft as though she had just found the Holy Grail.
"I found it!" she shouted triumphantly. John looked at her blankly. She wasn't holding up his lost surfing trunks. She was holding up a black bikini -- the same bikini John had bought her several months before they left Babylon 5. Delenn had said she thought it looked "from a Minbari's perspective...silly". He thought she had probably "accidentally" misplaced it for good. He definitely didn't expect her to wear it now. John just stood there, his mouth hanging half open, his imagination running wild.
"John, are you all right?" Delenn asked. "You look flushed."
"Ahh..." he started off lamely, "are you going to wear that to the beach?"
"I thought that is where you wear such a garment. You said, and I quote, 'human females wear bikinis all the time at the beach'. Since we are going to the "beach", I am going to wear it."
John just stood there, still trying to collect his thoughts. Delenn lightly kissed him on the forehead, standing on her tip-toes to do so, as she brushed by him on her way to the bedroom.
"You better get ready, John. We are suppose to meet Mr. Allen at ten o'clock this morning." John followed her into the bedroom.
"Have you seen my surfing trunks?" John asked again. He opened another box in the corner, also marked "MISC."
"Those shorts with the big flowers on them?" Delenn asked. "The baggy ones that make you look like you have a big butt?" She smiled at her use of a human colloquialism.
"I do not have a big butt!" John was incensed, but without looking up, he continued to rifle through the box. He pulled out two or three candles and holders, before turning the box on it's side and looking closer at the box. The box said, in smaller print than the MISC. label, Delenn's quarters.
"Damn it, Delenn, I knew we should have packed our own stuff. I can't find anything!" He ran his fingers through his wet hair in frustration.
"Settle down, John. I'll find them for you." She lead him to the bed and made him sit on the edge. "You certainly need this break from the I.S.A. You have not been this tense in quite a while." She sat down next to him on the bed, and rubbed the muscles in his neck. "Did you check in that box over there?" she asked, pointing to an unopened box marked "Presidential Quarters".
"No, but I think it just has paperwork in it," he said. Delenn walked over to the box, and pried it open. Right on top of the stack of papers were the lost, baggy, flowered surf trunks. Bright red with white Hawaiian flowers, the shorts should have radiated from within the box.
"Always the last place you look, is not it?" John leaped off the bed and snatched the shorts away before he could lose them again. "Thanks," he said, quickly squeezing Delenn in an embrace. "What would I do without you?"
"Run around in cow boxer shorts," she said, looking at his boxers. "Why do they call those unsightly flowered shorts, 'surf trunks' and where did you buy them? I cannot imagine there is much of a call for surf trunks on Babylon 5."
"I've had them for a long time. I got them while I was still on the Agamemnon. I had leave on Earth and bought them in California. Not all of the coastline of California was destroyed when San Diego was nuked. Some of the coastline is still surfable."
"Well then you better see if they still fit," she said teasingly. "That was a long time ago." He shrugged her off with a long suffering sigh, before retreating back into the bathroom to finish getting ready.
"John...when you finish in there, I have something to tell you about the beach." She was using her serious voice; the one she used for breaking bad news. A few minutes later, John emerged from the bathroom wearing his flowered surf trunks and a white T-shirt. He took a seat in the chair across from Delenn who was still seated on the bed.
"What about the beach, Delenn?" he said, pulling on his tennis shoes. Delenn gathered her thoughts, and launched into her explanation about the beach. "I did some research on what you call the "beach" back on Earth, and it's not exactly the same here on Minbar. Yes, we have an ocean and yes, the pull of the moon does affect the tide. We do have, what is the word...waves."
"Exactly! So that's why Zack and I are going surfing on those waves," John said. "What wrong with that?"
"Not everything is the same here on Minbar as it is back on Earth. You are going to have to get used to that."
"I understand that completely, Delenn. I've lived many different places through-out my life."
"Yes John...but..." Delenn had switched to using the voice people use when dealing with small children or pets, "that was when you were in the military."
"When I was twenty-one I went to Tibet, you know..." John started, but Delenn cut him off abruptly.
"Listen to me, John. When I said I was trying to imagine you sitting on a beach with absolutely nothing to do, I didn't mean here on Minbar. The ocean on Minbar is dangerous. Valen said a thousand years ago, "The ocean is a deadly and terrible place."
"Valen said!" John all but shouted, "Valen was Sinclair and Sinclair was born on Mars, therefore he probably couldn't swim. Just because Valen said something doesn't mean it's true for everyone." John walked back to the bathroom to grab the towels he laid out to take to the beach.
Delenn shrugged her shoulders behind his back. "Suit yourself, John, but I am not going in the water. There are creatures in the water. Why do you want to swim with creatures that may eat you?"
"We have sharks back home, Delenn. They are probably a lot more dangerous than anything this world can cook up," John called out from the bathroom. Delenn gave up on her argument. She knew he was going to be stubborn and pig-headed today and he wasn't going to listen to reason. John had an idea in his head and he wasn't going to give it up.
