PRIVATE MOMENTS / SHARED PLEASURES

By Jeanne

 

 

 

Spoilers up to Racing Mars.

   I know, I know, not another Shan Fal, but it was irresistible once I decided what to do with "Woo Hoo." I hope you enjoy it.

   There were a more than few times this was going to end up in the trash, those who gave me encouragement and support are to be credited that it is finally being posted. To my beta readers, Karen, Lynn and a new friend, Carolyn, thanks so much for taking the time.

   To JMS, this is still a wonderful sandbox to play in and you have made it bigger!!!!! Thanks so much.

   Warning, sexual situations and adult language.

 

 

 

 

*****

   The room was lit with candles, their flickering light reflecting in the crystals hung around the room, making it appear there were hundreds of candles of all different shapes and sizes. The scent of incense was also hanging in the air. Usually he liked the fragrance; tonight it was making him sick. He didn't know where to turn or where to look. He wanted to grab her hand and get them both out of there into the privacy of his own quarters. Anywhere but here with the all those Minbari listening outside the frosted door.

   Delenn turned after closing the doors, a smile on her face, a feeling of excitement building inside. John's back was to her, his body posture stiff. She went to stand behind him lightly placing her hand on his shoulder. He jumped at her touch, then she felt his shoulders sag.

   This was not the reaction she expected. "John, what is wrong?" She moved to stand in front of him and saw a look close to panic in his eyes. "What happened that caused you to become this upset?"

   He wanted to hold her, bury his face in her hair, feel her breathing, her heartbeat, and her warmth. He took her in his arms, to be as close as possible while talking about his second run in with Garabaldi.

   She heard him through to the end and said soothingly, "John, we have discussed this earlier. Sometimes people move onto different paths and we must accept the change in them. It is their path they walk; we cannot force them back to where they were or where we think they belong."

   "I know, Delenn," he grumbled. "I just thought that if I tried once more........" and let the sentence trail off.

   "This is one of the things I love about you, John. Once a friend you are always a friend. If a person changes and moves away you want to know why in hope of getting the friendship back on a parallel path. It gives you pain when someone you care about goes down a road you do not consider right for them."

   He opened his mouth to object, thought better of it, and said nothing. She knew him so well.

   "But John, you cannot live their life, make their choices, or even make their mistakes for them. We each live our own life, in our own way, to follow our own destiny." Her hand was on his cheek as she talked, conveying in touch, words, and tone of voice, her understanding of his feelings.

   "Well, I'll let him travel his own path," he said grudgingly, "and hope for the best. That someday we'll return, as you put it, to parallel paths." He paused and growled, "But I don't like it." His voice had become very soft, but his body tensed up again as he remembered the other Minbari outside the door.

   "I don't like this either. Delenn, how can you expect . . . " He began to stammer, not knowing exactly what to say, but knowing he was extremely uncomfortable in this situation.

   "If you wish, John, we can continue this at another time, when you are in a better frame of mind. I will ask the others to leave and we can have this time for ourselves," she said trying to calm him.

   He took a deep breath, "Delenn, I know this ritual is important to you. That you and the others have spent a good deal of time on all the necessary preparations and meditations." He gestured around the room at all the candles and saw for the first time her bed had been put flat on the floor, a low small table, with different objects placed next to it. "The ones that I can see, and others I cannot."

   "Tonight is also important to me. In a human relationship we would have made love months ago, would be living together or married by now. I haven't pushed it, knowing you wish to follow Minbari customs. I don't want to wait any longer. But this is so totally opposite of what I am accustomed to; with humans this is a very private, personal experience, not to be shared with anyone. It's between two people only ....... And you have six other Minbari outside this door listening to what is going on!" He was very agitated and tense, his neck muscles standing out, his hands were clenched.

   In a low voice she replied, "I love you, John. I have wanted to make love with you for months. But you .... we are always so busy, so caught up in the day to day concerns that there has been little time for us to be alone together, for the rituals to begin and finish at any one time. There are always interruptions." Her attempt at trying to calm him was not succeeding.

   John whispered furiously, "How long is this Ritual going to take, Delenn? How many are there anyway? Fifty? Is this part of the fifty you were talking about earlier? What number is this?" His voice was beginning to rise, his face turning red, his body rigid with the effort of controlling his temper and keeping his voice low. "Please don't tell me that 'going too far' means we won't make love tonight. I don't think I could handle that now."

   Keeping her voice low and reassuring Delenn said, "Shhhh, John. It will take how much time we want, need, it to take. Tonight is a night of pleasure. How could it be fully pleasurable if we knew our love would not be consummated? It would leave us both frustrated, unsatisfied and feeling incomplete. It would not be a night of complete pleasure. I promise you will not leave this room feeling frustrated, unsatisfied or incomplete. The 'going to far' is that we do not proceed from one step to another without the proper meditation and ritual."

   Her words were beginning to have the desired effect: he started to calm down. She put her hands on his neck and pulled his head down as she stood on her toes to kiss him.

   When she was in his arms, when he smelled her fragrance, when he felt her lips on his, when his fingers were tangled in her long hair, he knew he would follow her wishes. He would not leave here tonight without loving her completely.

   He returned her kiss gently at first. When she started to step away he pulled her off balance, pressed her closer and kissed her harder. His strong hands roamed all over her body as she leaned against him to keep from falling, his desire expressed in one deeply passionate kiss that took her breath away.

   He let go and stepped back, immediately reaching out to steady her as she regained her balance. She looked into his eyes and knew that all the doubt and hesitation he felt about entering into this with the others in the next room had vanished from his mind.

   She decided to reassure him one more time by saying, "John, I know this is difficult for you. I will do my best to make you forget there is anyone in the other room." Her voice was soft, almost caressing. Her eyes reflected the flickering candlelight. Her fingers gently traced his jaw line. "I love you, John." Her voice expressed the passion she felt.

   He could feel himself getting more aroused. "I'll do my best to make you forget there is anyone else in the universe." He said very softy, "How do we start this ritual, Delenn?"

   John watched her graceful movements as she went over to the chest near the slanted bottom of her bed, pulled open a drawer, took something out and pushed it closed with a hip.

   Motioning for him to sit on the bed she knelt opposite him and laid what was held in her hands between them. "These are the ceremonial robes worn during Shan Fal. The color is normally chosen by the couple together, but these have not been normal times for us. The color represents something they have in common. It is picked with great deliberation and, of course, meditation. We have so little time together, I have picked out a color for us. If you wish to change it there are other robes available."

   Looking at the pale blue robe in her hand he asked, "Why this color?"

   "I wanted something to represent both our worlds, that was the same on both of our worlds. This color represents the sky and the oceans of both Minbar and Earth." If you do not. . . . ."

   Before she could go any further he said smiling, "This color is perfect." He took the robe and unfolded it looking at her questioningly. It was definitely too small for him.

   She looked down and back up to his face smiling, "I thought it would give you pleasure to undress me."

