RAIN CHECK (I)
By Lee B
Summary: Filler for "No Compromises"
Rating : R
Disclaimer: All credit goes to J. Michael Straczynski, Warner Bros. and who knows who else makes money from them but not me.
Delenn was angry, she couldn't believe that John would decide to go ahead with the Inauguration Ceremony even after the threat to his life, and especially since she had made it clear to him, even without words how she felt about that idea. She also couldn't believe Lochley was willing to go ahead with it either, but that was another matter. She was trying to remind herself to breathe very deeply and be calm before she spoke to him; at present she was having very little success. Garibaldi, Franklin and the others were uneasy and frustrated as well. She suspected they were as discomforted by her very obvious anger with her husband as well as by his decision to go ahead with the ceremony as planned. She was so completely angry with him and that was rare. They irritated each other at times, certainly disagreed strongly over things at times, but she couldn't recall ever having been furious with him before or he with her. She didn't yet trust herself to open her mouth and say anything; she was so angry and she knew launching into a tirade would be the least effective way of dealing with this situation. He was clearly dug in and a lecture from her would only make it worse. She and John had also never been this angry with each other in this public of an arena. For the most part their quarrels had been private, with a few exceptions in the council chambers where they had not agreed with each other. Even then they had mostly been able to keep it at the level of Captain or President and Ambassador, and the more personal feelings had been dealt with when they were alone.
Lochley had declared that she was going to go talk to security and make the final arrangements for the ceremony. Garibaldi had followed her out of the room, and slowly with troubled looks the rest also filed out of the room leaving Sheridan and Delenn alone. She had walked across to the other side of the room putting as much distance between them as she could. Giving herself time to breathe and to think.
Sheridan could tell that Delenn was not just angry, she was furious. He had never seen her this angry with him or anyone, besides perhaps Londo. He did not like this, not one bit. This was not one of those arguments or disagreements that come up in most relationships, like you didn't call and say you were going to be late for dinner, or forgetting to pick up the groceries, or never putting the toilet seat down, or those kinds of things. This wasn't even on the level of some of the more work related disagreements they have, ever had. They both have very similar sets of values, sense of honor and integrity; and although he was a soldier and she a diplomat of the religious caste, over the years of knowing each other and working together they each had developed a significant respect and understanding of each other. Also over time each had found more in common with the other's beliefs and how the other looked at the universe. They very often agreed on the bigger points; and being that they were both intelligent, and open minded, and again with deep respect for each other, the smaller points were usually able to be worked out. Sheridan knew that this was different.
She heard his steps coming across the room as he walked toward her.
"Delenn, I know that you're angry, but can we talk about this?" His voice was low, tentative, and there was that gentleness that she had come to recognize as being there only for her.
She turned and looked at him, her eyes still angry and snapping. She opened her mouth to speak but knew that the words would come out angry and wrong. She would not yell or accuse him, that was not her way, nor would it solve anything. She closed her mouth, opened her arms, put them around him, and held him tightly.
Sheridan was taken by surprise. He had been expecting and waiting to be in the middle of their first really big fight. As the moments passed since he had voiced his decision, his stomach had knotted tighter and tighter. He knew it was the decision he had to make. He also knew that she did not agree with him, and she did not like it. Never before had something they both felt this strongly about been in direct opposition to how the other one felt. It had occurred to him, that never before in the three plus years that they had known each other, with the exception of the time Anna had returned from Z Ha dum had anything resulted in them being truly angry with one another.
Now, well, he was thinking that he had no idea how to fight with her, not about something like this. He had no idea how they would find a solution. He did not want to be in the middle of this, but here he was. He believed the decision he made was the only one he could make. It was important now, right from the start, to establish the Interstellar Alliance and himself as the president. He believed going ahead with the ceremony was the only way to establish what the Alliance stood for. He knew she did not believe it was important to begin establishing those things in this way. So here they were.
He stood there with his wife's arms around him, aching for her and what she was feeling; aching for himself and what this was doing to both of them. He returned the embrace, holding her so tightly she could barely breathe. He wanted to say something. He wanted one of them to say something, to end this excruciating silence. He didn't know what to say that would help right now. He knew she was very angry, but he knew that with her as with himself, there were probably a myriad of things she was feeling right now and he did not know what those were. As well as he knew this woman who was his wife, his soul mate, his best friend, his lover; right now she was a mystery to him.
She stepped back from him slightly, moving her hands to his chest. He kept his arms around her lightly. "John, it sometimes seems to me as though you almost seek out every dangerous situation possible and put yourself right in the middle of it, even when there is the opportunity to walk away. She paused taking a moment to breathe deeply. "So many times I have watched you do this. Most of those times, though, it has nearly been my undoing to watch you go. I have known that it was what you felt you must do, that you were destined to do; I have not liked it but I have understood it and supported you. This time I cannot understand, andI do not know how I can support you. I do not understand why you feel you must do this in this way." Her eyes searched deeply into his, still angry and frustrated but also full of her love for him and her struggle to understand.
