RAIN CHECK (III)

By Lee B

 

 

 

The "vision" was simultaneously broadcast to anyone within 10 feet of the boy, now collapsed, in Franklin's arms. Delenn felt a wave of nausea as she was kneeling to help Stephen with the boy, and her mind was invaded by a telepathic intrusion. She watched the intruded vision in horror, as she "saw" the Gaim ambassador shoot her husband point blank, with a PPG. "Noooooooo.!!" The horrified word was ripped from her throat, as she quickly stood, placing her body in front of her husband's.

   All hell was breaking loose around them as the boy also cried out. G'Kar, who had finally arrived, grabbed Delenn, and pulled her from the line of fire, nearly pulling her to the floor. Security was pulling Sheridan down and away; several men, all but jumping him, tried to shield him with their bodies. He was insistently trying to reach Delenn, but they had been pulled in two different directions. A security guard went down, as all others turned their weapons on the Gaim, who had taken off his mask, and was revealed to actually be very human. The would be assassin grabbed a frightened guest, held his weapon to her temple, as he ran out into the corridor.

   Delenn rushed to Sheridan's side as his hyper-vigilant eyes sought her out. She pulled him into her arms. "John!" Her voice was shaking, as was her entire body. "I'm okay, it's okay." He held her tightly for a moment, then he turned to Zach. Zach had already put out an APB on John Clemmons, whom Garibaldi had at last been able to identify through his voice print.

   Garibaldi was working as quickly as he could to try to identify the human who had attempted to assassinate Sheridan, but at this point he was not having a lot of luck. He kept asking questions to which he was getting no satisfactory answers. Then he asked the right question and a file came up with a picture. Garibaldi read more of the history.....what he saw made him swallow hard. "Damn . . . !" He was out of his office, and on the move in a heartbeat.

   G'Kar approached Sheridan, "I assume this will postpone the rest of the ceremony?" With a glance at Delenn, Sheridan let everyone within hearing distance know that the ceremony was going to go forward. "No, he had his chance and he blew it, he won't get this close again," Sheridan replied. "We need to make sure they all understand we will not be intimidated; we continue." Sheridan looked pointedly at Zach as he moved into the observation dome with Delenn. "We'll get him, Zach," he said aloud, to no one in particular, "after all, where the hell's he gonna go?"

   The guests were now being herded onto the observation dome to complete the swearing in of the president. G'Kar stood beside Sheridan as he began to speak. "Whoever speaks for the Alliance, speaks with one voice for many; consequently this contains the first page, of every holy book, of every member, that has joined the Alliance." G'Kar held the book up for everyone to see, and paused.

   "Sheridan!" All heads turned toward the viewport in front of them to see a starfury preparing to fire into the chamber at point blank range. "Everyone else can go, but Sheridan, you are a dead man."

   Sheridan stepped a little closer forward and signaled everyone else to leave the room. "Firing at that range, you are just as dead as I am," he informed the pilot. Delenn walked across the room to stand at Sheridan's side. He turned and looked at her, and for the briefest of instants was about to protest. He knew, however, it would do no good. She would not leave, and they had no time to argue. Besides, it would only give this person, who wanted revenge, one more reason to pull that trigger; to harm someone that Sheridan cared so deeply about. At this point, this man had nothing at all left to lose. As the tension mounted, Sheridan saw another starfury pull into view behind the assassin's and he heard Garibaldi's voice.

   "Got him." Garibaldi used his grappling hooks to bring the other starfury about, and jettisoned it away from the station. B5's defense grid made short work of the tumbling starfury and it's would be assassin. Sheridan and Delenn turned toward each other, and he took her hands in his, relief flooding his face.

   G'Kar approached them both with a look of sainted long-suffering on his face. "Do you want to be president?" He asked in an annoyed voice. "Yes," Sheridan responded, looking over at Delenn. "Put your hand on the book and say `I do', G'Kar replied tersely. Sheridan again exchanged glances with Delenn. He put his hand on the book.

   "I do," he said clearly and vehemently.

   "Fine, done, let's eat," G'Kar pronounced as he walked away. Delenn and Sheridan just looked at one another and laughed, and they too went to join the rest of the reception in progress.

   John insisted they stay and attend the banquet; it was important to send the message that terrorism would not stop the business, nor the mission of the Interstellar Alliance. Much later that evening, they escaped from the party; Delenn being satisfied that no one would be significantly offended at the perhaps early departure of the guest of honor. They had stayed much longer than John would have liked, but he knew she was more the diplomat than he. He trusted her sense of timing for their departure more than his own. He knew she would know better when it would be politically correct to leave this particular event. Experience had taught him it was wiser to trust her savvy, more than his abhorrence and avoidance at these kinds of affairs. It had been a very long and tense day.

   He had been thinking about the rain check that was due him, for at least the last hour, as he had watched his wife moving about through the crowd smiling here, making small talk there. He shook his head; he still couldn't believe she was his and he was hers. He very much wanted to get back to.. . . Well, it would have to be Delenn's place tonight, so they could remind each other of just that. The repairs on his door had not yet been completed after security had blasted through it this afternoon; and although it would close, it would not lock, and right now he didn't quite feel comfortable without a locking door. He also did not want a security guard outside his door tonight. Tonight, he wanted to be alone, with his wife. He knew, however, that right now he was still too tense and wound up to really be able to unwind, or be fully present when he collected that rain check, which he was so looking forward to.

   He held out his hand to Delenn as they left the reception. "Walk with me for a bit, before we go to your place?" It was a question as well as a request.

   She smiled up at him and took his offered hand. "Where shall we go?"

   "The Zen garden." He enjoyed it there, it was mostly peaceful and relaxing and he was hoping it would be rather unoccupied tonight, so they would have considerable privacy there. He had always enjoyed the place, but it had come to have special significance for both of them. Many of the early conversations that he had had with his now wife, had taken place in the Zen garden. It was there, that he first let himself acknowledge, the littlest bit, that he might be falling in love with her.

   She smiled back. She knew that he recalled the impromptu meetings they had had in the garden. He could be such a romantic, as the humans say. She also knew why he wanted to walk and shake off some of the day before they went "home". He simply would not only go through the motions of intimacy. He very deliberately had developed strategies to leave everything else behind him when they were intimate. There were certainly many, many, times when things weighed heavily upon him; but he refused out of love, respect and his sense of chivalry, to not be fully present with her when they made love. He would often walk around the station, or go to the batting cages, or whatever he had to do to shake things, if he needed to, before joining her for the evening. Of course, there were times when he worked very late, and he did not come home until she was already long asleep. There were times when that was hard for her. Delenn felt that he, that they both, deserved a certain amount of time each day for just themselves; to be just two people not long married, and very much in love with each other. However, with their responsibilities, that could not always be. So she tried not to begrudge the nights when he could not be there, to touch, and to hold, when she went to sleep. Delenn was also very aware of, and honored by, the commitment that he made to be fully present with her, when he was with her. It was a commitment she made to him as equally.

   

   TBC

 

*****

 

 

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