   He took a deep breath and let it out slowly, realizing his very vivid dreams were about to happen. His face began to glow, "It would give me a great deal of pleasure to undress you," and dropped the robe as his hand reached for her.

   "John," she began as he helped her up.

   "I know, I know," he interrupted. "No touching, just undressing."

   Delenn was surprised that he knew and asked, "How did you know?"

   Shaking his head, "It just figures to be the Minbari way of doing things. Put something incredibly desirable right under your hands and you're not allowed to touch," he grinned and made an exaggerated sighing sound that made her smile. "OK, OK, I promise to be good. It'll be very hard, but I promise," he teased.

   He steeled himself to follow all that she would tell him to do. The last thing he wanted was "those" Minbari barging in and stopping them. He touched her shoulder then reached for the pin she always wore. John softly said as he fingered the ornament, "I've always meant to ask you where this came from. It is lovely."

   Delenn answered in the same manner, "It has been passed down through the female line of my family for a thousand years. The metal is the same as we use to make the Ranger pins. Each of the stones come from one of the clan temples on Minbar. The crystal comes from the Crystal Falls and the orb was glass fused from the sand in the Temple of Varenni when the Starfire Wheel was last opened.* There is a legend that has also been handed down through the generations." He tilted his head waiting for her to continue. Putting her hand on his, "The legend says when a 'Tak plaun,' an old soul, removes the pin during Shan Fal the crystal will change color for the length of the ritual, to the color the couple has chosen for their robes."

   "But if the robes change color with each couple? . . . has the pin ever changed color?" he questioned.

   She responded, "Yes, it is recorded the color has changed for five couples. My father always told the story with a special smile. The crystals changed color for my parents." She lightly stroked his check and continued, "The legend also says that if a soul mate removes the pin the crystals will keep the Shan Fal color while it is in their possession."

   "Has that ever happened?" he asked.

   "No, my clan always said that part is just an old story and laughed when they told it. But I believed the legend from the time I was a child and my father encouraged my belief. He said, 'Those who don't believe lose the wonder and mystery of the universe.'"

   John in a low voice, "Show me how to unfasten it, Delenn." She guided his hand to the clasp and showed him where to press, immediately it came off in his hand. He felt a warm tingling sensation in his palm and the crystals went from clear to pale blue, the color of the robes. They looked at each other and she sighed, her eyes shimmered with unshed tears. "I believed it would happen," and showed him where to put the pin on the low table.

   He stepped closer, cupping her face in his hands. All the while looking in her eyes, the intense love she had for him was reflected there. Placing his forehead on hers he said, "I love you, Delenn." He put his fingertips under the edge of the neckline of her dress and slid them down looking for the fastener, reveling in the feel of her bare skin. He came to a clasp and slowly pulled it down to the end. He looked at her face and saw anticipation in her eyes.

   John had felt an electricity building between them since they first met. From the moment she had taken off her hood she took his breath away. If anyone told him then they would fall in love, he would have thought it inconceivable. But he found out the universe had its own way of doing things, and they now were together.

   Into his mind came a fleeting thought of Anna and the loved they shared. Silently he thanked her for all he learned during their time together.

   Now he would use everything he knew about emotional and physical love. Tonight would be extraordinary, the universe weaving more threads into their commitment to each other, making their connection even stronger. This was a moment he wanted to carry with him the rest of his life and beyond.

   Taking her long hair in his hands he put it behind her back and then gently pushed the dress off her shoulders, watching it slide down to lay on the floor at her feet, forcing his hands to keep still as she stepped out of it. His immediate desire was to run his hands possessively over her body. Instead he said, "I don't think you are wearing traditional Minbari under garments."

   She slowly shook her head saying, "No, I have tried to combine both human and Minbari."

   "You have succeeded Delenn. Even more so than the black dress." She wore a very short slip ending below her hips. Through the thin white material he could see the darker color of her pubic hair. The bodice cut so low the tip of her aureole peaked out when she breathed. He knew she wore nothing underneath. Her stockings were white with lace holding them up at mid thigh. Just looking at her kindled a fire within him.

   Kneeling he removed her shoes and put them aside, then eased his fingers under the top of the lace and slowly removed the stockings, first one and then the other, his eyes kissing each inch of her bare skin as it was revealed. Standing, he looked into her eyes. They were a darker green as he knew they would be.

   His hands went to a strap and pushed it off her shoulder, holding it down while she lifted her arm out. The bodice slid down exposing one beautiful firm breast. He quickly pushed the other strap down and let the slip fall. The glowing embers within him burst into a roaring flame. For the first time he was seeing all of Delenn and desperately wanted to touch her, he was having a great deal of difficulty mastering the impulse to grab her and pull her into his arms.

   She was stunning. The creamy skin, her contours and curves. Her breasts full and firm, her flat stomach and her slender legs. Everything about her was perfection in his eyes. The candlelight accentuating her beauty. She reminded him of an ancient Greek statue, created by the best artisan, come to life. This was the living, breathing, warm flesh of his Delenn that he could not wait to touch. His mind was racing, blood coursing through his body and he knew he was not thinking clearly. He became aware she was speaking and knew he should listen.

   She urgently said, "Breathe, John, breathe," and he gasped for air and shook his head, knowing that he must control himself much better than he was doing now if he didn't want the others joining them.

   When he was breathing almost normally she told him, "You may touch me anywhere you wish, once, before we continue." His breathing changed again as he exhaled, and silently mouthed, "Delenn."

   Delenn had sat Shan Fal many times, always feeling it was a privilege to be asked to participate in the joining of a couple. She had acted as witness on a very few special occasions. There were many stories of how couples reacted at this moment, some sad, some funny, some beautiful. Never had she heard or seen what John did next.

   He took her hands and kissed each palm saying softly, "You are beautiful, Delenn," retrieving the robe from the bed and held it open for her. She turned and slipped it on. When the robe settled on her shoulders John lifted her hair from underneath and ran his fingers through it feeling the silky texture. She turned and he closed the robe looking for the sash. Delenn showed him where to press the material together to hold it closed.

   He stepped back trying to get his body and mind under control again, thinking to himself, "My god, undress her and don't touch, I am ready to take her now, I'm so hard and excited I would come if she just breathed on me, control, John, control."

   "John, we meditate now," motioning for him to sit on the bed as she knelt. She closed her eyes and softy began speaking in Minbari, when she finished the prayer explained that it began the meditation. "It asks for the ancestors of my clan to watch over me as we begin this ritual." She closed her eyes and he did the same.

   Instantly a picture formed in his mind of Delenn standing nude in the flickering candlelight. He must put the image out of his mind, to think of something else, otherwise he would never get through this without interruption.