He looked away from her gaze briefly, thinking, remembering. Over the nearly four years that they had known each other, and the last year-year and a half in particular, they had both put their lives on the line more times that he cared to recall. They had both been willing and able to watch the other go into circumstances from which they might not have returned; the battle for earth, the wheel of fire and on and on it seemed. They had done it, not because it hadn't nearly undone them but because fate or destiny or the universe had thrust them into circumstances that were bigger than either of them and both of them. They had been at the center, as it were, of events that had changed their galaxy. Those events would impact the next hundred years or more, and now once again the two of them together, were setting out to forge the future for the galaxy that they had changed.
"Delenn, I can't hide from this guy. There would just be another and another. We have to set the stage now for how the Alliance will deal with terrorism and terrorists. If Earth history has taught us anything, it has taught us exactly what he said. No amount of security is enough if he or anyone else is willing to exchange his life for the target." He looked into those eyes that he had come to love and to cherish, to rely on so much.
"I have no death wish, nor any wish to leave you, but you know I am not one to sit back and let others do the work, take the risks. The Alliance is in it's infancy, how we handle these situations now will determine whether or not it ever grows into its own. You had to have known that if the council named me president of the alliance that I would want to be, need to be, in the middle of it all, hands on." He moved his hands up her arms, gently, and smiled. "Right."
Her eyes continued to search his. This whole event was something she had just not anticipated, or at least not this soon. Things had been moving so rapidly over the last several months. Her going back to Minbar, surrendering to Shakiri, the wheel of fire, Neroon's death, reforming the Gray Council, the battles for earth, John being betrayed and captured, Clark taking his own life. Then John being rescued, and resigning from earthforce. She and G'Kar and Londo forming the alliance, and John being named president, then their marriage. They had only been married for a few weeks and barely back on Babylon 5. She was just not yet ready for another threat that he could be taken from her. Not now when they had fully committed to one another and not yet really had a chance to settle into their life as husband and wife.
Was that why she was so angry? Was his decision, his reasons, really a surprise to her? Was he acting in a manner not consistent with what she had come to know so well, if uneasily at times, about this man she so deeply loved. She was no longer angry. She was just saddened and afraid. Saddened that anyone would desire to kill this man because of what he stood for, what he had fought and been willing to sacrifice himself for. He stood for freedom, justice, honor, integrity, belief in the rights and dignity of all beings, and he had a willingness to put his own life in jeopardy to make those things possible. So much of what she loved and honored in him others would seek to destroy. Yes, by that she was saddened and angered and fearful.
She sighed a great sigh and rested her forehead against his chest for a moment, then stepped back and looked in his eyes. "You are right John. I do not like it and it is most inconvenient, but you are right." And a part of me wants to ask you to cancel this ceremony anyway, just because I ask it. But I cannot ask you to be anyone other than who you are. I will talk to Michael and the others and we will take every precaution that we can....." She hesitated for a moment.
He smiled gently into her eyes. "What?"
"You are right, John, but I am also right. Promise me that you will not be..... that you will be careful until we can arrest this man, until the ceremony is over. Keep a security detail with you at all times. Do not make it easy for this assassin to succeed with his plan."
Those eyes of hers that could be so gentle, beautiful, forgiving and full of love, were full of the fire, hardness and determination that he had also come to know. He knew from her eyes that she would not take no for an answer on this matter. He also knew that as much as he hated having security around him, that she was right. He had no business playing the martyr and making it any easier for this bastard to do what he had set out to do.
"All right, Delenn, I promise.........I'll keep someone with me."
She smiled in relief, she had expected that he might argue with her, she knew he hated having body guards or security, he hated it. But she knew she was right and that he could see it, and that if he didn't agree they would really have something to fight about. She put her hand to his cheek and held his face, searching it, memorizing it as if she hadn't already.
"You promised me twenty years, John Sheridan, you may not be careless and leave me one moment .......sooner," she whispered.
"I'll do the best that I can to keep that promise." He agreed softly as he brought his mouth to hers. He kissed her deeply, all his feeling for her spoken through the touch of their mouths. They pulled apart, breathless. "I love you, Delenn of the family Mir." He took her hand in his and held it to his heart. "I will not let anyone take me from you just yet."
Her eyes were once again full of the overwhelming love and connection that they shared which at times made him feel as though he were drowning in them. Her answer was to pull his mouth to hers once again and kiss him thoroughly, holding his body as tightly to her as she could. He could feel his body beginning to respond to hers on all levels. He drew back reluctantly, again breathless and almost disoriented.
He cleared his voice, and brought his hand to trace her mouth and eyes. "As much as I would love to take you back to my place and let us both forget about everything that has happened in the last few hours, we have a ceremony to prepare for. May I have a rain check, Ambassador?"
She was smiling, then looked puzzled. "Rain check?"
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