She stripped off her robe and slipped into the black bikini. "Silly," she thought to herself, as she looked at her body in the full length mirror on the closet. Returning with the towels, John tossed them on the bed. He scooped Delenn up in a large bear hug. "You don't look silly...and you don't have to go in the water if you are afraid," John whispered in her ear. "Now, lets go meet Zack, before he calls out a fleet of White Stars and half the Rangers to come find us."
The Edge of the Sea - Tuzanor - 10:05 a.m. Tuzanor Standard Time
"Zack! Dude! Where did you find the boards?" John called out. Zack was standing alone at the edge of the of the water holding two surfboards. Zack was wearing a much more subtle pair of surf trunks, but still had on his sandals. The beach was made up of crushed crystal, not sand like John had expected and intermixed with the crushed crystal were larger shards of crystal; sharp, jagged shards of crystal.
John, expecting to find the fine powdery sand he last remembered in California had taken off his tennis shoes. He soon found out what a foolish mistake he had made.
"OWW!" One of the larger shards of crystal had imbedded itself in the bottom of John's left foot. Standing on his right foot, and using Delenn as a leaning post, he managed to pull the shard out of the sole of his foot.
"Damn!" he cursed. He pulled his tennis shoes out of the bag he had slung over his shoulder and hastily put them back on his feet.
"Sorry!" Zack yelled, as he ran toward the two, leaving the boards behind. It wasn't like anyone was going to run off with the surfboards; there was no one at the water's edge. Slightly out of breath, Zack said, "I was going to tell you...the sand isn't sand. Too late, huh?"
"Some Chief of Security you are, Zack. Aren't you supposed to help protect the President?" John said, half joking. The group walked to the water's edge. The waves broke in nice even groups, mostly in four foot sets.
"Dude! Look at those mackers!" Zack and Delenn stopped in their tracks and stared bewildered by John's choice of words.
"What is a macker, John?" Delenn asked. She looked at John as if he had just grown a third eye. John still looked out to the sea, checking out the waves.
"Huh?" John asked, not really hearing Delenn's question. John walked out to the water's edge. He bent down to feel the water. The water was quite warm, as it lapped up against toes of his shoes.
"A macker, John? What are you talking about?" Delenn asked again, pulling gently on his t-shirt to drag him out of his reverie.
"It's a really large wave," John answered. "I looked up a bunch of ancient surf terms before we left B5."
"You researched antiquated words and phrases, but failed to research the topography of the planet you are going to be living on for the rest of your life. I fail to see the logic in this," Delenn said, aggravated by John's lack of judgment.
"You are going to be my little cliff widow," John said to Delenn, as he spread out the towels, taking care not to put them over any large rough pieces of crystal. John noticed the "sand" was much softer and finer as they got closer to the water's edge.
Zack went to collect the boards he had left further down the beach, not wanting to get involved with the upcoming argument.
"Cliff widow, John? Do you intend to throw yourself off a cliff? Just because you survived a fall twice, I don't think you should make a continual habit out of it. Are you sure you are feeling all right?" Delenn reached up to feel John's forehead, searching for a sign of fever.
"The sun shines brighter on Minbar. It's possible you are suffering from sun stroke. All this crazy talk..." Delenn said.
"Calm down, Delenn. It's just another surf term. It just means you will be sitting up here on the sand while Zack and I are surfing out there."
Zack had returned with the boards, and handed the larger board to John. "To answer your question from earlier, I found the boards in storage back on Babylon 5," Zack said. "They were buried way in the back of this storage locker on one of the gray levels, right next to an antique Kawasaki motorcycle."
Zack took off his tee shirt, and tossed it next to the towel he had laid out. John did the same, tossing his shirt to Delenn.
"That's quite a glare!" Delenn said sarcastically, looking at John's chest. She reached over and deftly put on a pair of sunglasses. Smiling broadly, John tossed a hand full of sand, or what John now considered sand, on her blanket. Delenn was still self-consciously wearing a cover all type wrap rather than just her bikini. For all intents and purposes, the three of them were alone on the beach.
However, just over a small rise, four Ranger trainees and the flyers the group had arrived in lay waiting in case a crisis came up. The group didn't foresee any unfortunate incidents, but Delenn breathed a private sigh of relief as she watched Zack and John paddle out into the waves, knowing help was near by.
In the Breakers - Tuzanor Sea - 10:45 Tuzanor Standard Time
"Dude, have you ever been surfing before?" John asked. Both men were sitting atop their surfboards, straddling them, their legs dangling off into the water. Zack was ready to shoot John the next time he used the word "Dude", but fortunately, there were no PPG's in his back pocket.
"No, Sir. There is no surf in the country of Texas," Zack answered. John shot a look back to shore. He could see Delenn sitting up on her towel, but he didn't realize how nervous she was about him being in the water. They were between sets, and the two men bobbed casually in the water.
John pulled his left foot out the water, and checked the puncture wound on the sole. It was still bleeding. He hoped there was nothing toxic in the water that would irritate the cut more.
"I've actually only been surfing once myself. It was in Australia about twenty years ago. For some unknown reason, I just felt compelled to try it here on Minbar."
"Maybe you are trying to retain some of your traditions from Earth. You know, bring a little of Earth back here. I can't be easy moving to a whole new planet. Besides the human Rangers, I don't think I have seen any other humans living in the general populace."