   He went back to the first time he saw her. The hood was off her face, fallen on her shoulders, she gave a slight nod of her head. He had been spellbound, her exotic features drawing him to her. The headbone like a tiara on her hair. Her eyes! Even the first time he looked into them, he could willingly lose himself in those eyes. He couldn't remember anyone else's reaction to her new appearance. He was fascinated by her looks, her voice, and words. The rest was just a blur in his mind and didn't think he was alone in finding himself drawn to her through the entire meeting. He did remember the others seemed to keep losing their train of thought and quickly agreed to his suggestion to adjourn the meeting early.

   Feeling a hand on his, he opened his eyes, and saw Delenn motioning for him to stand with her. She touched his cheek, then began to quickly unbutton his shirt, slipped it off and tossed it aside. Her hands lightly brushed his abdomen as she unbuckled his belt and unfastened his pants. He was getting harder, her light touch visibly arousing him. Delenn knelt to remove his shoes and socks, then reached up to pull the pants down past his hips, helping him step out of them, then tugged at his briefs and they joined the rest of the clothes in a pile.

   She did not move from where she was kneeling, looking at him from his toes to his eyes. Consciously reminding herself to breathe, understanding now why he stopped. She had seen a naked human male on a vid but it was definitely not the same as having John standing here in front of her. There was no comparison. This was the living, breathing warm flesh of her John and she would touch every inch of him tonight. He put out a hand to help her up. When she was standing, she brought his hands to her mouth and kissed each palm, just as he had done to her.

   She bent down to pick up his robe then touched his shoulder to have him turn. She hesitated looking at his bare back before holding out the robe for him to slip into. When he was facing her again she fastened it closed.

   He took her hands and held them tightly as they knelt, reluctantly letting go as she began another Minbari prayer. When she was done, she said, "This was the prayer for your ancestors to watch over you during this ritual."

   Delenn was finding it very difficult to concentrate on the customary litany. Her thoughts went back to the first time she held his hand.

   He was clearly upset about something. She wanted to change his mood, help ease the aggravation he was feeling, but was uncertain how to proceed. At first he didn't want to tell her what was wrong, then began talking, not about the specific incident that upset him, but things going wrong in general. When she asked him to continue, he realized a word was used in an unfamiliar way for her.

   She stumbled on an answer to change his mood and began to play with her lack of knowledge of his language. She was rewarded with one of his brilliant smiles and the mood changed. Then changed again when they discovered she had unconsciously put her hand on his. He did not pull away and his words told her that he did not mind her hand being there. The way he looked at her -- something in his eyes made her look away and then drew her back again. When they realized his com link sounded she immediately withdrew her hand. The mood between them had been broken, and she was feeling odd, unfamiliar emotions. It was time to leave and try to understand what was happening to her.

   She opened her eyes to see him nodding his head and knew that he had fallen into a light doze. Laughing to herself she touched his knee and he immediately came awake. He gave a crooked smile and after a moment said, "What's next?"

   She turned to the low table next to them, took the tray that held all the symbols of the Ritual and put it on the bed in between them. A tall, thick white candle was placed in the center of the tray. She lit it and looked at him expectantly. He took her hand and said, "In Valen's name." As she picked up the candle and placed it on the low table said, "Normally, we would meditate on Valen's teaching and ask his blessing on this union. Since we are a part of his teaching and already have his blessing it seems unnecessary."

   Delenn picked up a crystal and, turning back, gave it to John. He put it in the player, and soft music filled the room. John looked up, "I have heard this before, is this your favorite piece?"

   She nodded, "It is very old, not popular with my people today. It is said to be a favorite of Valen. You mentioned that you like it, and I thought it would be appropriate for us." She placed the player on the table with the candle. "The music represents our communication with each other. We began slowly, getting to know each other by talking. Our relationship grew and will continue to grow through our communication. The music will continue until the end of the ritual."

   She closed her eyes and he knew it was again time to meditate. This one was easy for him, the dinner date. The first time they talked about 'nothing and everything.' His time at the academy, hers in the temple. They were raised on two very different worlds, with different backgrounds, and were surprised to find that they had so much in so common. It seemed that time stood still for them that night. They were unaware of the yawning waiter waiting for them to leave the restaurant. John was unwilling to end the evening. She quickly agreed to his suggestion of a walk in the garden on the way back to her quarters. It was as if she was also reluctant to end their time together.

   Slowly walking through the garden, talking and laughing, oblivious of the picture they presented to those encountered. The tall Earth Captain gazing down to the petite Minbari Ambassador on his arm, who was smiling up into his face. They only had eyes for each other. The few who saw them came away with the impression this was the beginning of a love affair.

   When they finally reached her quarters, he felt the burdens of his office were lifted from his shoulders. She had helped him again remember that other things in life were important. He had not felt this good in a very long time, and still did not want to say good night. If his com link hadn't sounded he would have found some excuse to stay.

   He opened his eyes just as she opened hers and wondered what she thought about to make her smile at him so tenderly.

   She reached for the rock placing it in the center of the tray. "This represents........."

   He broke in, "The difficult times we've had and are yet to come. In this universe there are many things that do not come smoothly, without pain. We'll encounter problems of all different shapes and sizes. Some easily overcome, others taking time and a lot of talking to resolve."

   Immediately he thought back to the night before she left for Minbar. John cancelled his late appointments to spend the whole evening with her. He knew she was upset about something; he was upset with her for not confiding in him.

   There was tension in the air as soon as he entered her quarters. Their evening together started out with a disagreement. He wanted to stay and eat in the privacy of her quarters, she insisted on going to the Fresh Aire. The walk to the restaurant was strained, neither of them quite knowing what to say.

   The beginning of dinner was difficult to say the least. She was trying to start a conversation and he was, well, he was sulking. Realizing his attitude was getting them nowhere and not wanting their last night together to be like this, he decided to change tactics and tried to "wheedle it out of her." When she asked what wheedle meant, he told her that she "would find out soon enough," and spent a large part of the evening making a game out of trying to discover why she was leaving, coming up with the most outrageous ideas.

   She was going back to talk with a gok, to find Lennier and Vir mates, to count the number of crystals in the statue of Valen. Anything he could think of to make her smile. Soon she was laughing, joining in the game and he was very pleased with himself.

   They both were in a much better frame of mind by the time they were walking in the garden with their arms around each other, able to talk easily about everything and anything, as long as her leaving the station was avoided. He kept pulling her into secluded sections to kiss her during their stroll. With each stop the kisses got longer, deeper, more passionate. She gave him no resistance, and leaned into each of his kisses and caresses, giving him every indication that she wanted more.

   When they reached his quarters, his mood changed and he kissed her roughly. "I don't like this, Delenn, you're not willing to tell me why you are leaving. I'm going to assume this pertains to Minbari business only and won't press you, but I'm not happy." He scowled at her.

   It pained her greatly to see the hurt in his eyes. She was trying so hard to hide the fear in her heart. It was very difficult for her to tell him as much as she did then, "It is a clan matter, John. I will come back to you as soon as it is resolved."

   When she opened her eyes the crystal bowl with the fire burning inside was in the middle of the tray in front of her. John was looking at the flame, pain in his eyes. "Is this necessary, Delenn?"

