POLITICS AND BEDFELLOWS

By Frieda W. Landau

 

 

 

This is not a real story - meaning I didn't write it as a story complete in itself. I wrote it to clarify my own thoughts - for Voices - about why John didn't tell Delenn about Lochley, and how Delenn reacted. I wrote it in about half an hour and no one beta'd it. All mistakes are mine.

 

 

 

 

*****

   John Sheridan couldn't stand it any longer. He had lain there for an hour that lasted an eternity, unable to fall asleep. He glanced over at his sleeping wife still curled at the far edge of the bed, her back to him, her shoulders hunched beneath the covers. God! The bed was colder than the Abyss! He swung his legs to the floor. Suddenly, the lights came on.

   "You cannot sleep? Good!" Delenn sat up. "Did you even once consider how you have undermined my position?" She shook her head. "No, I did not think so." Her voice was more sad than angry. "You have withheld information from the Vice-President of the Alliance about matters concerning this station, where, I remind you, the Alliance has its offices. You have compromised the authority of the commander of the Rangers. I must work with Captain Lochley almost on a daily basis. Did you think of that?"

   "Delenn, I'm sorry. I didn't think..."

   "No, you did not. And now I must deal with the consequences. If you were Minbari, I could demand your life for dishonouring me in this way! She climbed out of bed and began to pace the tiny room, careful to stay away from him. "If G'Kar were the Vice President, you would have told him. You would have told anyone else in my position. But you did not tell me because I am your wife!" She rounded on him. "But I am not only your wife. Once again, you have forgotten who I am and what I can do."

   Her head was barely above his as he sat on the edge of the bed, but she seemed to tower over him. Instinctively, he leaned back. "Please, try to understand...I...I didn't want to appear a fool in your eyes." He hunched over, hands dangling, unable to look at her. "It was such a long time ago, and it only lasted for three months. Hell, the paperwork for the annulment lasted longer than the marriage." He glanced up. A fleeting smile crossed her face before she could compose it again.

   He continued in a stronger voice. "Legally, it never happened. And I wanted to forget as fast as possible. I did forget."

   If she had eyebrows, she would have raised one. Instead, Delenn widened her eyes. He caught the gesture. He lowered his head again, abashed. "Well, I didn't really...but I never thought about it. Please, sit down." He patted the bed beside him. "I can't talk with you standing there like that. Please?"

   Delenn hesitated for a moment, then sat down, hands folded in her lap, careful not to touch him. "Thanks," he said. "That's better. I was beginning to feel like I was back in grade school." He started to smile and then thought better of it. "I don't know if I can make you understand. It wasn't an important part of my life. I thought of it like...like a childhood illness, like the measles or something."

   "Like plak fever," she said.

   "What? Oh...yeah...like that. It was part of growing up. I was past that." He ran his fingers through his hair. "Elizabeth and I remained friends. That didn't change. I guess, maybe we should have stayed friends in the first place. Anyway, during the war," He glanced at Delenn, "just about everyone of our friends who knew about the marriage were killed. Afterward, I met Anna and got on with my life."

   "I trust you made sure of your feelings before you married Anna," Delenn said dryly.

   "That's not fair!"

   "Perhaps not," she admitted. "If you were Minbari, you would never have entered into such an ill-advised mating. That is why we have rituals, to ensure that our feelings are true and lasting, not just the heat of the moment. By the time of the Shan Fal, you would have realized your mistake."

   "Maybe you're right..."

   "But that does not explain why you did not tell me of this sooner," Delenn said.

   "Uh...no...." John turned to face her. "Look, after I fell in love with you, the past didn't matter. It wasn't important. I really did forget then. We didn't have much time together then and when I was with you, I didn't want to waste it talking about something that had no meaning in my life."

   "Isn't that hard on Captain Lochley? To dismiss her like that? Surely she deserves better. She was a part of your life, no matter how briefly."

   "I knew I was doing this badly." He sighed. "I don't mean that the way it sounds. I didn't think. We've both kept secrets from each other. We can't help it, being who we are and what we are. We've both accepted that. I didn't think to tell you before we got married and afterward, hell! Afterward I was embarrassed that I hadn't told you before. And when I decided on Elizabeth as the next commander of the station, I guess maybe I was afraid you'd be hurt, or maybe even a bit jealous of her being here."

   Delenn laughed then. He looked at her in surprise. Her amusement was genuine. "John, in all that has happened in the past two years, there is only one thing I was sure of: our love for each other."

   "Okay," John muttered. "It was dumb of me. I told you, I didn't want to look foolish. But I hadn't told you, and then Elizabeth asked me not to tell anyone because she didn't want people thinking she got the job on favoritism and didn't deserve it. So I thought it wouldn't hurt to do as she asked. I guess I was wrong, huh...."

   "You guessed correctly." It was her turn to sigh. "John, I love you more than my life, and as your wife, it does not matter to me. It is a past that doesn't concern us. But it concerns our public life and duties. I do not understand how you can overlook that. How could you expect me to work with Captain Lochley knowing that she could appeal to you on the basis of your shared past if she disagreed with me? And how can I be expected to work with her now knowing that she is aware that you did not tell me? It is an impossible situation! Were you so unsure of your judgement in choosing her that you were afraid to discuss it with me, as you should have?"

   "No, I'm sure I chose correctly. I guess I didn't think it through all the way."

   "You are right. You didn't."

   "Delenn, I'm sorry." He touched her hand and when she didn't pull away, he took both her hands in his. "I made a mistake. And when I realized it, I didn't know how to fix it. I still don't. All I can do is ask your forgiveness. And promise not to do it again."

   "Oh, are there any more wives you haven't told me about?" He was looking at her hands and didn't see the twinkle in her eyes.

   "Delenn! Okay, I deserved that," he said ruefully when he realized she was laughing at him. "Will you forgive me? Please?"

   "Very well. I forgive you. But I warn you, I will not forget. You cannot erode my authority in this way again. Or I will forget that I am your wife as well as your partner."

   "Nobody every said it would be easy for us, Delenn."

   "I know, John. I know. But you do not have to add to the difficulties." She stood up, still holding his hands. "It is very late and we are both tired. Come to bed. In the morning, you can tell me why you trust Captain Lochley, despite the fact that she had the bad judgement to say yes when you asked her to marry you, and I agree, I will tell her so."

   He laughed. "Okay, it's a deal...partner."

   A few minutes later, they were both asleep.



 

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