"Everything is so different here, Zack. Nothing is the same." John slapped angrily at the water. "I've been a lot of places. I can adapt, adjust or acclimate, but I always knew I where home was. Now, I don't think I will see it again. I can't even get a glass of orange juice here. So much still to be done with the Alliance, " John's voice just trailed off. He was looking behind himself, noticing there was a large set of waves forming. "Woohoo...look at those waves. Get ready, Zack."
The first wave hit, and John was up on the board on the first try. Centered nicely in the wave, John added a little extra weight to his left foot. A mistake. The cut on the bottom of his foot made it painful to put weight on it. The board flipped out from underneath him and he dove headlong into the wave.
On shore, Delenn's heart nearly stopped as she watched the wave crash over John's head. The longest 5 seconds of Delenn's life passed before John's head broke through the surface. Back in the water, John gasped for air as he broke the surface. Shaking his head to clear the water from his face as he treaded water, he looked up just in time to see Zack on his board, on another wave, coming straight for his head.
John dove under the water, but not in time to miss the skag on Zack's board. The skag on Zack's board clipped John in the head, grazing his forehead as he went under. Zack dove off his board in a effort to avoiding hitting him, but it was too late. John was knocked senseless by the blow, and was going under the water.
From the shore, Delenn could only see John dropping below the water's surface again. She had not seen the collision with Zack's board. Fortunately, Zack had seen John go under and he managed to hook his arm around John's head, keeping him from going under again. John's surfboard was still attached to his leg via the leash attached to the end of the board. Zack's board, with no leash, had washed up on to the shore.
Delenn knew something was wrong. Zack was struggling with John, trying to toss his large form up onto the surfboard before another set of waves came in.
"John!!" All pretenses of political formality went by the wayside when the Interstellar Alliance President was drowning in front of your eyes. Zack continued to yell while trying to hoist him up on to the board. There was a large cut on John's forehead where the skag had caught him and it was bleeding profusely.
Zack silently prayed there was not a Minbari equivalent to Earth's Great White Shark. "John!! Snap out of it!" Zack thought about slapping him once, but it probably wasn't a good idea to slap an unconscious Interstellar Alliance president. Zack had managed to wrestle most of John on to the board and he was pushing it with the help of some smaller waves back to the shore. Zack was afraid John might be more injured than he appeared. That wasn't going to look good at review time if the I.S.A. president died while surfing with him.
Delenn ditched her cover all and waded into the surf to met Zack as he approached the shore. Between the two of them, they manage to drag John out of the water and onto the dry sand. Zack had to pause for a moment, realizing Delenn was just kneeling over John's prone body in just a bikini. John's head was still bleeding, and Zack, collecting his senses, ran as fast as he could (stopping to grab his sneakers) to alert the Rangers over the ridge.
Delenn tried to staunch the blood flow with her towel. Fortunately, John was still breathing. "I knew this was not a good idea, John," Delenn whispered more to herself than to John. He was starting to come around, much to Delenn's satisfaction. He opened his eyes, then quickly shut them against the bright sunlight. Rolling on his side, he coughed up a little sea water he had inhaled as he had gone under the wave.
"Ow," and a cough, was all John could say. Delenn applied more pressure to the cut, which got another "Ow" out of him. "Just lie still, John. There is help on the way. I can not take you anywhere," Delenn said, sighing to herself.
Interstellar Alliance Headquarters - Presidential Suite - 9:56 p.m. Tuzanor Standard Time
"Next time you will listen to me when I say an idea is foolish, right?" Delenn asked. She was sitting on a chair in the bedroom, across from where John was lying in bed. He had a large bandage covering up the ten stitches in his forehead, as well as a bandage on the sole of his foot.
"Yes, Delenn," John said sheepishly. He had been released from the Ranger's medical facility just an hour before and had been promptly put in bed by Delenn before he could injure himself again. He did feel pretty bad, both physically and mentally. He knew Delenn was worried about him, and in retrospect, going surfing was a stupid idea. He sighed inwardly, knowing Delenn was going to get up on her soapbox about how foolish he was.
"John," she moved her chair closer so she could hold his hand, "I know Minbar is not Earth. I know you have given up your home world so you can run the Interstellar Alliance. Nobody knows that better than I do." She pulled the covers on the bed closer to John's chin, trying to make him more comfortable. "I know you are making a great sacrifice."
"I guess Zack was right. I was just trying to make Minbar a little bit more like home," John said. He coughed a few times and let out a small groan. His head was really throbbing, and he just wanted to go to sleep. He closed his eyes, and Delenn decided this wasn't really the time to go into a long discussion.
"Just rest easy now. We can discuss this in the morning when you are feeling a little better." She gently kissed him on the cheek and prepared to jump into her jammies and join him in bed. "Oh, Zack said before he left to return to Babylon 5, he would send you some frozen orange juice in the next diplomatic pouch. He said you would understand."
"Delenn..." John mumbled, half asleep.
"What? Go to sleep," Delenn answered.
"You looked like a real hottie in that bikini."
"Go to sleep, John."
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