   "We must follow. . . . . . ," her voice shook and she went back in time to face one of her worst memories.

   She kept backing away from him, never having seen him this angry and never having his anger directed at her. The Shadows were playing their trump card and she had walked right into their trap. Telling him only part of what she knew and none of what she guessed. Anna was alive, this was her biggest fear. His words cut into her like a knife. So many things she had kept from him and now it was all coming back to her. She had never felt the need to back away from him before, never felt the hot flash of his temper in her face. She kept stepping back until he took her by the shoulders, his fingers digging into her flesh, to make her stop.

   John refused to do this meditation. He knew what memory she would go back to and instead choose to watch over her as she remembered, as she tried to be faithful to the ritual. When the tears started, he decided she had done enough.

   She felt his gentle hand on her cheek lovingly wiping away her tears, his voice calming her as he said, "We don't need to relive this again. It's time to go on to the next step, Delenn."

   She touched his cheek and nodded. He extinguished the fire and put it aside as she brought forward a small bowl of water. "The water represents our words, our desire to resolve differences, to come to a mutual agreement, to put out the fire."

   Delenn remembered the knot in her stomach when she stood outside the door to John's quarters. She tried to warm her ice cold hands while quelling her fears. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly, called upon her courage as she went through the door. It seemed like an eon before she was in his arms knowing he had forgiven her.

   John had insisted that they talk, "Get it all out in the open," is the way he phrased it. He would not let her avoid talking about what they had both been through.

   Sensing her reluctance to begin he started with his conflicting emotions upon first seeing Anna. The confusion he felt when Delenn left his quarters, and the dawning realization of just how deeply he loved her. The depth of his anger when he found out she hadn't told him the whole truth. The knowledge, almost right from the beginning that this was just Anna's body, not her spirit and soul. The conflicting pain and joy when Delenn said, "I do love you." He went on to tell her about Lorien and his time on Z'Ha'Dum. His doubts, his anger, his hope, opening up his soul for her to see.

   She, in turn, spoke haltingly of her emotions. Never before had she exposed her inner self like this. Every intimate detail of what she did from the time she walked out of his quarters, when his message was received, the withdrawal, the fast, the talk with Doctor Franklin, and the data crystal. She opened herself, opened up all the guilt, the pain, the sorrow, the regret, the fear. His shirt was soaked with her tears when she unwrapped her heart. She laid it all out for him to see including the depth of her love for him.

   Together they finally shared all their pain and all their love completely, holding tightly on to each other, not wanting to let go. Kissing away the tears that had been streaming down their cheeks, the healing tears that were so long in coming. At last allowing the joy of reunion to be fully embraced. For the first time she held nothing back from him, not knowing John had pushed out of his mind one small piece of information.

   Bringing the bowl of sand to the middle of the tray John asked, "I can't figure this one out, Delenn. Why sand?"

   "The rocks turn into sand once we have discovered solutions to the problems we have faced. With our knowledge and understanding of our partner's weaknesses and strengths we are less likely to cast rocks in our own path. Together, we have learned to deal with the problems that we encounter. Our past experiences help to make our path smooth. Together we are stronger than we are separately."

   The most frequent problem they encountered were their different customs. When he kissed her on the bridge of the White Star -- he was so intent on what they were doing, on what he was feeling, it did not occur to him that they weren't alone. In the middle of a second passionate kiss it suddenly occurred to him where they were and he grabbed her hand and practically dragged her off the bridge.

   Together, and at times separately, they had tried to understand and overcome their different customs. To come up with solutions or a compromise that was acceptable to both.

   John had been trying to read up on Minbari customs in what little spare time he was able to carve out. She knew this and loved to see him try and help celebrate the different holidays that had come and gone. He was actually able to include both Earth and Minbari customs in a birthday celebration for her. She loved the chocolate cake with the candles and he enjoyed finding the perfect gift. She had opened the box, knowing this time it was not the gift, and was surprised to find a piece of Minbar. He discovered that Minbari were supposed to go back to their place of birth every ten cycles. She had not been back in many more cycles than that. He had a gift specially made for her. A beautiful small crystal, no longer than her little finger, with something sealed inside. John explained that one side held soil from the garden of her father's home, the other held water from one of the Minbar oceans. The idea behind the gift was no matter where she was a piece of Minbar would always be with her. For one of the few times in her life she had no words to express what this gift meant. He repeated her words, "Then say nothing."

   This evening was an example of Delenn working by herself to make this time as comfortable and Minbari customs less intrusive for him. John would have enough new things to cope with tonight.

   As the highest ranking member of the religious caste on Babylon 5 it was her duty to pick the five who would sit Shan Fal. But since this was to be her ceremony it would not be proper. She asked Lennier to be witness and requested that he make the selection. He didn't tell her, but she knew, there was much discussion since they would not be following the ritual faithfully. The final arrangements had to be accepted by all Minbari involved.

   The slanted bed had been placed flat on the floor. The five Minbari females were sitting as far away as possible when they should be right outside her open door. Lennier, as witness, should be seated in the room by the table, handing the symbols of the ritual to them at the appropriate times, saying the prayers and overseeing that things did not go to far before the specified steps had been completed. Instead he was sitting right outside her closed door, able to hear every sound they made.

   The glass was the last object on the tray. It was full of a clear liquid. John was very curious, "What does this represent, Delenn?"

   She smiled at him, "This is the combination of the rock turned into sand, the fire heating the sand, the heat of the fire turning the sand into glass, the water putting out the fire. It is a joining of minds, beliefs, and understanding to become something beautiful and clear. Inside the glass, the liquid represents the tears we have shed, to be shared, each one taking a drink of the healing words of love."

   He stayed her hand asking, "Where did this goblet come from?"

   She raised it saying, "This is the goblet my parents used during their Shan Fal Ritual," and put it to his lips. John took a sip and then mirroring the placement of her hands on the stem held it for her to drink. She set the goblet down and motioned for him to rise and take her place on the bed as she took his. As they changed places she explained this was to give them a symbolic change of perspective; to see things from their partners point of view, that even when people are in agreement, the reasoning behind the agreement is different. They must always be open and respect the view point of the other. No two people come to the exact same place on the same path. The paths are different though some lead to the same intersection in time.

   John began to think of their differences. They had seemed insurmountable at times.

   With Minbari, everything was done with quiet deliberation, nothing done on the spur of the moment. The walls he had unintentionally bumped into were numerous. They were able to laugh at many of his faux pas now.

   Lennier, for some unknown reason, decided to help John find his way through the Minbari ritual maze with his subtle, and sometimes not so subtle hints. John was even beginning to be able to anticipate customs on his own. The rock, he knew what it symbolized, not the exact words, but he could tell from Delenn's expression that she was very pleased.

   Delenn was more familiar with Earth customs, but she didn't always understand the reason behind it. The discussion about Christmas was very long and confusing. She had so many questions, about the tree, wasn't it from another religion, and the lights, and why this, and what about that, and what if, and how about, and how come. Trying to answer them all gave him a huge headache, and he ended up sending her to Brother Theo.

   He understood now why the Shan Fal Ritual was so important to her. It really did represent the way their relationship had progressed.

   Sensing her movement he opened his eyes to see what was coming next. The tray was on the floor and she was on her knees reaching for his robe. Immediately he went to open hers and was playfully slapped on the hand as she shook her head. Grinning from ear to ear she said, "My turn first."

   "Delenn," he began to object and was silenced by her kiss. Her hands were eagerly opening the robe, pushing it off and him down on the bed. He tangled his hands in her hair and opened his mouth to her insistent tongue. She was on her side one leg thrown over his, her hand exploring his arms, neck and chest. There was nothing tentative about her touch. Nothing hesitant about her curiosity. She found his pleasure centers, one after the other, almost as if she had a detailed map. His ears, under his chin, nipples, the one spot on his abdomen that was hard to find because it moved frequently. She found them all, and others he never knew about. The one behind his knee, another in the small of his back and one on his thigh that created the hardest erection he remembered.

   By the time she first touched his penis he was a quivering, shivering mass of a human male, ready to explode. Feeling her hot breath on his penis followed by her tongue he was barely able to hold on. She was moving too fast and he was losing control. He grabbed her head, forcing her to let go and look at him. Having a very hard time getting the words out of his mouth, "Delenn, slow down or this will be over sooner than either of us want it to be."

   She nodded, "Maybe, this is a good time for the next meditation," and knelt opposite him again. She succeeded in slowing down her breathing, and, unable to meditate, occupied herself with examining him in the dim light. His naked toned body had felt so good when she touched him. It was impossible to govern the speed at which she searched for his pleasure centers, taking him in her hand and mouth much too soon. She was glad that he had the presence of mind to call a halt to her actions. Lennier would have come in if she had not stopped.

   His penis was not as hard as it had been but still erect and she wondered what he was thinking about. With all her years of training, she was unable to think about anything but the next step.

   John was also thinking of the next step, but in a very different way. He wondered exactly how much of what she was feeling was expected. He knew that Delenn would have read everything she could find on human sexuality and probably watched a vid. But that was not the same as participating and experiencing the sensations created by touching him. He knew she was out of control, and he should slow this down to make sure she got the time she needed to adjust to her body's reaction.

   Opening his eyes, he said, "You couldn't meditate." She nodded and replied, "Neither could you."

   Some of the candles had gone out, but he could still see her clearly. Her mouth was parted and she was barely breathing waiting for him to begin. "Oh, but I did. Would you like to see what I thought about?" He moved next to her, opened the robe and slipped it off her shoulders, purposely not touching her bare skin. He breathed into her ear, "I thought about this," and then lightly kissed her mouth. As quickly as she had explored him, that was exactly how slowly he was going to explore her.

   Moving closer, brushing the silky hair out of the way John softly, leisurely kissed her neck as he lowered her to the bed. He nibbled on her ear and slowly trailed his lips along her collarbone, smiling as the rhythm of her breathing changed, taking his time, helping her to enjoy every movement, every moment of their loving.

   His fingers and mouth were creating their own invisible design all over her body trying to discover her unknown pleasure centers. He loved the small jump she made each time one was located. She was melting underneath his hands and mouth, her body temperature rising, her eyes were getting darker. He was on a quest and in no hurry to end it.

   His lips moved to the swell of her breast, his fingers playing with her nipples. She was arching her back trying to get closer to him and felt the cold air on the path his lips made down her breast and then, the warm moisture of his mouth on her nipple, pulling, gently biting, and suckling. Her fingers dug into his neck to help force the sighs in her throat back down.

   She felt wonderful in his mouth, under his hands, her body pressing against him. He moved to the other nipple his tongue teasing it before suckling. She wanted more of the exquisite pleasure he was creating, when, to her dismay, he let go and turned her over. His hands exploring her back, the soft texture of her skin, down to her firm buttocks and up to her shoulders then pushing aside the long hair to kiss her back. He immediately saw the scar from the knife she took for him.

   "Delenn," she heard tears in his voice as he touched the scar. Turning over she put her arms around his neck, "It is alright, John. It was over a long time ago."

   "I know," he replied, tears still in his eyes, "That doesn't make it any less real, or any less painful. I haven't seen the scar before; it's like a knife in my stomach. I was scared, so angry, so full of rage at what he did to you. Seeing this brings me right back to that moment. I could've lost you without telling you how I felt."

   "You told me, John, you did not keep it to yourself any longer. We were able to go forward. If that had not happened would we be where we are now?" she asked.

   "I don't know, but it brings back a very unpleasant memory," he was still upset.

   She pulled him down to her and held him close, loving him all the more for the pain he felt about an incident that happened almost a year ago.

   They lay quietly together. Each in their own thoughts...........

   He had come back to the Med lab later that night, wearing the new uniform, saying he was unable to sleep. She was drifting in and out of a drug induced sleep when she first saw him, not realizing he was really there until he touched her cheek. She reached up to take his hand. He held on to hers and sat down in a chair that he had pulled close to the bed.

   "Sleep, Delenn, I'll sit with you for a while," and she had closed her eyes, feeling warm and safe. When she woke again he was still there, still holding her hand. He knew she was in pain and wanted to call the Doctor. She told him it could wait, wanting to be alone with him before she was medicated again.

   She recalled him saying how much he liked the new uniform. She also remembered the dark circles under his eyes and saying, "John, you should be back in your quarters, sleeping," as he stood to lean over her. He brought his face close to tell her, "Soon, right now I want to be with you."

   She squeezed his hand and reached out with the other to touch his cheek. His face turned into her palm and he had stayed in that awkward position, neither of them wanting to let go of the moment with the universe wrapping its spell around them.

   All too soon there was an intrusion as the Doctor came in with more medication. Delenn told John to leave, to get some rest and he had replied, "When you're asleep." Vaguely she remembered him kissing her hand and forehead, whispering in her ear, "I love you, Delenn," before leaving.

   Delenn began to trace his ear with her fingertip and he lifted his head. "Another meditation?" he asked. His voice steady now.

   "I believe we just have done one," she replied, and she smiled as he nodded his head. He kissed her lips and gently turned her over, moving the long hair, kissed the scar from the top to the bottom and back up again. It was not the color of her skin yet, but not an angry red either, somewhere in the middle. When he reached the top of the scar he moved his lips up a little further and heard her sharp intake of breath. He found another pleasure center; the scar was an arrow pointing the way. His hand was caressing her firm bottom, fingers slipping between her legs, searching to see how ready she was.

   The sensations he created were overwhelming and she quickly turned over, reaching, pulling his head down, opening her mouth under his as she opened her legs. He had touched in her a most sensitive area and she wanted him, all of him now. His hands began moving down, pausing to fondle her breasts, to caress the smooth soft skin on her abdomen. Her body eagerly responding to his touch, a sigh escaping her lips to be swallowed by his kiss. His hand reached her pubic hair and began to search for her center. Her hands were everywhere on his body, ending up in his hair. He changed position, kissing her breasts and suckling on each erect nipple, then moving ever so slowly down kissing every inch of skin and ending up between her legs, pausing to spread the lips buried in her pubic hair exposing her clitoris.

   She was moving her hips and trying to the restrain the sounds that were welling up inside. He bent to place his mouth on her center to taste her as she had tasted him, wanting to drive her wild. His tongue worked slowly, gently, going tantalizing close, but avoiding the area he knew was most sensitive as her body moved against him.

   A stray thought entered his mind that needed immediate attention. He pulled back to look at her face forcefully demanding, "Is it time to stop for another mediation?" Putting his head next to hers, "Delenn answer me. I'll not be able to stop easily once we continue, I'll not want to stop."

   She opened her eyes, deep green by now, hardly able to answer him, "No, no meditations until the end."

   Satisfied, he returned to the task he had abandoned, going directly to her clitoris. This time she could not stop the sound that escaped her lips and John began not to care what the Minbari outside heard.

   Her hands were in his hair, trying to pull him closer. He was getting just as impatient and aroused as Delenn. He opened his eyes and called her name soft and low as he lay on top of her. Her eyes opened to see the love shining in his. He kissed her mouth wanting to share her fragrance and flavor.

   She felt his weight on top of her, his penis against her, wrapped her legs around him, and began to restlessly move her hips, trying unsuccessfully to get him inside. Her movement underneath excited him to a new peak. They were both ready and he reached a hand down to guide his penis to her opening. He felt her tense and then relax sighing, "Yes," into his mouth. He began rocking slowly and the tip of his penis entered her. She was wet and adjusted to his size with each forward motion, faintly making the most erotic musical sounds John had ever heard. He thought, 'Let the Minbari hear, let them listen to how a human male can please Delenn.' The rocking continued, going a little deeper inside her each time until he met the resistance he expected.

   "Delenn, Honey, look at me," trying to get her attention. Then repeated it again, "Honey, look at me," Concern evident in his voice.

   She became aware he was talking to her and knew right away what his concern was about. "I know, John, it is alright," she reassured him, "I am ready for you."

   Her eyes, those incredible luminous green eyes radiant with love and low pitched voice were drawing him emotionally deeper into her. He quickly thrust forward, past the last barrier, stopping when he saw a flash of pain on her face, "Delenn," he asked.

   Lightly kissing his lips, she whispered, "John, only a little, don't stop." Undulating under him, igniting again the fire for both of them. The movement began anew, the sensations building, her mind and body with only him. There was no other thought intruding in their loving. The universe was at work again, weaving its thread between them, their connection strengthening.

   He watched the emotions play across her face and encouraged her as she came closer and closer to the peak. Mummering, "That's the way, Delenn." Thrusting harder and faster. "You are almost there," and with those words in her ear she felt her body release and climax with John for the first time. She no longer tried to keep her pleasure to herself. This was not meant to be kept private, this was meant to be shared. "Ahhh John," was sighed loud and clear for all the Minbari to hear.

   He began to thrust harder, feeling so close and then with his name hanging in the air, climaxed, strong, and long, barely able to keep silent, not willing to share this with anyone but Delenn. At this moment she was completely his and deep down at the core of his being he wanted to roar for all to hear.

   It had been a very long time since he felt this relaxed, and he didn't remember ever feeling this satisfied. He had slipped out of her, but did not move, even knowing he was getting too heavy. Her fingers were playing with the short hair on the nape of his neck, it was a luxurious feeling and he did not want her to stop. They were both breathing normally when she whispered in his ear. "I think we have waited much too long to do this, John."

   She could feel him laughing silently as he replied, "I did try to convince you to do it sooner, Delenn."

   "I remember. You tried it a few times," she giggled. "Each time, it got harder to stop you."

   The last time was before she left for Minbar. Dressed in that black dress, she had no idea of how alluring she looked. He had gotten ready for bed and she went to change before watching him sleep. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending how you looked at it, she was unable to pull down the zipper on the dress. She came out of the bathroom to ask for his help. He teased her about how she had been able to pull it up, to which she replied, "It was not a problem. I am a big girl and can dress myself."

   As well as she spoke his language, as large as her vocabulary was, there were times when she missed the nuances. Usually he tried to explain them to her, but this was too good to pass up. She left herself wide open again and he took advantage of it saying, "Big girls were meant to be undressed by their lovers."

   He stepped away and turned her around before she could object and moved her hair aside to kiss behind her ear. His lips were sure as they investigated unknown territory going down her neck and across her shoulder. His hands caressed her flat stomach then brushed across her breasts to put his fingertips under the low neckline. Each hand going up to a strap and pushing it down, then continuing their journey down her back until they came together again to slowly unzip her.

   She was having a tremendous problem convincing herself that the Minbari rituals were necessary. She was leaving in the morning to face her clan and his touch was wonderful.

   He put his hands inside the dress on her waist and moved them around to caress her stomach, as he kissed her bare shoulders. The tempo of her breathing had changed from slow and steady to fast and shallow. He cupped her breasts in his hands whispering in her ear, "Love me, Delenn. Make love with me tonight."

   She came back to her senses with his words, clutched the dress up and went running into the bathroom to get away from him. She knew he would have her in bed with him if she did not move out of his reach.

   They had almost reached the conclusion of the Shan Fal Ritual. No witnesses were necessary for the one small part left to complete. She knew the five Minbari females had left and after Lennier finished his last responsibility as witness he would leave also.

   She put her lips next to his ear and very softly said, "John, you have followed the rituals as if you were Minbari born."

   He grinned, leaned close to her ear and laughing whispered, "Woo Hoo."

   Delenn giggled then as he leaned backed she lifted her hand to trace his lips with her fingertip, whispering, "No Minbari male could have pleased me the way you have tonight. No Minbari male could have made me feel the way you have tonight. No Minbari male could have made love with me the way you have tonight. No Minbari male could love me the way you do."

   Delenn saw Lennier's shadow right outside her door as he stood to leave. She kissed John fully on his mouth, and said in her normal low voice, "And no Minbari or other human male could have done it so quietly!" She heard the outside door swoosh close as Lennier left.

   His body began to shake with laughter, softly at first then getting louder as he let himself appreciate the truth in her statement. She joined in and soon they were both holding their sides and gasping for breath. All the tension was finally released.

   When they recovered she asked, "Are you hungry? Lennier has prepared a light super for us," happy there was no longer a need to keep her voice low.

   "Are we all ritualed out for this evening?" he asked hopefully.

   "Not quite. There is one more." She leaned over him and took something off the table and handed him a warm wet cloth.

   He knew what to do with this: spreading her legs, cleaning off the sticky semen and blood, bending to kiss her abdomen one more time. She took the cloth and proceeded to do the same, kissed him in the exact same spot and then put the cloth is a crystal box.

   "Why..." he asked, brow furrowed.

   "It will be kept in my clan's temple. Lennier will take it next time he goes to Minbar," she explained. "We are now done, at least for a while."

   "Good, I'm starved. Let's go eat." He reached out a hand to pull her up and they helped each other into their robes.

   Lennier had prepared a few of their favorite dishes. There was a large fresh green salad with chicken, a few Minbari favorites of Delenn's. The flarn was in the center with peeled oranges on the side. The chocolate cake was off to the side.

   Filling their plates and pulling the chairs close together they sat down to eat, talking about anything, it didn't matter what. Enjoying each others company, hearing the voice of the one they loved, laughing, sharing food and kisses. Being near each other with no uncertainties or questions. Completing the joining of their bodies with their minds. After eating their full they went to the sofa continuing to talk, being able to cuddle, snuggle, and caress without the concern of being interrupted.

   John wanted to discuss the ritual. He was curious about her meditations and if she would share them with him. He wanted to know what she thought about during the music.

   "I thought about the Markab. When you held me in your arms while I cried. I was so despondent, bereft, with nothing emotionally to hold onto, not even my faith. You told me a story from your childhood. I knew you understood and knew I wasn't alone. Later in my quarters, you let me talk without interruption and when I was at my lowest point, reminded me of the universe and how it works. Quoting my own words to me.** You helped me find my foundation and I felt safe in your arms. I had not felt that way since I was a child being held by my father."

   While talking, Delenn turned to face him, and touched his cheek. He gathered her into his arms and they continued to talk about that night and other times that were special to them.

   He began kissing her neck, loving her with his tongue, brushing the hair away from her ear. Then he traced its outer edge with his tongue, making her shiver and sigh. Whispering seductively, "Delenn, is there anymore flarn left?"

   It took a second for Delenn to realize what he said and then she began to laugh, shaking her head unable to answer him.

   He went over to the table and found some leftover flarn. He picked one up in his fingers and asked her if she wanted any. Still laughing she couldn't reply. He popped it into his mouth and followed it with another. The next piece ended up on the floor when he tossed it in the air and tried to catch it in his mouth. Delenn, recovered, said "You are hopeless," and went to retrieve it. When she bent down the robe gaped open and he could see her bare breasts. The food was forgotten, everything was forgotten except his desire for her.

   He went down on the floor and took her into his arms, pressing her head against his shoulder and running his fingers through the long hair. They had been on a voyage of discovery, searching for pleasure centers. It was the time to complete their joining, to love completely with no holding back. John knew there was no one in the next room, that no ears could hear what was being said or sighed. He also knew she would not be overwhelmed by the sensations of loving. Now they would go on a voyage of passion and desire, words along with touch taking them to the place they had yet to discover together.

   They loved as if they were in the middle of eternity. No need to rush, no need to hurry, no need to get to the end. They had been there a short time ago. They took their time to savor each sigh, each touch, each flavor, each word, each phrase of love that was spoken, until neither wanted to wait any longer. Delenn opened her eyes and looked into his, saying, "Touch me, John, where only you can." She knew where these words would send him, and he took her with him to the same place, at the same time.

*****

   He had lost count of how many times they made love, how many times they started and stopped; he had also lost track of time. He only knew he was sated, sore, and exhausted.

   Every time he started to nod off she woke him up. When she was sleeping he woke her up. If they didn't make love, they had something extremely important to say that couldn't wait. The last time, she had piled the pillows behind her head to create a slant and was sleeping, looking so very peaceful. He really meant to kiss her stomach only once, but she tasted so good. He opened his mouth, began to suck and found another pleasure center. Her hands were in his hair again, her sighs in his ears. He was immediately in her, feeling her inner muscles tighten around him.

   He did not want to, but she was right about him going back to his own quarters to get some sleep. The computer alarm went off a short while before, and he was surprised to find out he had been there more than twelve hours. They had a meeting in six standard hours, and must be rested. He put on his briefs and pulled on his pants as he walked into the other room for a drink. Not paying attention to his surroundings, thinking about how it felt to be inside of her, he stubbed his toe.

   "Damn it," he swore, and sat down on the sofa to inspect the damage.

   "Absofragginlutely,"*** Delenn laughingly added from the bedroom doorway.

   He went back to the return trip from Epsilon 3. He asked her where she found out about "Absofragginlutely damn it." She explained her conversation with Mr. Garabaldi and went on to tell him what she learned. Some of it was just bad language, other bits were profane and still others were downright vulgar. She had it all down correctly too. Knew when, where, and how to use it in a conversation. Except for one, "fucking bitch." She had asked him, "Why would anyone want to screw a dog?" He had been so startled by what came out of her mouth he choked and started coughing. The rest of the trip was spent trying to explain the nuances of swearing to her, mentally making a note to "kill" Garabaldi.

   John looked up to see her leaning in the doorway, shoulder and head resting again the jam, hip tilted out, one shapely leg bent and peeking out of the robe. Not only did he become aroused, he became immediately hot and hard. She knelt taking the injured foot in her hand and kissed the bruised toe. That stimulated him even further. Upon hearing the sound that came out from the back of his throat she tugged at the few clothes he wore and cast them aside. She tried to take his penis in her hands but he almost brutally pulled her up onto his lap and in a frenzy tore off her robe.

   They both gave in to the urgent craving to be physically joined. She settled onto him, just as aroused, wet and ready, slid up and down his erect shaft as his hands went to her hips to guide the movement. John tried to lean forward to kiss her soft breast but her hands were on his shoulders pressing him against the back of the sofa and he was unable to move anything except his hips.

   She pushed down trying to get him completely inside her. Their movement was close to the point of violence. Almost weeping as she said, "Deeper, John, I want you deeper." He held her hips and repeatedly thrust upward but it was not enough.

   She cried out when he stopped and slipped out of her. Standing, he picked her up in his arms and quickly went into the bedroom, just about dropping her on the bed in his hurry to get back inside of her, grabbed a pillow to put under her hips and entered her again. Thrusting deeper, kissing her neck, hands underneath her hips pulling her towards him with each forward thrust. Matching her urgency with his own. Neither one of them able to reach their peak no matter how deep or hard he entered her. Frustration in her eyes and voice, "Deeper, please John," and with that plea he knew this would go nowhere and stopped, trying to calm her with his words. He did not permit himself to slide out of her, kept his weight on top of her, his head buried in her neck. They were both frustrated, and he would not allow this to end that way.

   When their breathing slowed he whispered in her ear, "Let's try this again, Delenn," took the pillow from beneath her hips and put it under her head. Delenn traced the edge of his ear with her fingers, one finger went to trace his lips. She knew what this would do to him and in an instant he was fully erect again. Huskily he said, "Open you legs wider, Delenn and don't move." She looked at him and began to ask a question. He kissed her gently saying, "Wait."

   She did as he told her wondering what this would do and felt his hands go under her hips tilting them towards him. Then he began to barely move, going a little deeper each time until he found the place he was seeking and she stopped wondering.

   Instinctively she opened her legs wider and he was able, for the first time, to be completely inside her, and still he barely moved intently watching her face as she felt the climax begin. Her inner muscles tightened around him. She could feel the tension building, the sensations heightening each time he moved. She tried to let him know with her whimpers and sighs the pleasure he gave her. He continued to encourage her. "That's it, Delenn. Tell me how you feel."

   Except for her fingers digging into his back, she stayed motionless. The melody of her passion got louder as she came closer. He was on the verge, trying to hold on until she came. The exotic music she made pushed him to the edge.

   "Come, Delenn, I want to watch you come, to feel you come," and she was gone, lost in him and the orgasm he created, stronger than the ones before. She opened her eyes, and saw his climax. His eyes locked on hers and their souls intertwined as they went into their own private part of the universe, created just for them.

*****

   John entered his quarters going straight into the bedroom. He was glad to get away from Lennier. It was awkward enough just being in the elevator with him, but when he said, "Woo Hoo?" John, at first, couldn't believe Lennier heard that -- it was whispered in Delenn's ear so quietly. His next reaction was amazement that Lennier, always the perfect attache, chose to say anything. John then became very smug: if Lennier heard 'woo hoo,' then he also heard the rest of Delenn's comments.

   It was the middle of the morning but he had to get some shut eye before going back on duty. He had been with Delenn all night and part of the morning, neither of them had gotten any sleep at all. Hopefully she was asleep by now, getting some rest before the meeting scheduled for early afternoon.

   A picture formed in his mind of Delenn as she sat cross-legged on the bed and watched him dress. He tried to convince her to lie down and sleep, that he would let himself out. She would not have any part of his suggestion, the ritual only concluded when she said goodbye to him.

   He knew better than to argue with her, so instead teased her that on Minbar she might go to the door nude but not on Babylon 5. Her robe was nowhere to be found, so he helped her into his. The sleeves were much too long and the hem dragged on the floor. She looked so small and vulnerable standing there. He knew differently, her backbone made of the stingiest material in creation. She would bend but never break.

   He was reluctant to leave and pulled her close, tightly wrapping his arms around her. She rested against his chest, the smooth material of his uniform against her cheek, as she tucked her head under his chin. Both of them felt the unbreakable connection the universe had forged between them; letting it grow and strengthen.

   She leaned back slightly and gently stroked his cheek with the back of her fingers. "When we are apart, and where ever you are in the universe, look for me. I will be there. I will always be with you, as you will always be with me." He touched his forehead to hers, kissed the delicate fingers of both of her hands, then turned them over to kiss both palms. No other words or gestures were needed.

   He began getting ready for bed and thought about different things she did that he loved. The way she tucked her head under his chin when he held her. The many different ways she touched his cheek. The way her lips wandered over his chest. The way she said and sighed his name. How she looked at him, that special look that was for him alone. Her eyes. There was a time tonight when he looked into her eyes, and felt their souls intertwine.

   He understood at that moment what Sebastian meant when he said, "They were joined at the hip," and remembered Lorien asking, "Do you have anything to live for?" There was no doubt that Delenn was his reason for living. He hoped when she conceived, that it would be in a joining that special, a connection that intense.

   His last conscious thought was of chocolate cake as he climbed into bed, immediately falling asleep, dreaming of Delenn, their loving and a pale blue crystal.

*****

   Delenn watched the door close as John left, standing there trying to decide what to do. She was hungry and exhausted. She finally determined sleep was more important and turned; out of the corner of her eye she saw the chocolate cake and smiled. John had said he was famished and was sitting on the tall stool eating a large piece of chocolate cake, savoring every mouthful, when she walked into the room. He had somehow gotten icing on his chin. She went over and teased him about his eating habits, bent, and licked the icing off his chin.

   He laughed and said, "Oh, you want to play," then put icing on her neck and proceeded to slowly lick it off; holding her tightly as she squirmed and tried to get away from him. It continued from there with much laughing and teasing, icing on his shoulder, her nipples, his chest, her inner thighs until she put it on his penis. She became serious and took her time licking it off, her hands caressing his abdomen, every pleasure center they could reach, her purpose was to drive him wild, to hear him moan, then when she heard him growl, kissed him deeply, mixing the taste of chocolate, his body fluid and hers.

   She needed some sleep and would not get any if she continued in this vein of thought, walked into the bedroom and remembered what had taken place tonight. She delighted in the way his lips lightly brushed hers before kissing her. The way he nuzzled her neck and then grazed his way down to her nipple, teasing it with his tongue before suckling. The way he stayed just out of reach when she tried to get him inside, and the slight hesitation when he was a hairsbreadth away from entering her. The way he meandered around a pleasure center, creating an tingling sensation, then went to the center and made her moan. She felt cherished every time he looked at her, no matter how many people were around. There was one look for her and her alone.

   She fixed the pillows so they were on a slant mentally reviewing The Prophecies**** as she fussed. Finally when they were arranged to her satisfaction she laid down. The Prophecies. She had so much faith in them before she went into the chrysalis, and so much doubt and fear. Not knowing what would happen to her with the change, not knowing what she would look like when she came out . . . if she came out alive; there was always that small unspoken chance.

   When she was an acolyte there was much discussion about "The One Who Is and The One Who Will Be." It had been impossible for her to read all that was written and everyone had different opinion. Each of the many opinions had a following, Delenn had never been able to settle on one theory, thinking they all had possibilities.

   When Dukhat became her mentor, in addition to all her other studies, she was made to study all The Prophecies and encouraged to form her own theories and opinions. Dukhat's warning always in her mind: "The Prophecies are a poor guide to the future. Sometimes they cannot be understood until events are upon us."

   As she stepped into the Chrysalis she put it all aside, all the preconceived ideas and theories and followed her father's advice that she kept in her soul. "Follow your heart, Delenn. Put your faith in the universe. You have a destiny to fulfill. Open your heart, and the universe will take you there."

   She leaned over to the table, took the pin in her hand and discovered the crystals had not changed back to their original clear color. "Soul Mate!" her mind cried out, and she silently rejoiced. She fell into an exhausted slumber with a blissful smile on her face, John in her heart, and her dreams, the pin with the pale blue crystal clutched tightly in her hand.

   A soft breeze touched her cheek as she slept and a familiar voice echoed in her dreams, "You put your faith in the universe, Delenn, and followed your heart. I am well pleased with you, my child. I love you, my daughter, my Delenn," and the last of the candles, Valen's candle, winked out.

[The End]

 

* Where No Shadows Fall by Tish Williamson
** Turning Points
*** Absofragginglutely by Ruth Owen
**** The Universe, Delenn's Motivations and The Prophecies by Barrie Jaeger

 

*****

 

 

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